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7 Instagram Ad Mistakes That Marketers Should Not Make

7 Instagram Ad Mistakes That Marketers Should Not Make

Home Blog Social Media Instagram 7 Instagram Ad Mistakes That Marketers Should Not Make

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms with a massive user base. Any marketer trying to market their brand can’t ignore it.

And, Instagram ads are a great way to reach your target audience without breaking the bank. You can easily target the exact audience that you want to reach out to and select the exact amount of money you want to spend.

Let’s take a look at seven Instagram ad mistakes you should avoid, to run a successful campaign.

1. Targeting a Broad Audience

The biggest Instagram ad mistake that any marketer can make is not being clear about who they’re targeting. If they are not sure of who their target audience is, they end up selecting a broad audience profile for ads.

As a result, they end up spending more money on an ad campaign that is not effective because it is not targeted.

So, the first thing that you need to do before starting an Instagram ad campaign is to define your target audience. Then, you can use Instagrams’ advanced audience targeting tools to create lookalike audiences and target your exact intended audience.

2. Not Having Clear Goals

This is another rookie mistake that marketers make without even realizing its potential impact. If you don’t know what your objective is, you’ll never know whether your campaign was a success or a failure. After all, meeting your marketing goals is the prime measure of the success or failure of any advertising campaign.

Moreover, goals are what determine your overall content and marketing strategy.

For example, if you want to increase engagement, you will probably use some interactive elements in your advertising. And, if all you want is to reach more people, you will broaden your audience targeting and use attention-grabbing ad copy.

Similarly, if your aim is to drive conversions, you can feature a discount in your ads, with a clear CTA.

Not having clear goals is like driving a car without having a destination in mind—you burn the fuel, without reaching anywhere.

3. Creating Ads That Do Not Resonate With Your Audience

This is another common Instagram ad mistake that a lot of marketers, even experienced ones make. They often tend to focus so much on making their ad copy attention-grabbing and engaging that they forget to consider whether their target audience will even be interested in it or not.

Celebrity endorsements are most prone to this mistake, as brands often hire celebrities in the hopes of getting a lot of engagement. However, if the chosen celebrity or influencer is not relevant for your brand or your ad focuses too much on the celebrity rather than the product, then it is bound to fail.

See the below Instagram ad, for example. The brand has used a celebrity’s picture, without clearly showcasing the actual product, which is a ring (in case it’s not visible).


To avoid Instagram ad mistakes like this, you can use more relevant influencers from your industry, instead of celebrities. To find influencers in your niche, you can use an influencer search tool like the one provided by You can also use filters like category, location, and follower count to further refine your search results.


You can also use social media monitoring tools like Mention to see how people are responding to your ads after you’ve launched them. The tool helps you monitor conversations that mention your brand or your recent ad campaign. Observe these conversations and see how the campaign resonated with your audience to gain useful insights for your future campaigns.

4. Posting Only Photo Ads

Instagram provides so many ad formats that it is a total waste if you don’t utilize those and just post old-school photo ads. A single photo ad, no matter how brilliant the ad copy is, has its limitations. And when you have the option to play around with much more fun and engaging formats, why stick to just photo ads?

Here are three types of Instagram ads that you need to experiment with right now:

Carousel Ads

This ad format lets you add a series of images, one after the other. This format works really well if you want to tell a story or display your products.

Check out this example of a carousel ad in which this brand has displayed several products with purchase links for each.


Video Ads

Videos are the most engaging content format and get much higher engagement than any other type of content. According to this study, videos get 1200% more shares than both images and text combined.

Moreover, you can do a lot more with video than you ever could with images or text. For one, you can show your product in use or you can use customer testimonials to provide social proof.

Story Ads

Instagram Story ads are just like Instagram Stories on your Instagram feed, with the only difference that these are paid and can also be shown to people who don’t follow you.

These ads are displayed in between a person’s Instagram Stories and hence seem like native content. Thus, they integrate well within the app, without disrupting anyone’s browsing experience.

5. Creating Ads That Are Confusing and Not Self-Explanatory

Sometimes, marketers create beautiful ad copy, use high-quality images, and do everything right and yet the ad fails to deliver. One of the reasons for that could be that your ad was probably not easy-to-understand. And, while people enjoyed looking at the beautiful imagery you used, they weren’t sure what to do next.
See this ad by Adobe, for example. The ad fails to provide any details about exactly what is on sale and how much discount is offered.


Now check out this ad where the product is clearly displayed, the price is mentioned, and a clear “Shop Now” CTA is provided.


Which of the above two ads do you think would get more clicks? The second one right? It is simple and easy-to-grasp and effectively drives people through the sales funnel.

Always keep the messaging of your ads clear and ensure that viewers have sufficient information to take the next step.

You can create eye-catching original ad graphics that clearly convey your message using tools like Canva. You can either customize pre-made templates or create something from scratch using this tool. If you want to add text and design elements to an existing image, you can also use piZap.

6. Not Leveraging A/B Testing

Having just one ad or ad set is another rookie mistake that marketers can make. If you have just one ad set, you’ll have nothing to compare it with to ascertain whether it is actually delivering the best results.

To avoid this mistake, you should create numerous ad sets and test them using A/B testing. This will tell you exactly what works well with your target audience and what doesn’t. You can test various elements like ad copy, image, ad titles etc. Use A/B testing to improve your ads and get the best out of them.

7. Not Tracking Your Performance

No matter how much effort you put into your ad campaigns, you can never really know how well they did unless you use analytics to measure their performance. For this, you can use the built-in analytics tools in the Ad Manager or use third-party analytics software.

To take your performance analytics to the next level, you can also use unique tracking codes. You can generate these codes using a tool like or Campaign URL Builder to track the performance of each individual ad.


These are some of the most common Instagram ad mistakes that marketers make and can be easily avoided. Use this post as your guide on what not to do while starting an Instagram ad campaign.

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Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Content Solutions, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

Guest Blogger @Mention