How to boost an Instagram post

Content Marketer and Writer
Updated 08 May, 2024
Julia Moore
Content Marketer and Writer
If you believe your photo or video deserves more attention, you can launch ads on social media. Boost an Instagram post, and it will be shown to hundreds of people interested in your content. It means you will get not only high reach, but also many likes. All you need to do is to follow the instructions from the article.
Reading time — 11 minutes

What does it mean to boost a post on Instagram?

In general, when you boost an Instagram post it means you promote it. There is a feature in the Instagram app called "Boost post". It allows you to launch ads quickly without marketing skills.

Boosting feature on Instagram allows you to set and launch ads for a single post quickly. You can promote a photo, video, and also a carousel. You can do it only from Professional accounts and only in the app. 

The advantage of Instagram post boosting is that you can launch the ads quickly. You don’t have to adjust many settings and study social media marketing to promote your photo or video. You can set the promotion in just 5 clicks.

If you are an advanced marketers, though, you may not like the boosting feature. You don't have accurate settings when you boost an Instagram post using the app feature. This is a drawback because advertisements may be less effective without the variety of parameters like on Facebook.

What happens when you boost an Instagram post?

When you boost an Instagram post, people see it in their feed, Stories, and on the Explore page with the Sponsored mark and a link. This may be people who follow you and who don't. That's why boosting is a great way to promote your account.

On the first screenshot, you can see how a boosted Instagram post looks in the feed and on the Explore page. On the second one, there is how it looks in Stories. As you see, this is one of the ways to add a clickable link to your Story, it takes money, though. 

Boosted post in the Instagram feedBoosted Instagram post in the Instagram Stories

As you can see, 1:1 posts do not cover the whole screen in Stories. It usually doesn't look quite good. Read our guide on Instagram Story size & dimensions

How to boost an Instagram post

Choose photos and videos wisely when you are going to boost an Instagram post. First of all, they should be of high quality. It means they should be sharp and bright enough so that objects are distinguishable and clear. Also, the width should be at least 1080 pixels. As for color parameters, read about them in the article about cool Instagram profile pictures.

An Instagram post you boost should also be good from the marketing point of view. It should catch attention right away so that it gets attention even of those who scroll their Instagram feed at a fast pace. 

Example of a photo that is a good visual for a Boosted Instagram post

Tap the Boost Post button under a publication to promote it. 

Highlighted Boost Post button under an Instagram post

Choose a goal for your posts promotion

Before you boost an Instagram post, you need to decide on what you expect from the ad. The app offers three options. 

Page for selecting a goal when setting up paid advertising on Instagram for a post

More Profile Visits. Boost Instagram posts to get new followers. If you sell products in your profile, it will also help to show your assortment to new potential customers. 

This is how Instagram post boosting works to give you more visits and new followers. People who see the promoting post go to your Instagram profile. If they like your stylish blog or a shop with good offers, they will definitely subscribe. 

The first screenshot shows how your boosted post will be displayed in the Instagram feed or on the Explore page. The second one shows how it will look in Stories. 

Post from the feed with the button View Instagram ProfilePost with the button View Instagram Profile in Stories

More Website Visits. This goal will bring more customers to your website. You can choose this goal when you boost an Instagram post if you have a catalog on your website. Or, instead of a website, you can also put a link for downloading a manual or a checklist. This way, you provide a promo of your products or services.

But the best option is to link to an Instagram landing page made specifically for the campaign. Read how to get one here. Templates allow you to create it quickly and be sure it can make users buy. Thus, all the money and time you spend when boosting an Instagram post will pay off.

This is an example of a landing page. You can create the same page — follow the link to get the page template after a quick sign-up.

Post from the Instagram feed with the button Learn MoreA page where users who tap the button in a boosted Instagram post are taken

When you select this goal, there opens a window. You need to put a website link and choose a button text in it. The link is copied from your bio by default. You can change it. Below, you can choose text that will be displayed in the link button.

