Instagram Follower Ads: Invest in Paid Content for More Fans

Profile photo of Karen Lin, author

Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | May 23, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

There are many ways to invest in your Instagram page’s growth. You can sign up for a growth service or partner with influencers who can give your brand a shout-out. Even though it’s not always recommended, some people are willing to buy Instagram followers via third-party sites. But the safest, most convenient way to put your money into getting more followers is by running Instagram follower ads.

Running Instagram ads is awesome for businesses that want to sell products or launch major campaigns. But that’s not all ads can do. They’re also super effective for brands and creators that want to gain new followers. You just have to be strategic when setting up the elements of your creative ads to see results.

Today, we’re diving into how you can set up these ads to boost your Instagram following. We’re covering ads made from scratch and existing content you might want to boost and turn into paid content. Are you interested in promoting your Instagram page and getting more followers through ad campaigns? Keep reading to learn step-by-step instructions on how to do it.

Someone holding a phone with an Instagram post with a “Boost post” button displayed on the screen.

Do Instagram Ads Get Followers?

Instagram ads promote a business or creator page on Instagram through paid branded content. The algorithm works to serve them to a specific target audience to ensure your branded content reaches the right people.

These posts can show up on many different channels, from Instagram Stories to Reels to regular feed posts. You can create them using photos, videos, and even carousel posts of mixed media formats for extra pizzazz. Needless to say, ads allow brands and creators to be as creative as possible to promote themselves on the platform.

You’ll know a post that comes up on your feed is an ad because it will be labeled as “Sponsored.” You can see this label below the brand’s name at the very top of the post.

Many brands pay big money for ads to boost sales for their latest collection or drive traffic to their websites. But do Instagram ads get followers? Are they a good strategy for accounts struggling to grow on the platform?

Yes, many business owners will be happy to know that ads are super effective at driving follower growth. If you have compelling creative content (and a killer call-to-action to match), you can definitely reel in followers. Plus, ads are hyper-targeted, so the followers you get are within your intended audience.

Ads also ensure that your new followers are real people interested in your page, never bots. That’s always a risk when investing in less legitimate ways to grow, like buying followers.

The trick to successfully getting followers from ads is highlighting your brand in the best way possible. Your ads need to be eye-catching and interesting while emphasizing your brand’s unique value proposition. If you do that properly, you’ll be well on your way to getting thousands of followers from your ad campaigns.

A group of young Millennials gathered to listen to someone speak.

How To Set Up and Manage Instagram Ads To Boost Your Following

Setting up ads on Instagram can sound intimidating for some. You need to come up with creative content and strategize your target audience, ad placements, and budget. It sure sounds like a lot; we totally get that. But trust us when we say that Meta (the owners of Instagram) makes ad set-up super easy, even for first-timers.

You can create and manage Instagram ads on Meta’s Ads Manager—the tool used for paid content across Meta platforms. It’s also where you can see your ads’ performance metrics to see how they’re faring during and after their run.

All you need is an Instagram business account linked to a Facebook business page, and you’re good to go. Just get on the Ads Manager dashboard and click the “Create” button to get started. Then, follow the steps below to set up and publish your first Instagram ad. 

1. Select Your Marketing Objective

The first thing you need to do when you create an ad is select your ad’s objective. Instagram’s algorithm then works to serve your ad in ways that will most likely help you achieve this particular goal.

There are six objectives to choose from—brand awareness, traffic, engagement, leads, app promotion, and sales. Most of these objectives are mainly for conversions and post-interactions. But if you want your ad to specifically get your page new followers, it’s best to select brand awareness.

A brand awareness ad is designed to reach as many people as possible. This helps more users discover your page for the first time. The extra visibility and exposure to new audiences can tremendously help with gaining new fans. It’s the perfect ad objective for new brands and creators who want to jumpstart their Instagram business page.

2. Set Your Budget

Next, you’ll need to input the budget you have in mind for the ad campaign.

Some online advertising channels charge a cost per follower, click or view. But this kind of billing system racks up charges real quick, and that can be kind of scary for brands. That’s why Instagram’s billing system is super flexible and allows you to set a specific budget. Basically, the platform will only run ads based on how much you can afford to pay for them.

Instagram advertisers establish bids for ad placements served to their target audience. The higher your bid, the more likely your ad will be shown in optimal places for your audience to see. You can set your bids per auction or choose to let Instagram optimize your bids for you. The latter works like a charm for new advertisers who are still getting the hang of ad campaigns!

When you set up your ad, you can choose between a daily or lifetime budget. A daily budget is the maximum amount of money you can allocate to running your ad. Meanwhile, a lifetime budget is the maximum you want to spend for the entire duration of your campaign. Daily budgets are best for always-on ads, while lifetime amounts are awesome for major campaigns on a limited run.

A calculator, notepad, and pen on a table covered in US dollar bills.

3. Plan a Schedule for Your Ad’s Duration

When it comes to ads, timing is everything. You want people to see them in the right month, season, and time of day. That’s something you can set up on Ads Manager by planning a schedule for the duration of your ad.

Scheduling Instagram ads doesn’t stop at your start and date. You can also choose the hours of the day you want your content pushed out for users to see. This is super useful for ads that are most effective at a certain time of the day. It’s also great for localized ads that are dependent on a specific time zone. Scheduled ads are also excellent for time-sensitive campaigns, such as ads for sales and limited-time discounts.

To make your ads as impactful as possible, schedule campaigns to run during your intended audience’s peak hours. Do research to see when they are most active on Instagram. Then, set up your ads to run during those times of the day.

A pair of eyeglasses set down on a monthly calendar.

