How Much Are Instagram Ads?


How Much Do Instagram Ads Cost?

Instagram is part of the Facebook network. As a result, buying Instagram ads isn’t much different than it is on Facebook.  So it begs the question, how much are Instagram ads and why should you advertise there instead of Facebook? Much like Facebook in the sense that there is no set price for Instagram advertising. It is based on a bidding system. Instagram will give ad placement to the business that sets the highest bid for any particular advertising slot. However, there is more to it than just that, as just placing the highest bid for the advertising slot you want does not guarantee that Instagram will accept the ad.

What do Instagram Ads cost compared to Facebook Ads?

In general you can assume that Instagram ads cost between 20 cents and $2 per click (CPC or Cost Per Click). You can also run your ads on a CPM or Cost Per Mille basis, which focuses on impressions. In this case you are looking at paying about $5 on average per 1k visitors. According to a survey from Market Land done in 2016, which compares costs for mobile app install ads on Facebook and Instagram, Instagram’s CTR (click-through rate) was 0.8%, while Facebook’s was 0.6%. The CPM (cost-per-mille) for Instagram was $5.14, compared to Facebook’s $5.12. However, the CPC (cost-per-click) for Instagram was shown to be $0.61, which is a sizable difference from Facebook’s $0.80. Instagram’s advertising has grown rapidly in recent years. In March 2017, they reached the milestone of their 1 millionth advertiser. We love seeing businesses grow on Instagram. We’d love to give you a free consultation to see how we can help you not only achieve your goals, but go beyond them.

Instagram Uses the Facebook Ads Platform

When making a bid for your Facebook group ads, you are encouraged to position your ads in the following locations:
  • Facebook mobile News Feed
  • Facebook desktop News Feed
  • Instagram mobile News Feed
  • Facebook desktop right column
  • Messenger
  • Audience Network
how much do Instagram ads cost One thing to note: If you add Instagram to your advertising preferences on Facebook, you are given a discount! With our expertise you can have campaigns on Facebook and Instagram that match your brand, increase revenue, and create loyal fans.

Instagram Ads Have A Better Engagement Rate Vs. Facebook

In 2015, Forrester research found that Instagram had 10x more interaction (when percentages of the brand’s fans or followers are calculated) with a brand compared to Facebook. Comparing Instagram with other social networks greatly increases these numbers. This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to interact with their followers. There are some things to note with this. Instagram is more popular with women, and has a younger feel and audience. The cost of Instagram ads targeted towards these groups, particularly young women, is higher than ads that target other demographics. However, according to AdEspresso, you will pay on average between $0.70 – $0.80 per click for targeting young users. The lowest priced group are 13-17 year olds, at which you will pay $0.47 per click. The highest priced group are 25-34 year olds at $1.23 per click.

Instagram Ads Have a Higher Cost Than Facebook Ads

In most cases you will pay more to place your ad on Instagram over Facebook. However, considering the engagement rate we mentioned earlier, it is likely you will end up with better overall results. It is important to keep in mind that ad costs will vary depending on what market you are targeting. As an example, B2B costs for Instagram tend to be higher because fewer business people use Instagram regularly.

What Factors Determine Instagram Ad Cost

There are 3 main factors that contribute to Instagram’s advertising cost.
  1. How much you are willing to bid on an ad placement
  2. The ad’s Relevance Score – How relevant is your ad to the demographics you selected?
  3. Your Estimated Action Rates – How likely are people to engage with your ad?
You can check out a more in depth overview in Facebook’s Help section. An important thing to note, is that the advertising price for Instagram isn’t affected only by your bid. You can end up paying less for advertising on Instagram by doing your work. Make quality, eye catching ads, while ensuring you are selecting the appropriate audience.

How To Create The Most Cost-Effective Instagram Ads

There are many businesses that place ads on Instagram and Facebook without fully understanding what they are doing. As you may have guessed, the majority of the time, these businesses lose money. Knowing your target audience and properly setting up your ads is essential for a successful campaign. Facebook and Instagram’s Ads Manager is split into 3 sections:
  1. Campaign
  2. Ad Set
  3. Ad
We’ll go over these in depth.

1. Set Campaign Details

To start off, you will select your objective for your Instagram Marketing Campaign. You’ll want to decide exactly what your end game goal is. Without this crucial first step, you might as well just throw a bunch of business cards in the air and see if anyone calls. You have 11 difference marketing objectives in 3 categories to choose from:


  • Reach
  • Brand Awareness


  • Engagement
  • Traffic
  • Video Views
  • Messages
  • Lead Generation
  • App Installs


  • Catalogue Sales
  • Conversions
  • Store Visits
Picking a relevant objective is important. For example, if you are looking for increased website visits, focusing on messages (Which gets users to directly communicate with a business) would not be the option for you, and would only waste your hard earned dollars. If you are new to Instagram advertising, you’ll want to optimize for conversions. Instagram will automatically target your campaigns to give you the best results at the lowest price.

