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How can Instagram Ads Help Small Business

Quick summary

For a small business or brand, Instagram Ads (part of Meta and Facebook) Ads can be a very effective advertising option for small businesses. The platform offers a wide range of targeting options, which can help small businesses reach their desired audience more effectively.

A short series from COG Branding on the digital marketing basics for Australian Small Business.

COG Branding is a Sydney marketing agency with a structure that ensures we are providing brand design, marketing, technology and business development solutions that are underpinned by true value. Our dynamic approach has been refined over the years by the demands of Australia’s small business community. This six part series is a summary on common digital marketing opportunities in our marketing landscape today.

  1. Google Advertising
  2. Facebook Advertising
  3. Instagram Advertising
  4. LinkedIn Advertising
  5. Email Marketing
  6. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Article 3: Instagram Advertising

For the digital marketing newbies, let’s first get clear on what Instagram actually is.

Instagram is a social media platform that allows users to share photos and videos, as well as to interact with others through likes, comments, and direct messaging. It was launched in 2010 and has since grown to become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Users can also add hashtags and geotags to their posts, making it easy to discover and explore content on the platform based on specific themes and locations.

It’s interesting to learn how Instagram started, and how it became part of Facebook, now Meta.

Got a big tech idea, well early 2010 was the time to do it. Instagram was started in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. They both met while working at a mobile software company and decided to create their own app. The initial idea for Instagram was to create a platform that allowed users to share their photos and to apply filters to them to enhance their appearance.

The app was first launched on the iOS platform and quickly gained popularity, with over 1 million users in just two months. The team then released an Android version in April 2012, which helped to further increase the user base. In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion. Since then, Instagram has continued to grow and evolve, adding new features such as video sharing, live streaming, and stories.

You can read the rest of this article and we guarantee you’ll still be thinking about how you can build an App and sell it for a billion bucks!

In some detail you might find it interesting to understand how the Instagram algorithm works?

It’s the net level deeper in the story and for a small business it isn’t imperative to learn this though it does help put things into context, especially when you’re trying to understand why your content is working and why it might not be. Instagram uses an algorithm to determine the order in which posts appear in a user’s feed. The algorithm takes into account a variety of factors, including the user’s past behaviour on the platform, the engagement a post receives, and the timeliness of the post.

It’s all about the algo!

One of the main factors used in the algorithm is the user’s past behaviour. Instagram looks at the accounts and posts that a user has liked, commented on, and interacted with in the past, and uses that information to determine which posts the user might be interested in seeing in their feed.

Engagement is also a key factor in the algorithm. Posts that receive a lot of likes, comments, and shares are more likely to be shown to more people. Posts that are not receiving as much engagement will be pushed down in the feed. And timeliness of the post is also a big factor, when things are trending if your content is on point there’s a better chance of it going viral. Instagram priorities showing recent post to the users and may push down older post.

It’s important to note that the algorithm is constantly changing and being updated, so the way the algorithm works today may be different from how it worked in the past or how it will work in the future. In 2022 Instagram seemed to change it’s platform to be more like TikTok, some stating Instagram is rubbish now.

Things in Martech will never stay still for long, especially when users behaviour dictates the future. Contact COG Branding on (02) 9523 6007 or contact via email here for the latest on how social media platforms work.

What all small business owners and brand merchants want to know is how does the advertising work on Instagram?

In simple terms Instagram Ads are Facebook Ads and Facebook is Meta. Now you can go to lunch! In a nutshell Instagram Ads are a great opportunity for small Australia businesses and brands to promote their products or services on the platform. The ads can appear in a variety of formats, including photo and video ads, carousel ads, and stories ads. It’s not overly complex though it does require some effort.

To create an Instagram Ad, a business, brand or individual will need to set up a Facebook Ad account, since Instagram is owned by Facebook. Once the ad account is set up, the business can create a new campaign and choose the Instagram placement. Then they can create the ad by selecting the format, adding text, images or videos, and setting targeting options.

