Instagram Promotion Ads Not Working? 15 Reasons & Fixes

Learn why your Instagram Promotion Ads are not working, and how to fix them.

Daniel Ternyak
January 29, 2023

Are your Instagram ads not working?

If your Instagram ads are not working, or performing well, you've come to the right place.

In this guide, you'll learn the 15 most important and common reasons why Instagram ads either don't work or convert well.

We'll also teach you how to fix your Instagram ads so they start working, and converting into customers.

So, keep reading.

Instagram ads not working

1. Instagram made a mistake

Some users run into problems with getting their promotions disabled. When this happens, you won't be able to run any ads. This could occur for several reasons.

The most common is through the promotions not meeting Instagram's promotional guidelines.

Do the ads feature content depicting controversial images and phrases or subject matter that could be taken as a lead-in to misinformation on the topic?

How to fix:

First, change the content in the promotions themselves when knowing that the content is the issue.

But if you feel that there isn't anything wrong with your content, you can request to have a review of the content made by a moderator of Instagram.

It's easy to do considering that the request is available on the website itself. There's no need to make any phone calls or emails outside of the site.

Furthermore, you can go to the Account Quality page, then click on your management tab for your business account.

After that, you'll see a form that must be completed. Describe your issue in detail, and why you feel that your promotions shouldn't have been disabled.

The typical turnaround time for a response from Instagram is about a day or two, but don't be surprised if you must wait a little longer, especially on the weekends.

2. You don’t have a professional account

Running Instagram ads has become more complicated over the years.

While most of the navigational aspects of the site are intuitive, running promotional ads demands a bit of know-how.

It's not the same as casually browsing around on the site; attention to detail should be made to avoid opening up an incorrect account for promotions.

How to fix:

To create a promotion on Instagram, a business account is required. This is different from a personal account, something that people wanting to do must transition away from.

It's important to realize that a business account on Instagram has no privacy options. Therefore, everything that you do will be seen by any visitors.

Superficially, it appears not much different from a normal account but looking into the settings reveals a multitude of analytical features.

They'll help you pinpoint the kind of people that are clicking on your promotions, and where they come from.

  1. Go to the Setting option in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on "Account" then look for the "Switch to Personal Account" option. Click and proceed through the information showing some of the things you can do with a business account.
  3. From here, you can pick the type of business you are running. Select the most relevant one.
  4. Proceed further by clicking "Done," then verify that you want to switch from Personal to Business.
  5. On the next screen, you'll see two options labeled "Creator" and "Business." Don't click the Creator option, which is specifically for content creators. Select Business only.
  6. You can either use the same email address that you already have attached to your Instagram account or change it to another one in the next section. Add any phone numbers for your business here as well.
  7. The final step is in linking your business account to Facebook if needed.

3. Your account has been restricted

Like the promotions within the business account, your entire Instagram can be restricted. Instagram is like other major social media sites in this regard, having algorithms that constantly scour the website for spam.

Following a large number of photos, making hordes of likes, and sending out too many messages simultaneously, could restrict the account from Instagram believing it to be a spam bot.

Other reasons for this can be found in Instagram's terms of service, such as posting offensive material, sharing violent content, and using some third-party applications with the business account.

How to fix:

The fixes for a restricted account are to delete anything that's listed by Instagram as unfavorable. Scale back on the number of messages you run every day and limit your likes as much as you can.

You don't have to stop doing this completely, but enough to where your account won't be flagged as spam by Instagram's servers.

Once you've identified the causes of the restriction and fixed it, you can expect the restricted account to be up and running again in about one to two days, or a bit longer on weekends.

4. Your account is not at least 30 days old

Many social media platforms will restrict what users and businesses can do when initially setting up an account on their websites.

Instagram is no different. Promotions can only be done after a 30-day waiting period from the day that the account was created.

How to fix:

Simply wait for the 30-day period to end or use an Instagram account that you've had for longer than a month.

Remember that you must transfer it over to a business account if it's personal, or else you won't see the promotions option available to you in the settings area.

5. Copyright issues

Copyright is a major area where first-time users of business accounts make mistakes. It's easy to violate Instagram's copyright rules if you're not familiar with them.

In some cases, you could be doing so and getting restrictions on your account without realizing why a certain photo or video causes it to happen in the first place.

