5 Pivotal Strategies for Advertising on Instagram Versus Facebook

Since September 2015, marketers have had the ability to use Instagram to tell visual stories related to their business through Facebook’s advertising platform.

Since then, Instagram’s monthly active user rate has hit the 800 million mark, and even boasts 500 million daily active users. The advertising opportunity is obvious. Although Facebook shares over and over how simple it is to run ads on both platforms, there are key differences and considerations that should be kept in mind when creating Instagram ads versus Facebook ads.

Let’s deep dive into 5 key considerations when setting up Instagram-focused ad campaigns.

1. Choose an Instagram Friendly Objective

Like the first step when creating a Facebook ad, it all begins with choosing an objective. When it comes to setting up your Instagram Ad on Facebook’s Ad Manager, the following IG objectives are available:

  • Reach
  • Brand Awareness
  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • App Installs
  • Conversions
  • Video Views
  • Lead Generation

Similarly to Facebook advertising, which objective you choose will depend on your campaign goal, which will change over time as your business grows.

Here’s a guide for some common goals with ideally supportive advertising objectives:

Goal:  I want more people to know that my brand exists and why it’s different.

            Complimentary Objectives: Reach, Brand Awareness, Engagement, Video Views

Goal:  I want people to bring in potential leads and people likely interested in what I offer.

            Complimentary Objectives: Engagement, Lead Generation, Conversions,

Goal:  I want to sell a product or service.

Complimentary Objectives: Conversions, Engagement, App Installs

2. Adjust Your Audience With Instagram’s Demographics In Mind

Is this your first time advertising on Instagram? You’ll need to start by testing a variety of audience profiles, to find what works.

In this process, you can employ a straight-forward yet highly underutilized hack. Tailor your profile audience to match the largest demographics on Instagram, reaching the most people. For a deep dive into creating an audience from scratch, check out this previous article on Facebook audience insights

demographic chart provided by Statista shows it is most effective to start your advertising with a target of men and women between the ages of 18-34 (making up roughly 60% of Instagram’s total user base).

Like Facebook ads, you can also create a custom audience, which allows you to upload a list of current customers in a CSV form with details like email, first name, last name, city, etc. You can also utilize the lookalike audience feature, if you’re also promoting the ad on Facebook. Lookalike audience will identify common qualities of the people in your custom audience and find similar profiles in Facebook’s extensive database. There are more rules and requirements that go with a lookalike audience which you can reach about here.

For any first campaign, use a tailored Instagram focused audience created in Ads Manager, along with adding a custom audience from your current and past customers data. Once you’ve deciphered which audience profiles yield that highest results, run some lookalike audience tests and integrate the top performers.

3. Setting Ad Placement Is The Largest Dissimilitude Between Instagram and Facebook Ads

If you’re running your ad strictly on Instagram, the placement setting is the most imperative setting to adjust.

Change the default setting of “Automatic Placements” (seen below) to “Edit Placements.”

Advertising on Facebook Placements Example

You’ll see a drop-down list appear with locations your ad will appear.

Uncheck all boxes except Instagram, then you can adjust your budget. For Instagram, the campaign daily minimum budget is typically around $1.00 to complete this setup page.

4. Choosing A Smart Content Format

Instagram offers two categories of ad formatting: Instagram Feed and Instagram Story. For the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on the Instagram Feed options, and how to choose between the different formats.

Let’s start by going through some of the ad options for Instagram Feed.


What’s the main advantage of a carousel ad? They allow the user to interact with multiple images or videos (up to 10 at a time) with a CTA button. This creates more opportunity to tell a longer story about your company or a specific product/offering. These ads are ideal for awareness, generating sales, and capturing leads.

Single image

This ad type goes right to Instagram’s roots: compelling and eye-pleasing visual content. A single image ad is a powerful way to succinctly tell a story, showcase a product, or promote a contest in a quick way.

Here’s an example from a Woobox client, BERRICLE, using a single image ad for a photo contest.

(Later in the article we’ll show how they used both Facebook and Instagram to really launch their contest to its highest reach.)

And here is an example of utilizing the power of visual storytelling with your offering (disclaimer: this requires design skills).

Single photo ads are ideal for brand awareness, contests, engagement, generating sales, and capturing leads.

Single video

Video ads appeal to the way highly engaged Instagram members are utilizing the platform. Video content continues to rise in popularity, and can help capture even the shortest attention span as the user scrolls through their feed. That’s the power of video and audio in storytelling. While each video can run up to 60 seconds, there’s no correlation that longer video will reap greater results. This type of ad is ideal for contests, engagement, generating sales, and capturing leads.

An evolution of the video ad format is a slideshow ad.


The slideshow ad allows users to create video ads from still images. The benefit of this format comes in handy when you are targeting users on older mobile devices and/or with poor WiFi connectivity. This type of ad is ideal for generating sales, and capturing leads.

5.  Setting the Proper Specs For Instagram Creative

When it comes to creative design and specs, anyone advertising on Instagram should know another pivotal detail: IG requires slightly different image and video specs as compared to Facebook.

It’s important and convenient to note that Facebook Ads Manager allows you to upload different Facebook and Instagram creative within the same ad set if you are promoting on multiple channels or have an omni-present marketing strategy.

6. Why It’s Effective to Run Ads Simultaneously On Both Instagram and Facebook

This article has covered key differences and requirements when creating Instagram specific ads, however, it’s important to also highlight the benefit of running your ads on both Facebook and Instagram.

Ad Manager’s delivery optimization works best when it has a bigger pool of people to choose from. This allows the platform to target the most relevant people at the lowest cost. Specifically, adding Instagram will result in a comparable or decrease in CPA compared to running Facebook or Instagram siloed.

Note: If your audience primarily falls outside of the age range of 18 – 34, you may want to avoid running a test ad on Instagram to explore if the platform makes sense.

Selecting placement on both platforms also offers an incremental and efficient expansion of campaign reach. With a higher reach typically comes more conversions, which is always a win.

Earlier in the article, we mentioned Woobox client BERRICLE, and showcased how they used a Single Ad image for their photo contest. They also promoted through Facebook, driving more traffic to the campaign, and utilized Woobox’s convenient “Pick a Winner” tool to make it both easy and fair to pick a winner across multiple media platforms.

Knowing this, if it makes sense for your audience demographics, it’s worth running your campaigns on both platforms.


If you’re advertising a photo contest or video contest and plan to use Instagram, Woobox makes the setup and campaign logistics simple and organized. Woobox has a free FB “Pick a Winner” tool that — with a paid subscription — allows users to include IG post comments when randomly selecting a winner. A Woobox account is free to start building campaigns, and users can make as many giveaways, contests, and campaigns as they like. A paid Woobox subscription is only needed to publish and run new campaigns.