Instagram promotions are the simplest way to advertise on Instagram. They can be your ticket to reaching a wider audience and achieving the goals you’ve drafted in your marketing plan. However, there are a few things you should consider before hitting the “promote” button. 

Today you’re going to learn everything about Instagram promotions, from what they are to when you should use them and how. By the end of this article, you’ll wonder no more. You’ll know. 

Sounds good? Let’s begin. 

What’s the difference between Instagram promotions and Instagram ads?

The difference is subtle but substantial. However, don’t worry. While differentiating between Instagram promotions and Instagram ads requires a bit of finesse, you got this!

Instagram promotions can be applied to posts on your profile without leaving the platform. Usually, they are an excellent option when you have a post that’s doing terrific and want to give it an extra kick. 

But while they can be very efficient, they lack the customisation features allowed by Instagram ads. Why?

Because Instagram ads are created with Facebook’s Ads Manager. The manager enables you to create ads that are part of larger campaigns, and have specific objectives (reach, engagement, conversion, etc.). 

Not only that, but the manager’s audience targeting options are more advanced, including specific interests’ and even behaviour patterns’ definition. Plus, the manager allows you to improve your campaigns’ results by testing different visuals and copy versions.

The conclusion? Instagram promotions are in-app ads that can help you reach more potential followers, without spending too much time refining targeting options. Basically, a promoted post is still an add, but without all the fancy customisation features you get in the Ads Manager.

However, keep in mind that you need a business profile for both Instagram promotions and Instagram ads. And, if you want to use Facebook’s Business Manager, you’ll also need a Facebook page. 

When should I use Instagram promotions?

Instagram promotions are an excellent way to super-charge posts that already have high engagement rates. We know what you’re thinking: “If these posts perform great on their own, why do they need a paid boost?”, but hear us out.

Here’s the catch: by promoting a post that has organically gathered multiple likes and comments, you’ll see an even bigger uptick in engagement. Fact is that Instagrammers are more inclined to comment on popular posts due to an effect called social proof

According to the social proof theory, people are bound to believe and follow what the majority says and does. The reasoning behind this behaviour is based on the idea that one person can be wrong, but multiple people can’t all hit and miss. As the old-age saying goes, there’s strength in numbers.

So, to make your Instagram promotions worthwhile, leverage the power of social proof by selecting well-performing posts. When boosted, they’ll reach more people who — noticing that the posts have so many likes and comments — will be more inclined to like and comment themselves (and visit your profile or follow your account).

However, if you think that Instagram promotions will miraculously solve all your problems, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. For promotions to work, you need to make them part of a bigger social media plan. Use Instagram promotions only if you have clear goals and a coherent strategic direction. In the end, nailing your audience and growth goals comes down to distributing your efforts and implementing a wide range of tactics. 

How to promote an Instagram post?

Setting an Instagram post is simpler than you think. To start, go to your Instagram profile. Here, you have two options:

  1. Click the “Promotions” button located underneath your bio.
  2. Select any post and tap the “promote” button.

The only difference between the two is that with the “Promotions” option, you also get a promotion recommendation based on your best performing post. 

Once you hit promote, no matter how you chose to do it, you’ll have to follow these steps:

1. Select a destination

Your promoted post will have an associated button that will direct interested users to a location of your choice. Based on your objectives, you can select to send people to:

(1) your Instagram profile 

(2) your website

(3) your direct messages

2. Define your target

Your promoted post’s success will depend on how well you define your audience. Given the fact that there are 1 billion monthly users on Instagram, you’ll have to find those who are most likely to take an interest in your account.

To define your audience, you can choose between an automatic placement or an audience of your choosing. While you won’t have as many customisation options as within the ads manager, you’ll still be able to play with demographics such as age, location, and interests. 

3. Set the price and duration

Instagram recommends you start with at least $5. However, keep in mind that your budget affects the number of people who see your promotion. The bigger the budget — the bigger the reach. 

Duration is also an essential factor to consider. You want to balance your budget and duration to avoid displaying the same ad to the same people far too many times. This can happen if your budget is too small compared to your selected duration.

There’s no right or wrong budget as long as you adjust it to your needs and to the promotion’s duration.

4. Review your promotion

Before you create your promotion, Instagram allows you to review the details once again. This is your chance to make any final adjustments to make sure you achieve your goals. 

I’ve promoted an Instagram post. Now what?

Now you wait and regularly check the Insights for the post. Monitoring how well your promotion performs will help you to improve your audience definition in the future.

In case your Instagram promotion is nowhere near as successful as you’d thought, you can stop it by deleting it. To make any edits on a current promotion, you’ll need to first delete the existing one. Check out Facebook’s guide to editing Instagram promotions

Bottom line: are Instagram promotions worth it?

The answer is…not that simple. 

Instagram promotions can be a valuable tool if you use it strategically. As long as you make promoted posts part of a strategic marketing blend of tactics, chances are you’ll see favourable results. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t expect miraculous results from a few random promotions.  

To make sure you have tons of successful posts to promote, we recommend using an Instagram scheduler such as Preppr. With it, you’ll be able to discover the best times to post for maximum engagement and maintain a consistent schedule.

Now, if you’re ready, get to work. We’re right here, with a 10-day free trial to support your efforts.


Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

Comments are closed.