Steering clear from copyright restrictions requires preventative knowledge to avoid it, which includes the following:

  1. Watching the kind of music you post - This could be music that you attach to a promotional video or piece of audio. Unless the music is listed as copyright-free, anything you attach to an ad without the owner of the track's permission could be labeled as a copyright infringement.
  2. Videos - Videos could contain copyrighted music. Additionally, posting videos that are in ownership of someone else could violate Instagram's copyright terms.
  3. Photos and logos - Photographs of other brands, logos within them, and even phrases that are trademarked to other companies are generally flagged as copyright violations when placed in a user's own promotions on their account.

How to fix:

Use royalty-free music. Nevertheless, there still could exist restrictions forbidding you from using it with your promotions.

Music with Creative Commons licenses is the same. These are usually the kinds of audio that people attach to promotions.

When in doubt, check with Instagram before showcasing your ads. Apply this to photograms and videos as well.

With either, exceptions could be made with the owner's permission. In most cases, content that has no restrictive copyright will require that its source or creator be credited in the photo or video it's used in.

6. Spending limits

Spending limits are commonly found on business accounts. They're a cap to the number of promotional campaigns being from the account.

Spending limits are set up by users but can be changed a limited number of times per day.

However, the spending limit exists to keep marketers from overspending their promotions by too much, something that can happen if there's no ceiling to prevent it from going over.

How to fix:

You must go to the Payment Settings section to change it. Changing the spending limit more than 10 times in one sitting will restrict the feature for an hour or more.

It takes about 15 minutes for any modifications to take effect.

7. Post-click landing page isn’t optimized to convert

Landing pages on Instagram are run through mobile applications on smartphones.

Due to this, you must tailor your promotions to be compatible with the mobile service. If they're not, your landing pages and the ads that lead to them won't work or appear property in the mobile application.

How to fix:

  1. Minimize the content on the landing page - This could take some time when starting over from scratch but should be done to make it easier for people to become engaged with the content you want to show them.
  2. Make forms visible to users - Content on mobile applications is manipulated with the user's fingers, so scrolling options work well for form fields on promotions and landing pages. If they're filling out forms, text boxes should be placed in a conspicuous spot that isn't awkward when used in either portrait or landscape mode on a smartphone.
  3. Engage and assist website visitors using live video chat - With ServiceBell, you can proactively assist website visitors with the help of on-demand live video calls and screen takeover. By assisting potential customers directly on your website, you can build trust with your customers and increase your Instagram ads' conversions.

8. Your ads lack a story

When no depth is added to promotional ads, users won't be interested in what the business is trying to sell.

A simple demand from the company isn't enough. People want to be ended with a product in a way that makes it unique from the typical call to action.

How to fix:

Creativity can take time, though your promotions may appeal to a wider audience when topics that are trending on the website are shown in the content.

It doesn't have to be a controversial subject matter, but the overall feel should be that of a friendly nature.

Placing questions in the promotions and posting answers to those related to your business is an easy way to raise interest.

9. You’re focusing on conversions too much

Conversions are the steps that users take from viewing content on promotions, to visiting the landing page, then moving on to what the business is selling.

Although conversions are the essence of marketing on social media platforms, focusing on them too much could hinder the content that's being used to drive user interest in what's being sold.

How to fix:

Try not to come off as too business-like, even with your call-to-action. Engage with other Instagram users through entertainment, education, and motivational content.

The key is to prevent users from feeling that your only goal is to get them to your landing page, and buy your products.

10. You’re posting ads without offers

Instagram is open about its use of ads on the platform, so users can easily differentiate between business and personal accounts.

This results in lots of competition from business accounts promoting offers to users for viewing their promotions or landing spaces.

How to fix:

People that browse social media are more likely to view an ad when there are benefits provided to them for doing so.

The most common way to persuade them to view ads is with discounts to other businesses they are familiar with, whether or not they're related to the business being conducted on Instagram.

Things like coupon codes for shopping applications, free trials to paid services, or deals on the content being marketed are great ways to raise the number of people that are willing to check out a company's products.

Discounts don't have to be featured on every promotional campaign on Instagram. Instead, you can set up the percentage of ads run with discounts.

Still, this shouldn't be done too frequently. An occasional promotional offer at certain times of the day, week, or month is suggested and can raise conversions, however.

In short, place discounts in 1/4 of promotions, then run them at about the same rate.

11. You’re treating Instagram like any other marketing channel

The problem with online advertising, particularly when done on social media, is some businesses promoting what they're selling in a way that's similar to traditional advertising.

For example, an inexperienced marketer running an Instagram business account for promotional purposes may decide to do what's being recommended to them on other platforms, such as Facebook.

Even worse are those that decide to blatantly advertise using methods no different from what's commonly found on television.

