5 Common Instagram Advertising Errors and How to Avoid Them


Have you ever seen a social media ad that was so brilliant that it stopped you in your tracks?

The answer is probably yes. But for each of those rare examples, chances are you’ve scrolled past many hundreds of other, more mundane ones.

So how do you be one of those scroll-stopping ads and avoid falling into the trap of becoming the boring, invisible one?

Here’s our quick guide to the five most common Instagram advertising errors you’ll want to steer clear of in your next campaign.

1. You Don’t Know Your Target Audience

The Instagram ad platform, which runs on the Facebook Ads Manager, has powerful built-in algorithms to target audiences.

That means you can narrow down your advertising with Instagram to a tiny, specific audience and maximize your chance of clicks and conversions.

But there is a downside to this. If you don’t have a detailed understanding of your target audience in the first place, you can’t make the best use of this feature. And you’ll lose out to competitors who do know their audience.

To fix this, take time to survey your current customers and build up a detailed profile. You’ll need more than demographics. Find out their interests, tastes, and the types of Instagram accounts they like to follow.

2. You Forget About Value

It’s tempting to take your entire advertising budget and spend it on expensive, high-production videos. Surely that will get you the results you are looking for, right?

Not necessarily. Social media advertising differs from traditional TV advertising. No one needs to sit through an ad; they simply carry on scrolling through their feed.

The most fundamental rule to any good Instagram ad is value. You must offer valuable information to your target audience and do it in a way that grabs their attention within seconds.

3. Not Adding a Call to Action

Don’t assume your audience clicks on your ad because it looks great. To get the best conversions from your ad, be specific about what you want your audience to do.

That means having a call to action that tells your audience to click on the ad, click the link in your profile, or sign up for an offer. If you want your ad to go viral, ask your audience to add a comment below.

One word of warning: don’t ask your audience to take more than one or two actions. That can make your ad seem confusing. Keep things simple.

4. Failing to Run a Test Ad

Always run a test ad to a small subset of your audience before launching your entire campaign. There are two sound reasons for doing this.

First, it allows you time to spot any minor problems with your ad content for Instagram, such as confusing wording.

Suppose your audience shows a solid dislike for your ad and unfollows you. In that case, you can examine some of the reasons you’re losing Instagram followers before you launch the final campaign.

Second, testing will help you pick your best creative from a shortlist. Use A/B split testing capability within Instagram ads to determine your winning creative.

5. Not Learning Lessons from Previous Campaigns

Setting up an extensive ad campaign takes time. You might feel tempted to take some time to relax after a big marketing launch before you move on to the next thing.

However, past campaign data is hugely valuable and will help you improve future campaigns. After a campaign, always take some time to work out what went well and what you can improve next time.

Five Common Instagram Advertising Errors

Avoid these five common Instagram advertising errors in your next marketing campaign, and you’ll have a higher converting, more profitable promotion.

Don’t forget to read our latest marketing articles for some inspiration for your next ad.