Important Variables to Thrive Your Instagram Ads

I have been in marketing since early 2013 where Instagram was new, social media marketing people were probably less than population we have in Papua. However it was growing rapidly, in fact, I think it was the year where people were getting more aware about the power of social media.

My first job was managing social media, handling website content and layout. No such thing as influencer marketing, Instagram ads, and there was still 30% text rule on Facebook ads.

After over 9 years now, I have experienced implementing ads with various objectives, for different products and services, to different target audiences. On this blog, I’d like to share the important variables that can help you grow results from Meta Ads:

Now grab some pen and paper (or anywhere you can pour out your thoughts). Start writing down these things:

  1. Products or services you want to sell or promote
  2. Goals that you want to achieve from these ads
  3. Target audience (demography, location, behavior, etc)
  4. Some variations of content you’d like to share on the ads (brand awareness related, promo related, invitation to events, etc)

You can always come back again and edit this whenever you come up with some other brilliant ideas from the time you spend in the toilet.

For now, please keep the note you have in your mind and remember to always get back to that and ask yourself: “is this right?“. Many times you can be bias with your own understanding of your audience or the messaging that is acceptable for them or even the content you share is not what they need.
I’m not going to go into details on the step-by-step of implementing your ads, but there are 4 different variables you should pay attention to, and get back to your note again and assess regularly.

Target Audience

On Meta dashboard, you can custom your audience ranging from demography level, location, interest, behavior, to expanding it to lookalike audience. Lookalike audience means Meta will look for similarity within your pool of audience and use that similarity as reference to find the different pool for you.
The way you can assess this is, after you run some ads, go to your report and insight on your Ad Set. Here is a simple insight you can see quickly to grasp an idea if your demography is right. Compare reach and result, if this fits with what you seek in your overall performance. Things that could happen are certain age group or gender actually affect your result, and this can only be cracked when you monitor it daily and see the differences over time.

Demographics Insight on Meta Dashboard


It’s better to have an idea for the cost per result on the objective you want to run within the industry you are in. To get an estimated rate, you can ask in public forum like Facebook Group or Telegram Group where digital marketing people are there.
Once you have it, you can start planning your budget and start small. As you progress, you can increase it 20-30% every time you see better result. It’s really important not to make a big jump just because you want to reach more people, because Meta machine would need some time to learn the audience that fits your product/service best.
You can’t panic if you see increase in your ads, it’s okay to give 1-2 days. Sometimes weekends affect result too.

Visual and Messaging

Some people say pictures can speak thousands words, and I agree with it. Even a color can mean something to your audience. When you know your audience, then what you need to do is to speak their lingo. If they are fashionista then you might want to have a bold style, whether it is the color, shapes, etc. If they are travelers, you might want to use real photos and bring experiences as close as possible to your audience. On top of the visual, you also need to identify if your audience likes to read, as this will determine the text you would have on the visual or on the caption.

Then, next step is, hook! It’s very essential to have a hook or CTA (call-to-action) on your ads, so that it’s clear what they need to do after they see your ads. For many profitable products/services, you would want to offer a sales promotion. For those who focus on branding, you can invite your audience to a website, to a form for an event, to join an activity, to download stickers, etc.
After all, you can have some variations on your ads to see which works best. If you have a lot to offer, make different Ad Sets with different goals or messaging. The easiest is you can make an Ad Set for general ads and seasonal ads.
When you want to test this, remember everything else should be the same except the message (either on your visual or caption).


Through Meta dashboard you can pick to do Manual Placement or Automatic Placement where Automatic Placement will include Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger. Many would recommend to do Automatic Placement because Meta will work on the best placement anyway. I personally would highly recommend for you to do your analysis with Automatic Placement. When you go to Insight on your Ads, you can find Placement tab next to Demographic. You should do comparison through different period when you have higher audience on Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network and see the result from each period where one dominates than the other.

For Indonesia market, I found interest fact where some high-end products/services would fit best to target Instagram audience only. Based on Jakpat’s recent data on Indonesia Social Media Trend, Facebook has more male audience with lower-middle classes, and this might be the reason why some companies would find better result on Instagram.

For a stronger analysis, make sure you go through each funnel every time you would like to assess. Also remember to always use UTM to keep everything tracked. Finally, use both data from Meta and Google Analytics dashboard.

Happy advertising!


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