How to fix:

If you're relying too heavily on copyright-free photos, videos, and audio to create your promotions, this could result in your content looking unappealing to your target audience.

Stock media might be familiar to viewers but users typically shy away from such promotions.

This may happen from what they perceive as a lack of unique presentation. Or maybe there aren't enough interesting things in the promotions to excite them into looking at it further.

Don't use too much text in your promotions, since users generally don't browse on Instagram to read long strings of content.

It's imperative to avoid this with your marketing. If you must add writing content, break down what you're explaining in an easy-to-read format that avoids large walls of text. Watch the font sizes of your captions and don't use up too much space with logos.

Make videos if you can, a great way to show users your offerings.

Even with services online, a simple video tutorial showcasing what's available on the site, how easy it is to complete a task there, or showing people using the services offered could quickly raise conversions.

12. Wrong ad content

Instagram business accounts with bad conversion rates tend to have one thing in common, which is out-of-place content.

Of course, it's fine to venture into subjects that aren't obviously related to the content being promoted, but doing this too frequently might hurt conversions or create disinterest in the people scrolling towards your ads.

How to fix:

Again, you'll want to first avoid any content that's not within the acceptance of Instagram's TOS.

This goes for the misplaced content already there and meant to take its place. To better reflect the audience you want your ads to appeal to, try and build your promotions with these tips in mind:

  1. There's a line between invasive and evasive promotional ads. If your promotions aren't getting the reaction that you would like, it could be from them straying too far away from the niche, or looking too obvious to viewers.
  2. Make content that can serve as inspiration to people looking at the promotions, either with quotes, motivational messages, or upbeat stories.
  3. Make the promotions appear natural, avoiding any business-like fonts and banners. The more familiar it is to ordinary users of the platform the better.
  4. Avoid text that screams "I am an Instagram business that's seeking out user clicks to my landing page." Content should be succinct but never desperate.

13. You’re not targeting the right audience

Promotions should appeal to a niche, people that are likely to view the content of your business.

Unclear promotions are quickly avoided, mostly from users not knowing what's being sold, or them believing that the content is a spam bot.

How to fix:

Make your content all about the people you want it to attract. For instance, when selling shoes, don't use promotions redundant to the niche, such as too heavy a reliance on content unrelated to the kind of shoes being sold.

A seller of Oxfords and loafers would receive little interest if their promotions didn't showcase people wearing men's shoes with formal attire on. Basically, stay as close to the niche as you can, regardless of if you're marketing with videos, photos, or audio.

14. Wrong ad format

Ad formats on Instagram are indicated by the kind of ads that are run on them. When using videos and photos, there are different formats for each.

If you use an incorrect ad format for your advertisements, the result will look unappealing when viewed on a mobile application.

Most ads that are run on Instagram business accounts are target people on smartphone applications.

The navigational controls for the platform's mobile application require that users scroll to get to the areas that interest them.

Since scrolling plays such a large role in Instagram promotions, building them with finger gestures in mind is strongly advised.

How to fix:

Distinguish Carousel, video, and photo ads from one another so that you can better suit them to your content when they're combined.

Collection ads are good for showing the full reach of a business account's promotional campaign and can be filled with content that's admired by guests, especially when the account is set up casually.

Explore ads should be more in-depth since they're geared towards people that aim to discover more users, boost their followers, or follow other Instagram accounts.

15. Ad doesn’t adhere to guidelines

All users on Instagram, regardless of their account being personal and business, should become familiar with their terms of service before adding content to the site. But with ads, they're commonly flagged for reasons that are usually justified.

Harmful, offensive content, unlawful activity being promoted on the ads, solicitation of services, and the sharing of misinformation are things Instagram routinely suspends or ban accounts for.

How to fix:

For an Instagram business account that relies on Facebook advertising, the promotions should adhere to both platforms.

Don't engage in marketing practices that are misleading and don't link to pages with malware. Never sell your account to anyone else, and stay unique, avoiding the impersonation of other people.

There may come a time when certain business accounts are scrutinized by Instagram more than others, such as those selling clothing designs.

If the attire depicts banners or other images that are copyrighted, trademarked, or derogatory, the account would be at risk of getting permanently banned. You can steer clear of this by remaining as innocuous as possible, no matter what's being promoted.

This isn't the limit to what's prohibited on the site. Read the TOS to understand what is and isn't bannable on the platform, paying special attention to the sections for business accounts. For better context into community guidelines, look into their subcategorized rules on platform policy and music.