Page for adding an URL and selecting the action button text when setting up paid promotion for a post on Instagram

Here is how users will see an Instagram post you boost.

Boosted Instagram post in the feedBoosted Instagram post in the Stories

More Messages. The goal helps to get to know your Instagram audience. Ask a question so that people will answer by the link. You can also increase your sales using messages. 

For example, boost an Instagram post with one of your products and let users know they can order it just by writing "Want it" in Direct by the link. Or, say they can get all the purchase details in Direct — and here is the link. 

Boosted Instagram post with the Send Message button in the feedBoosted Instagram post with the Send Message button in the Stories

Tap Next after you select a goal.

Boosted Instagram post with the Send Message button in the Stories

Choose your target audience on Instagram

Now let’s set who will see the Instagram post you boost, we need to choose parameters of your Instagram audience.

Pay attention to the Select Ad Special Category menu. When you boost an Instagram post about finances and money, employment and career, real estate and all the associated things, you must mark it in the menu. If your post contains social issues or topics close to politics, you must state it too. But the ad like this can be set only in Facebook Ads Manager. 

Highlighted Special Ad Category on the page for choosing an audienceList of special ad categories in the Audience setting in the Instagram app

Automatically created Instagram audience

You can automate this part of Instagram post boosting. Let the social network decide on a target group of users for you. It will find people similar to your followers on the social media network. If you are not good at advertising so far, or if you want to launch a promotion as soon as possible, then, this is your option. 

Highlighted Automatic option on the list in the Audience settings

Don’t use the automatic list if you bought followers or cheated gaining them in another way. Most of them will not be interested in your Instagram boosted post. It means Instagram will find those who are not interested in you either. The money will be wasted. So, instead, set your custom audience using the instructions below.

Is it a good or a bad idea to buy followers?

Create a custom audience for the Instagram post you boost

When you boost an Instagram post, you are free to decide what kind of people will see it. If you know your audience pretty well, or you are targeting specific users, you’d better create a custom group. In the future, when you promote other photos and videos, the groups you created will be offered here. 

Highlighted Create Your Own option in the Audience settings in the Instagram app

Give your group a name. You need to choose locations, interests, age and gender when you create an audience for Instagram post boosting. Let’s look at the latter settings in more detail. 

Page for creating a custom target audience when setting up post boosting on Instagram

Locations. You can choose a country where people will see your boosted Instagram post. In the first tab, you can add several places from any part of the world. Type the name of a place in the search bar to find and add it. In the second tab, you can change a radius, your local region is set by default, but you can change it. In this tab, you can add only one location. 

Highlighted Regional tab in the Location settings of a targeted audienceHighlighted Local tab in the Location settings of a targeted audience

Interests. Set interests by which the social network will find users. Choose the topics related to the Instagram post you boost. Start typing one of them in the field. You can add numerous interests to expand your potential audience. 

For example, choose computers and gardening, and the Instagram post you promote will be shown both to those who are into computers and who are into gardening. A user doesn’t have to like both things to see your sponsored post.

Highlighted Interests fields in the audience settings of targeted post advertising on Instagram

Age & Gender. Specify age, then only people of this age will see the Instagram post that boost. You can set any range of years from 18 to 65. Add to that, you can include or exclude people of a particular gender by tapping a tick near them.

Age & Gender settings in the audience settings for boosting a post on Instagram

At the top of the audience editing page, you will see the number of people who fit the parameters you set. 

Highlighted number of targeted users on Instagram who fit the criteria

Make sure you opt for your custom audience and tap Next.

Finishing custom audience setting up in the targeted post promotion settings in the Instagram app

Set budget & duration for the post promotion

After you decide on the audience, you can go to the finance aspect. When you boost a post on Instagram, you choose the daily budget and the number of days.