2. Set Details

Depending on your preferred objective, you might have several options to choose from for settings. For example, if your objective is to increase traffic, you will be asked if you would like to target a website, app, or Messenger. You will then be asked if you would like to create an offer which will encourage people to convert. You can then define your audience. Creating a selected audience is the best way to get the lowest price for your ads and the best ROI. There are several options to choose from to hone in on your target audience, and you can save these parameters for future campaigns. Casting a broad net is going to waste your money. You may be thinking that the more people see your ad, the more sales you will get, but this simply isn’t the case in the majority of instances.

Targeting Your Audience

You can target your audience based on:
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Languages
  • Connections
  • Demographics
  • Behaviors
how much do Instagram ads cost Facebook and Instagram both give you an idea of the expected engagement for your posts, and an estimation of your daily reach. This is a great way to let you know if you need to add more parameters or if you’ve narrowed your reach down enough.


Next you will choose your placements. This is the portion of the process where you can decide that you’d like to focus your ads on Instagram instead of Facebook. You’ll want to make sure that you deselect Automatic Placements and select Edit Placements. You will see options for Instagram Feeds and Instagram Stories. You can choose any device type, as Instagram for Desktop is not an option. You’ll want to do this even if you are going to do a combined campaign that includes Facebook. It will give you more control over certain aspects of your campaign. There are a few options you will also see here, such as device targeting. You can choose to target iOS, Android, or all mobile devices.


Then you will provide a budget in the Ad Set section. You can choose a Lifetime Budget, giving you a set amount you’d like to spend throughout your campaign’s entirety, or you can opt for a daily budget limit. By setting a daily budget, you create an average, other than a cap. You’ll especially want to choose this option if your budget is based on an action. While Instagram is able to control the amount of times they display ads, they can’t fully control how many clicks per day these ads get. If you have a day where lots of users click your ad, and you have CPC pricing, you can go over your budget for that day. However, Instagram will try to compensate the next day. There is also an option for you to set the timeframe for when your ads will run. Ad delivery options are extremely customizable, so you can tailor your ads specifically to your objectives. Broadly, you can tell ads to show to people once or multiple times per day. Additionally, you can optimize your ads for specific actions such as landing page views, link clicks, daily unique reach and impressions. While it may take some trial and error to properly optimize your Instagram ad delivery options, over time you will find that these minute options are invaluable to your Instagram ad campaign effectiveness. You will define which method Facebook or Instagram charges you. There are a few different metrics to choose from such as CPC or (cost per click) CPM (cost per mille).

Manual Vs. Automatic Bidding

The option of Manual or Automatic Bidding is also available to you. It’s generally recommended that those who are new to advertising on these platforms choose Automatic Bidding, but as you gain more experience with advertising on Instagram, you may prefer to bid manually. If you decide to choose Manual Bidding, you will also choose between Maximum or Average bids. If Maximum bid is selected, Instagram will not run your ads if the cost per result is higher than your bid. This is a great option to choose if your goal is to get the maximum profit. By selecting Average bid, Instagram will optimize the delivery of your ads to ensure the greatest ROI possible. This is called the Pacing method. This ensures that you don’t spend your daily allowance early in the day, perhaps missing out on sales opportunities in the later hours of the day. This option is great if you want to get more conversions. However it should be noted that some the cost can vary, and you can end up paying slightly more than you were wanting to. This is the reason that many businesses are encouraged to start with automatic bidding, until you have enough data to determine your cost per result. If you do want to go with Manual bidding, it’s recommended to choose a range towards the lower end of what Facebook suggests.

3. Setting Details for Your Ads

Next we will discuss putting together your actual Instagram Ad. The first step is to choose an ad format. You can select:
  • Single Image
  • Single Video
  • Carousel
  • Slideshow
IMPORTANT: The Collection option is currently not available on Instagram, and is only for use on the Facebook mobile feed. If you wish to use Instagram Stories in your ad campaign, you can choose:
  • Instagram Stories single image
  • Instagram Stories single video
Carousel ads are known as a great option for keeping your ad cost down, and providing the best value. After selecting your ad’s format, you will include any other details necessary for the ads creation. This includes any images, videos, links, and of course the Call to Action text. For more info on Instagram Sotry Ads you can check out this post – How Do Instagram Story Ads Work?  

What Ads Work Best on Instagram?

Users on Instagram want relevant, and interesting posts. Traditional ads tend to perform poorly on this platform. You’ll want to make your ad look like a typical Instagram post to receive the most attention. What this means for you is that you may not receive the results you want from ads with the lowest CPM. Although this may seem like the most cost effective option, it will still be money wasted if your ad isn’t grabbing users’ attention. You need to create content that your target audience likes. Don’t create pushy in your face ads. Start off by introducing your brand. Consumers these days like to know about their products, and the company they are supporting. Use this as an opportunity to show a more personal side. Instagram recognizes this as well. You can use your Relevance Score as a guide to how you are doing with targeting your content. Instagram is one of the top, and fastest-growing social networks. Most businesses who advertise online will see the benefits from including Instagram in their marketing. If you need help from a top social media agency, True North Social is here to help you through this entire process! We’d love to chat with you about the services we offer to help create a stress free and effective ad campaign.