All About Instagram’s New Self-Serve Ads

Instagram Ads

Chances are you’ve heard the big news. On August 4, Instagram announced an expansion to its advertising offering that will allow brands large and small to advertise on the social network. Up until now, brands were required to spend a minimum of six figures to promote content on the channel. Though the new ad platform is not set to launch until this fall (exact timing is still TBD), we were able to garner a few of the initial details from Facebook.


While details are still sparse on elements of targeting and ad units, starting this fall, brands will be able to create Instagram ads through Facebook’s Power Editor – the proprietary Facebook tool to create various advertisements aligning to different audiences and objectives – syncing up all Facebook and Instagram advertising in one central hub. Currently, these self-serve ads are in beta testing for a premier group of brands that have already executed multiple high-cost Instagram ad campaigns. Through our relationship with Facebook, we confirmed the following information:

  • Ads will have no minimum spend requirement
  • Ads will not have a delivery or runtime requirement (i.e. they can run for as long as the brand sees fit)
  • There will be initial offering of image and link post ads, with potential for video and carousel ad units in late 2015
  • Ad units will include all of Facebook’s targeting capabilities, including demographic, interest, behavior and competitor targeting

While Instagram’s current advertising model only serves consumers an average of two ads per day, this new self-serve approach will result in users seeing more sponsored posts in their newsfeeds.


Instagram’s current advertising model only offers high-level and expensive broad awareness campaigns. Once a brand agrees to sign on for a $100K+ minimum spend, Instagram’s creative team hosts a one-day working session alongside the brand team and agencies to develop the story the brand wants to tell. Ads can take place in the following sponsored post formats:

  • Photo Ads: $200K minimum buy for a 4-week campaign at a $13 fixed CPM
  • Video Ads: $100K minimum buy for a 4-week campaign at a $13 fixed CPM
  • Carousel Ads (3-4 images): $200K minimum buy for a 4-week campaign at a $13 fixed CPM

The high-level ad campaigns can only be targeted based on age and gender, which will not change with the launch of the network’s new self-serve ad platform in the fall. However, they carry a guaranteed delivery and ad frequency to ensure the brand’s content is seen across mass audiences.

More to come in fall 2015.

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