  • The first setting adjusts the daily budget. Instagram recommends making it no less than 5 USD. The currency and recommended number may be different depending on your country. 
  • The second setting adjusts how long your Instagram posts will be boosting. The app recommends setting it no less than 6 days. 
Budget & Duration settings in the Instagram app

Of course, choosing larger budget and longer duration when you boost an Instagram post is more beneficial. First, more people will see your post. Second, the more people see it, the more accurately Instagram can choose users, who will definitely be cough by your post. So the whole campaign becomes more effective.

Here are two tips on how to set budget and duration when you want to boost an Instagram post effectively:

  • Long duration is more preferable. Instagram does a great work to make the right people know about you. Algorithms analyze users who saw the post and their engagement during the boosting. When a user is interested in your post, the algorithms choose users with the similar interests to show the ad. The user’s gender, age, and location are also considered. If a user's engagement is low, fewer people with the similar parameters will see your post. 
  • Start from a low budget. Create audiences with different locations, gender, ages, interests. Show posts with different creatives to them. Afterwards, you will be able to track and analyze the results in statistics, we will tell you about it later. When you figure out the most engaged kind of  users for specific posts, you can boost your Instagram photos and videos with a bigger budget. 

At the top, you can see the number of people who are likely to see the post you boost on Instagram. Bear in mind, even if you set both of the settings at their maximum, the number will be lower than what you saw while creating the custom group. 

Highlighted approximated number of users who will see the boosted Instagram post

Tap Next to go to the Review page, where you complete the final steps.

Finishing post boosting setting up in the Instagram app

Launch post boosting on Instagram

Finally! When you boost an Instagram post for the first time, the steps may seem to take a long time. But once you finish reading the article, you can promote your posts easily in no time. 

On the Review page, you can check all the settings before you start boosting an Instagram post. 

Tap Preview Ad to see how users will see your post on Instagram. You can’t change where it will be displayed and where it won't.

Highlighted Preview Ad button in the Instagram appHighlighted list with the Feed, Stories, Explore options in the Ad Preview menu

In the Instagram feed and on the Explore page, boosted posts look the same. Be sure to check how it looks in Stories. The size of posts and Stories are different, so a photo and video will be changed there. Make sure they are fully displayed and the content looks ok.

Boosted post in the Instagram feedBoosted Instagram post in the Instagram Stories

If everything’s ok, continue by making payment. Note, the final sum you have to pay to boost your Instagram post may be higher than what you set in the previous page. Taxes may be added, they depend on your country. 

Highlighted Cost Summary section in the Review menu in the Instagram app

Tap Payment to select or add a payment method. Select a bank card or PayPal account, then tap Next. If the card or PayPal account hasn’t been added to your Instagram account, you will get to a page with the filling forms. If you already paid this way on the social network, you will get back to the Review page. 

Highlighted Payment button in the Review settings in the Instagram appFinishing adding the payment methods for boosting a post on Instagram

Tap Boost Post.

Tapping Boost Post on the Review page in the Instagram app

Keep the finger on the pulse of your Instagram post promotion

After you tap Boost Post, the Instagram post is sent in review. If you haven’t violated the Community Guidelines, you have nothing to worry about, the boosting will start within a day.

You can track the review status and the statistics in the Ad Tools in the Manage section. On the list of the Instagram posts that are boosted, you can choose one to see its detailed statistics.

Highlighted Ad Tools in the Instagram profile page tab on a smartphoneHighlighted Manage section in the Ad Tools menu in the Instagram app

Try this Instagram post promotion with different creatives and setting different goals, create audiences with various interests, locations, ages, and select different genders. Analyze the statistics to know what works best for your brand on Instagram.

The bottom line

Now you know how to boost an Instagram post in the app. This way of promotion has its pros and cons. It’s a good way to start ads in a couple of clicks without the necessity to conceive social media marketing. On the other hand, this advertising is not very effective due to the lack of accurate settings in comparison to Facebook Ads Manager, for example.

Try different strategies when you boost an Instagram post to get better results. Create custom audiences and target ads for different types and with various creatives to them.