Instagram Ads can be targeted to specific audiences based on factors such as location, age, gender, interests, and behaviours. For example, a business selling skincare products might target their ads to women aged 18-35 who live in a certain city and have shown an interest in beauty and personal care products.

Once the ad is created and the targeting options are set, the business will need to set a budget for the campaign, which can be done on a daily or lifetime basis. The ad will then be reviewed by Instagram, and once it’s approved, it will start running on the platform.

Instagram also has other features that might be interesting for those running ecommerce businesses, one specific feature called “shopping on Instagram” which allows businesses to tag products in their post and stories, making it easy for users to purchase the products from the post or story itself.

If you are looking to get more from your social media, COG Branding develop first class digital marketing for Australian Small business so reach out anytime for more information, or guidance on how our Sydney marketing company can assist you achieve your goals online.


There are a few different types of Instagram Ads, important to learn if you want to market your small business on the platform.

Now, to really get some clarity and detail around the platform and the advertising opportunities, you’ll want to get the overview of the ad suite. There are several different types of Instagram Ads that businesses and brands can use to promote their products or services on the platform:

  1. Photo Ads: These are single image ads that can be used to promote a product or service. They can be used to drive website traffic, increase brand awareness, or generate leads.
  2. Video Ads: These are ads that use a video instead of a still image to promote a product or service. They can be up to 60 seconds long, and can be used to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, or generate leads.
  3. Carousel Ads: These are ads that consist of multiple images or videos that users can swipe through. They can be used to showcase different products or services, or to tell a story about a brand.
  4. Stories Ads: These are ads that appear in between users’ stories, and are full-screen, vertical format. They can be used to drive website traffic, increase brand awareness, or generate leads.
  5. IGTV Ads: These are ads that appear before or during IGTV videos. They can be used to drive website traffic, increase brand awareness, or generate leads.
  6. Reel Ads: These are ads that appear in between users’ reels, and are full-screen, vertical format. They can be used to drive website traffic, increase brand awareness, or generate leads.
  7. Explore Ads: These are ads that appear in the explore section of Instagram. They can be used to drive website traffic, increase brand awareness, or generate leads.
  8. Shopping on Instagram: These are ads that allow businesses to tag products in their post and stories, making it easy for users to purchase the products from the post or story itself.

The choice of ad format will depend on the business’s goals and target audience. Our best advice is to not start with the type of Instagram ad you want to try, but more so focus on developing a social media strategy first that will determine your objectives and outline your approach. Plus importantly it’ll identify your target market will should then inform the strategy on what type of Instagram ad would be most appropriate.

To successfully run a small business and use Instagram as a marketing platform for your brand, you’ll want to know how much Instagram advertising costs?

COG Branding inform all our clients the reality of big listed tech companies like Instagram and how easily they’ll exhaust your budget. So leading in here with a word of caution.

You can easily spend tons of money on Meta and not get a results that actually grows your business.

It seems easy enough to deploy ads on the platform, and that’s exactly what Meta want. Though to get real results, well this is a little more difficult. The cost of Instagram Ads can vary depending on several factors, such as the ad format, targeting options, and the competition for ad space.

Instagram uses an auction system to determine ad placement, and businesses bid against each other to have their ads shown to a specific audience. The higher the bid, the more likely the ad is to be shown.

The cost of Instagram Ads can also depend on the targeting options that are selected. Ads that are targeted to a specific location, age group, or interest will generally be more expensive than ads that are targeted to a broad audience.

On average, the cost per click (CPC) for Instagram Ads can range from $0.20 to $20.00 and cost per thousand impressions (CPM) ranges from similar amounts. But the cost can be much higher or lower, depending on the type of the industry, targeting options, and other factors. It’s worth noting that Instagram also has a feature called “Promote” which enables small business and creators to promote their post to a larger audience with a budget as low as $1.

