How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on Instagram?

Advertise on Instagram

Many new business owners reach a point in their business startup where they dread sitting down to add more content to their social media.

It might be fun when you start, but watching follower counts increase slowly is hard to take for even the most patient entrepreneur. It feels much like frying an egg using the flame from a matchstick.

So perhaps it’s time to put some firepower behind your social media strategy and invest in advertising. And there’s no better platform to start than Instagram.

But how much does it cost to advertise on Instagram? Find the answer here. 

How Costs Are Calculated 

Before we examine costs, it’s crucial to understand how Instagram technology for their advertising works. Instagram is part of the Facebook Ads Manager and uses a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) model.

PPC means you only pay for that ad when someone clicks on it. That’s measured using CPC (Cost-Per-Click), which allows us to compare like-for-like. 

How Much Does It Cost To Advertise On Instagram? 

The most recent Instagram data we have is from 2021. The overall average CPC for Instagram ads that year was $1.23.

But what’s important to note is that there is a massive variance in this cost, from $0.20 to over $7.00. In the next section, we will explain what causes this variance and how you can figure out what your likely cost will be.  

Factors That Will Influence What You Pay

New advertisers are often surprised when they first see their ad campaign results. Seeing attractive headline costs for Instagram clicks can often make marketers wonder what went wrong.

But a few factors determine what you’ll pay, and it’s essential to know these in advance.

Ad Quality

Instagram is only as strong as the quality of content on the platform. That goes for advertising content too.

When people scroll through their feed, they will only stop at an ad if the quality is good. And that matters to Instagram because they want their users to enjoy the content they see on their feeds.

If your ad quality is poor, you’ll pay more to get that ad in front of your target audience. Invest in Instagram ads management if you want to ensure your ad quality is excellent. 

Ad Relevance

You can pay the top agency in the world to produce a slick, high-quality ad campaign when using Instagram advertisements. But imagine putting an ad for retirement properties in front of 16-24-year-olds. 

In other words, if that ad isn’t relevant to the audience, irrespective of how creative or professional your ad is, it won’t do well. And your costs will go up as a result.

Relevance comes down to excellent targeting when you set your ad campaign up in the Facebook ad manager. To do that, you need to know as much as you can about your target audience. 

Your Bid

Instagram advertising works on an auction basis, where you place a bid to show your ad to the relevant audience.

Your bid is fundamental but isn’t the sole factor for whether or not Instagram will show your ad to the right people. Ad relevance and quality will be taken into account by Instagram too.

Instagram will give you a recommended bid for an ad based on what other advertisers are spending to reach that same audience. 

The Competition

The significant variation in ad spend mentioned earlier in the article is primarily due to the competition for that ad space.

If you are competing in an industry with fierce competition, and where that competition can afford to spend significant money on ads, you will pay more.

Consider a niche like plastic surgery or cosmetic dentistry. Customers will be spending upwards of thousands, so these businesses can afford to spend several dollars getting a click on their website.

Conversely, a company selling hair accessories might only make a dollar of each customer sale and cannot afford to spend too much on ads. 

Some industries will have more companies vying for the same audience, too, which means more bids, and a higher chance you’ll get outbid.

Compare an industry such as dieting, which has a vast amount of competition, with a more specialist industry like fishing accessories.  


You’ll pay lower ad costs to reach a younger audience. They typically have less disposable income, so they aren’t as lucrative for companies.

You might find gender differences in your industry, too. Women spend more on hair products than men, and your ad costs will be higher if you target a female audience in that niche. 


Perhaps you’ve factored in all the above and remain perplexed as to why your ad costs are so high. It may be that you have simply picked the wrong time of year to advertise.

Consider seasonal advertising trends such as Christmas or Black Friday. You’ll be competing against more companies during that period so your costs will go up.

It’s worth looking at the annual holidays relevant to your audience and avoiding times when other companies will outbid you.

Campaign Length

Generally, campaign costs drop over time and then rise again, like a u-shaped curve. There is a reason for this. Instagram needs time to get your ad in front of the right people.

The algorithm will see the data coming in from your advertising and tweak the targeting to improve the performance and reach a more receptive audience.

Once you are at this point, you’ll see your CPC fall. However, once you’ve scooped up that audience, the algorithm will branch out to reach the second most likely audience for your niche.

As these people are less likely to respond to your ad, your costs will rise again.

How long it takes for your costs to fall will depend on the size of the audience you want to reach. Always leave your ad running after you launch it, and don’t feel tempted to suspend it prematurely.    

Are Instagram Ads Right For You?

So how much does it cost to advertise on Instagram? Well, the answer is that it varies considerably, and to determine what your costs will be, you’ll need to look at the factors we outlined in this guide.

More importantly, establish the expected profit you make from your customers, as the cost is relative. If you make good profit margins, spending several dollars for each ad click might be worth the investment.

If you enjoyed this post, remember to browse through some of our other recent marketing tips in our business section before you go.

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BSV Staff

Every day we create distinctive, world-class content which inform, educate and entertain millions of people across the globe.