4. Choose Your Specific Target Audience

Next, it’s time to pinpoint your specific target audience for the ad campaign by clicking the Audience button. You want your ads to be as purposeful and intentional as possible. Choosing a specific niche audience ensures that your ad is shown to people who will find it relevant and interesting.

When you personalize your ad to resonate with a specific target audience, it becomes more effective. Ads fail miserably if they try to talk to every single person on the planet. But if they’re pointed, purposeful, and designed to resonate with a niche audience, they become more effective.

Identifying a specific audience also helps you be more cost-effective with your ads. Let’s say you want to run an ad for women’s fashion. If you don’t narrow down your ad’s audience to only women, you’ll be wasting ad money on male audiences. You’re paying for your ad to reach people who won’t resonate with it. To be more cost-efficient with advertising, be as specific as possible with your audience demographic.

When selecting an audience for your ad, you can identify key demographics and psychographics. These include age, sex, location, interests, online behaviors, languages they speak, and many more. This is often called a “saved audience.”

You can also push out ads to people using custom audience data that you upload onto Ads Manager. That refers to your brand’s existing audience lists from other sources. This includes customers that have purchased something from your website or maybe users that have interacted with your brand before. 

5. Select Your Ad Placements

Placements refer to where you want your Instagram ads to appear on the platform. There are many placements available for brands and creators, from regular feed ads to Instagram Stories. Meta networks, like Facebook, can even push out ads.

You can select ad placements on your own if you want them to show up only on specific Instagram channels. This is called “manual placements.”

But if you want the Instagram algorithm to optimize your placements for you, you can choose Meta Advantage+ placements. This ad delivery system analyzes your budget and target audience. Then, it delivers your ads to the optimal placements that will ultimately help you meet your marketing goals. We recommend this method not just for brands running ads for the first time. It’s also amazing for absolutely anyone who doesn’t mind getting their ad pushed out across the entire Meta network!

6. Create or Upload Your Creative Content

And finally, right before hitting that “Publish” button, it’s time to choose your creative material. Select the photos or videos you want to run as an ad and upload them into Ads Manager. Then, choose the ad format you want, whether it’s a solo feed post, Story, Reel, or carousel ad. Just make sure your creative content meets the media specifications per format.

This is also where you can add your ad copy. Make sure you have an impactful caption to go with an engaging visual. Craft a specific call-to-action to guide users to your page, such as “Follow us for more!” or “Shop now!” That way, you can lure potential followers into visiting your page and hitting that “Follow” button.

When you’re happy with your visual and copy, click “Publish” on Ads Manager to run your ad officially. 

7. Check Instagram Insights To See How Your Ad Is Performing

Any digital marketer knows that it’s necessary to adjust social media ad campaigns according to real-time insights. So, it’s important to keep an eye on how your ad is faring even during its campaign duration.

You can always check on how your ad is performing by heading to Instagram Insights and seeing your campaign’s metrics. You’ll see its current reach, engagement rate, impressions, audience insights, and more. Then, you can use that data to adjust your ad details to optimize and improve its performance.

For example, if your ad isn’t drawing in a lot of followers at nighttime, move your ad schedule to mornings. Or if you see that older women aren’t responding well to your ad, adjust the demographic to a younger audience. Experiment according to what you see until you learn what works for your ad and gets you the most followers.

These key metrics are also awesome for gleaning post-campaign learnings. You can assess what you did right and wrong and use that information to make better campaigns in the future.

Someone holding a smartphone that displays an Instagram page’s “Accounts reached” chart on Instagram Insights.

Pro-Tip: Boost Existing Posts To Turn Them Into Instagram Ads To Gain Followers

Setting up campaigns on Ads Manager is easy if you know how to go about it step by step. But what if we told you there was an even easier way to run Instagram ads to gain followers? Yes, there’s another method that makes it even more convenient. And that’s boosting existing organic content and taking it to the next level by turning it into ads!

If you have a professional account on Instagram, you might notice a “Boost post” button below every post you publish. Clicking that button allows you to turn any existing post into an ad. That way, you maximize its impact and increase its visibility so people who don’t already follow you see it, too.

After clicking “Boost post,” you’ll be able to select all the different elements of your ad. That includes your objective, target audience, budget, schedule, and more.

We recommend boosting content that already has a high engagement rate. Tons of engagement means a post resonates with your target audience. That alone makes it the perfect candidate for an ad to reach wider audiences and reel in new followers.

Boosting posts doesn’t stop at existing content on your brand’s page. You can also boost influencer content, turning paid partnership posts into partnership ads. Just ask your brand influencer to tick the “Allow brand partner to boost” toggle on their sponsored post. Then, they should send you the unique ad code that allows you to boost their content straight from the app.

Boosting organic posts and influencer content allows brands to repurpose existing photos and videos and reach potential followers with them. Instead of spending money to produce new content, you can maximize the potential of existing creative materials. Plus, it’s not as complex as using Ads Manager. It’s perfect for busy creators!

<Photo: Someone looking through creative photos of clothes on their phone.>

Invest in Instagram Follower Ads To Maximize Your Growth Potential!

Instagram ads are probably the safest investment to put your money in if you want to grow your page. Because you do it through Meta, you can be sure to get your money’s worth out of each ad campaign.

While running Instagram follower ads is terrific for boosting your fanbase, there are other ways to invest in growth, too. Another smart way to get followers fast is by working with a growth service like Path Social.

Our AI-powered targeting algorithm helps you pinpoint the niche target audience most likely to enjoy and engage with your content. We then promote your content to reach these people with the help of influencers and other organic promotional strategies. As a result, you’ll get tons of engagement on your content and a significant uptick in your follower count. Start growing your page with us today!