Overall, the cost of Instagram Ads can vary widely, and businesses should consider their budget and goals when determining how much to spend on ads. It’s also important to test different ad formats, targeting options, and budget to see which ones work best for their business. Though over time the platform has become flooded and recent algo updates has ensured ad costs have increase over time while performance has dropped. With COG Branding agency as a partner you get a dedicated team who are focused on a sustainable approach to digital marketing and focus on an owned media approach.

Some clients ask us if Instagram Ads are easy to do, or should you use a professional digital marketing agency like COG Branding?

The age old adage of “just because it’s easy it doesn’t mean you should be doing” rings true for Instagram Advertising. While they can be relatively easy to set up and run on your own, especially if you are familiar with Facebook Ads (since Instagram Ads are powered by Facebook Ads platform), at times we believe small business owners are best of running their business and delegating tasks like this to the pros. You can create a Facebook Ads account, select the Instagram placement, create the ad, set the targeting options, and set a budget, all from within the Facebook Ads Manager, though why when your time is more precious. You can read our post on how can Facebook Ads help small business for similar advice.

Creating effective Instagram Ads requires knowledge and experience in digital marketing, such as understanding the best practices for creating ads, selecting targeting options, and measuring the performance of the ads. If you lack the knowledge and experience, you can refer to the several tutorials, guides and resources available online to help you create your Instagram Ads.

If you decide to partner with one of the many professional digital marketing agencies you will get access to the expertise, knowledge, and experience to work with the creation and deployment of agency-quality social media strategies. Agencies like COG Branding can help you achieve your business goals and work with you to customise the strategy to suit your budget and business size. They will have a deep understanding of the platform’s algorithms, ad formats, and target audience, and they can help you create ads that stand out and attract the right audience. They will also analyse the performance of the ads and make adjustments as needed to optimise results.

In summary, If you have knowledge and experience in digital marketing, you can do Instagram Ads yourself. But if you are not familiar with the platform, a professional digital marketing agency can help you achieve your business goals and save you time and money.

Important to know that millions of eyeballs on Instagram every second, so advertising on Instagram for a small business makes sense.

Our media landscape is not so even in distribution of budget allocation or focus there days. With hand held technology with us every hour of the day, digital media assumes a lion-share of media budgets. So it is a suitable option for small businesses to reach their target audience and promote their products or services simply due to volume of attention the platform receives. Instagram has a large and diverse user base, which can provide small businesses with access to a wide range of potential customers.

To further explore this and validate Instagram as a real small business marketing opportunity, the platform offers various targeting options, such as location, age, gender, interests, and behaviours, which can help small businesses reach the specific audience they want to target. This function alone is powerful and and accurate which is great for small businesses with very little budget to throw around.

For further discussions on the suitability of Instagram Advertising for your small business get in contact with COG Branding today by calling (02) 9523 6007 for a free consultation on your situation.

Though pay attention here; not all Instagram advertising strategies are appropriate for all small businesses.

While Instagram Advertising can be used for a wide range of small businesses, regardless of the industry or product/service they offer – it’s not a silver bullet. Keep in mind that the success of Instagram Ads will depend on the specific business and its target audience plus who builds them and more importantly how much cash you throw at the platform. You can buy success, but at what cost?!

Instagram is especially effective for brands and B2C consumables (ecommerce businesses) that have a visually appealing product or service, such as fashion, food, beauty, or home decor. Instagram’s visual nature allows professional content makers such as Influencers to showcase content in an attractive way, which can help to attract the attention of potential customers and come across more genuine than that say of a corporation.

Timing is Everything

Now this is where Instagram Ads may not work so well, or require much more effort and strategy to work well. Small businesses that don’t have a visually appealing product or service such as accounting or legal services, can use Instagram Ads to reach their target audience and build brand awareness though social media is generally a platform where engagement for this subject matter is relevant. It’s important to note that small businesses should always consider their target audience when creating Instagram Ads, so if you are looking to convert new clientele as an accountancy then perhaps you could read our How Can LinkedIn Ads Help Small Business article in this series.

In summary, Instagram Ads can be used by a wide range of small businesses, but the success of the ads will depend on the specific business and its target audience. It’s important for small businesses to conduct market research and understand their target audience in order to create effective Instagram Ads because at the end of the day, your customers are key and you are looking to have a conversation with them on social media, not force feed them an offer they’re not in the mood for.


A good thing to understand is if your small business needs a website for Instagram Ads.

Our SME clients often ask us what type of small business websites work well with Instagram Ads, there are many, though first let’s understand why COG Branding believes a website is a critical digital asset for a small business and it’s pursuit of a sustainable marketing strategy.

As a full service Sydney based marketing company tends to focus on a sustainable strategy for our clients digital marketing. We’re not specific to social media, Google Ads or email marketing. Our approach (often referred to as an Owned Media Strategy) is focused towards broadcasting content and marketing communications across platforms and channels that are owned or directly controlled by the client.

As a leading Sydney brand marketing agency our goal is to optimise our clients marketing ecosystem before allocating media spend on advertising, and we include this into our business development approach. Some examples of owned media include:

  • A company’s website, including blog, landing pages, and microsites.
  • A company’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • A company’s email list
  • A company’s mobile application
  • A company’s podcast or vlog
  • A company’s customer communities or forums

Owned media allows a company or organisation to communicate directly with its audience and create a consistent brand experience across all channels. Additionally, it allows companies to collect data and gain insights on their audiences that can be used to improve their overall marketing strategy. The advantage of having control over your own media channels is that you can have more control over the message and you can use it to build your brand and reputation.

Once your Instagram audience leaves Instagram, and heads to your website to become a true advocate of your brand and business, you have a better chance of converting them into a customer and having a direct line of communication with them without a middle man.

A website is not strictly required to run Instagram Ads, but it can be beneficial for small businesses. It’s possible to run Instagram Ads without a website, for example, to increase brand awareness or promote an event. In those cases, you can use the Instagram Ads to redirect users to a specific Instagram post or profile, or even a phone number or email address to contact the business.

Though small businesses that have a website that is well-designed, user-friendly, and optimised for conversions can get the most out of their performance marketing campaigns. COG Branding employee experienced and website developers for many different types of websites, primarily WordPress WebsitesShopify WebsitesMagento Websites and Big Commerce websites as they provide the best value with a CMS that clients who are not too web savvy can still manage themselves.

In addition, small businesses that rely on Instagram as a primary source of traffic should have website optimised for mobile devices. Instagram is a mobile-first platform, and the majority of its users access the platform from their mobile devices. So, it’s important for a website to be responsive and easy to navigate on mobile devices.

Instagram Ads can be used to drive website traffic and increase conversions by directing users to a website where they can make a purchase or learn more about a product or service. IG traffic can also generate leads by directing users to a landing page on your website where they can fill out a form to receive more information or sign up for a newsletter. Having a website can also increase the credibility of your business and provide a space for customers to learn more about your products and services.

In particular, e-commerce websites, which allow customers to make purchases directly from the website, can be particularly effective when combined with Instagram Ads. Additionally, Instagram has a feature called “shopping on Instagram” which allows businesses to tag products in their post and stories and make it easy for users to purchase the products from the post or story itself. This feature requires that the business has a Facebook Shop or website with an e-commerce platform integrated with Facebook.

An e-commerce website should have a user-friendly design, clear product descriptions, and high-quality product images. It should also have a secure checkout process, and offer various payment options. Having a good website will help to increase conversions and make it easier for customers to make a purchase after clicking on an Instagram Ad.

Our best advice as a trusted website development agency is that having a website is a great digital asset as part of an owned media strategy, and can be beneficial for running Instagram Ads, but it’s not strictly required. Reach out to COG Branding here on our contact page for more information on websites or download the Website Product Summary here.

Snapshot: The Top Five Expected Results Instagram Provides Small Business?

  1. Increased brand awareness and exposure to a large audience.
  2. The ability to connect with potential customers and engage with existing ones through features like Instagram Stories, IGTV, and live streaming.
  3. The ability to drive website traffic and sales through link in bio (eg: Linktree).
  4. The ability to build a community of loyal brand advocates.
  5. The ability to gather customer insights and feedback through comments, direct messaging, and Instagram Insights analytics.

Though for a small business you’ll want to know what makes Instagram Account perform over another? (If you’re an Influencer you can skip this section). The factors that can contribute to one Instagram account performing better than another, meaning your competitors pages doing better than yours can be activities such as:

  • Quality and consistency of content: Accounts with high-quality, visually appealing, and consistent content tend to perform better.
  • Engagement: Accounts that regularly engage with their audience through comments, direct messaging, and Instagram Stories tend to perform better.
  • Hashtags and keywords: Accounts that use relevant hashtags and keywords in their captions and bios tend to perform better.
  • Timing and frequency of posts: Accounts that post at optimal times and with a consistent frequency tend to perform better.
  • Audience demographics: Accounts that target a specific audience and tailor their content to that audience tend to perform better.
  • Marketing and advertising: Accounts that use Instagram’s paid advertising features and influencer marketing tend to perform better.
  • Instagram Algorithm : Instagram algorithm is a machine learning model that use to decide which content is shown to which user, it uses a variety of factors like engagement, timing and relevance to determine which posts to show, so accounts that understand and follow Instagram algorithm tend to perform better.

You have your Instagram Strategy, though you don’t have a Google Ad Strategy. Does this matter?

Ask a social media agency, they’ll likely say no. COG Branding as a multi-disciplinary agency focused on sustainability for small businesses says yes, your Social Media Strategy should considered search strategy. By having an Instagram ad strategy and a Google ad strategy working together can potentially be beneficial for a business. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Reaching different audiences: Instagram and Google have different user demographics, so a business can reach a wider audience by advertising on both platforms.
  • Utilising different ad formats: Instagram and Google offer different ad formats, such as photo and video ads on Instagram, and text, display and search ads on Google. By utilising different ad formats, a business can create more diverse and impactful campaigns.
  • Measuring and optimising performance: By advertising on both Instagram and Google, a business can track and compare the performance of their ads on each platform and optimise their campaigns accordingly.
  • Enhancing brand awareness and recall: Advertising on multiple platforms can help to increase brand awareness and recall which leads to more conversions.
  • Cost-effective: By using both platforms, a business can reach a wider audience and get more results with a lower cost per acquisition.

It’s worth noting that creating a coordinated strategy and having a clear understanding of the audiences you want to reach and the goals you want to achieve on each platform is essential to make the most out of this approach.

If you want to learn more you might want to know where you can learn more about running Instagram Ads yourself?

There are several resources available to learn how to create Instagram ads. Instagram’s own Help Center ( has a section on advertising that covers topics such as creating an ad, setting up targeting, and measuring performance. Additionally, Facebook’s Business website ( has a section on advertising that includes a variety of tutorials and best practices for creating ads on Instagram and other Facebook-owned platforms.

Finally, COG Branding is a proven and trusted Sydney digital marketing agency providing Instagram Ads Services, we’re here for small business and your future success.

COG Branding are Meta Partners and certified Instagram Ads specialists. Our digital marketing team are experts at managing the complex suite of digital marketing products and softwares. We have the skills and experience to integrate intelligent business solutions that link your customers to your branded digital touch points and assets.

Providers of strategic Lead Generation solutions via Performance Marketing Campaigns on platforms such as Google Ads, Meta (Facebook & Instagram), LinkedIn, Twitter and Outbrain. We create ad copy, design content, deploy campaigns and analyse data. Reach out anytime on (02) 9523 6007 or contact us here


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Luke Sullivan

Luke Sullivan is a brand marketing expert that specialises in a small business. Active as the COG Branding Managing, you can reach Luke Sullivan on his LinkedIn profile.

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