How to Get Real Instagram Followers with Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are the only legit way to buy real Instagram followers. Learn how to use Facebook Ads to gain real Instagram followers and build your audience.

If you ever wondered how to get or buy real Instagram followers or why you’re not getting followers through existing Facebook Ads campaigns, you’ve come to the right place. 

If you want to gain Instagram followers with Ads, you will need the right campaign settings and enough data. 

Without the right settings, and you want to get more followers, you might end up spending a relative fortune with gaining only a few lucky followers.

Optimizing for followers is a Facebook Ads strategy only for those looking to grow their follower count on Instagram. 

And in this article, we’re going to look at this phenomenon more closely. 

But remember, while this guide is explicitly for gaining real Instagram followers with Facebook Ads, you need to understand that it might not be the best strategy for you. 

More Instagram followers and Facebook page followers have many benefits, but this isn’t the strategy you need if your goals are something else. 

If you want clicks, sales, or other custom conversions, choosing these options in this guide for your Facebook Ads campaign will get you derailed from your real goals. 

Learn how to grow sales with our Facebook Ads guide.

This method is not to add-on to your existing campaigns, rather a strategy by itself. 

But if you want to grow real followers on Instagram, this Facebook Ads guide is for you. 

First, let’s look at the benefits of having real Instagram followers to your social media marketing strategy.

Learn more about Facebook Ads benefits.

10 Benefits of Real Instagram Followers 

  • An audience you can engage with regularly
  • Promote your newest updates 
  • Increase sales 
  • Drive engaged traffic to your websites and landing pages
  • Build credibility and authority
  • Introduce new ideas to an existing audience
  • Learn your target audience and what type of content they enjoy
  • Monetize your audience (influencer marketing)
  • An audience that wants hear from you
  • Powerful remarketing
Benefits of Real Instagram Followers

Why Real Instagram Followers Matter

There many strategies and methods to gain fake Instagram followers to boost your perceived influence, but doing so your only hurting your brand and business in the long-term. 

While gaining real followers is arguably slow and expensive when using this article’s method, the benefits are worth it. 

For example, if you’re building a brand with fake followers, you will only degrade your brand value and future potential.

As for audience data, you will have a tough time discovering your loyal audience and what they truly enjoy as you’ve inflated audience data with fake followers. 

Especially damaging is fake followers who engage with content. 

For example, you buy a fake follower package of 1 000 followers that interact with your content, say next few months. You would lose any real follower engagement data gained during such campaigns.

And the fake followers tend always to be robotic (even if they are real people), which leads to expected behavioral patterns that the Instagram algorithms are sure to pick up. 

Fake followers would lead to worsening your engagement rates and the opportunity of gaining real Instagram followers in the future. 

Always strive to gain a real and engaging audience on Instagram. Otherwise, you’re building a profile with nothing to give and offer.

An audience of 100 is better than an audience of 100 000 of fake ones. Your future and real potential followers will always know to some extent if your audience is fake or not. 

And if you’re building a long-lasting business, a fake following today might impact your capability of creating valuable interactions with others in the future. 

But that out of the way, let’s see how to get real followers with Facebook Ads.

How To Get Real Instagram Followers With Facebook Ads

First, let’s get the prerequisites for the method out of the way: 

  • Have an active ad account on Facebook or Business Manager Account
  • Instagram Business profile and a Facebook Page
  • Pixel installed (learn more here)
  • Have a decent following on Instagram already (the more, the better)
    • We will cover an alternative as well if you’re starting with gaining Instagram followers or just curious. 

Currently, there is no campaign setting that would allow directly using Facebook Ads to gain real Instagram followers in an optimized way (like tracking conversions and optimizing for a converting audience or a Facebook page like campaign). We feel that this might change in the future, and we will update this article accordingly. 

The method requires you to analyze your follower data on a per campaign or ad basis. What we want to say is, you can’t automate the process as much as a regular conversion based-campaign. 

These are the steps to achieve real Instagram followers with Facebook Ads:

  1. Create Instagram Page Custom Audience
  2. Creation of Instagram lookalike audiences
  3. Facebook Ads campaign creation
  4. Modifying Ad set settings
  5. Creation of Instagram-based ads
  6. Tracking performance
  7. Improving results with A/B tests

Create Instagram Page Custom Audience

Start by going to the Audiences -tab in your ad account, found under the business tools. 

Click “Create Audience” and “Custom Audience” and choose the option “Instagram business profile.”

From here, you’ll have four options to choose from: 

  • Anyone who visited your business profile
  • People who engaged with any post or ad
  • People who sent a message to your business profile
  • People who saved any post or ad 
Instagram Business Profile Custom Audience Facebook Ads

You can test with different options for different audiences for A/B testing later on. 

But assuming you don’t have a large follower base on Instagram, you want to go with the broadest options available to you, which is “Anyone who visited your business profile.” 

The more data you collect to your Instagram business profile through advertising will open up more opportunities for optimization. Something to keep in mind as you scale. 

Once chosen, make sure you’re using the 365 days – options to gain the most data from the visitors. 

Again, you can tinker with day-option as you go further into optimization. 

Then give your audience a recognizable name and click “Create Audience.” 

Creation of Instagram Business Profile Lookalike Audiences

Click “Create Audience” again and now choose the option for “Lookalike Audience.” 

Instagram Business Profile Lookalike audience

Select the previously created Instagram business custom audience under other sources in the first field. 

After this, you will need to select the audience location. The audience location is the location of the audience you want to advertise to, and here are a couple of notes to keep in mind, depending on your ad goals: 

  • Choose locations where you want your Instagram followers to come from 
  • Choose locations most profitable to your business
  • If you wish to maximize followers for the least spend on ads, choose countries with lower ad costs overall. 

If your target country has a large population, then start with a 1% lookalike. Still, if your target country has a low population, then a higher percentage of lookalike might be more appropriate. 

You don’t want to start with a narrow audience, as it might impact your overall performance. 

When testing and optimizing, you can try out different lookalike audiences sizes. You only need to create a new lookalike audience with a new percentage of the population. 

And remember, as data comes in, see if you need to create other Instagram business profile custom audiences to create new lookalikes. 

For example, you start gaining many followers in your first attempts and might want to narrow the number of days the custom audiences use (like changing it to 30-days).

But What If I’m Starting From Scratch And Have Zero Followers? 

While the method highly recommends having Instagram data to start with, you can use the rest of the steps to start gaining traffic to your Instagram profile and convert the traffic into followers.

But instead of using custom based audiences, you need to target the people based on interests and demographics, or you can use pixel-based data and build custom audiences from your website visitors. 

The difference for the method only comes down to the targeting, and once you have collected enough data, create the Instagram-based custom audiences for the next round of ads. 

Alternatively, you can try to amass the followers organically, by converting website visitors into Instagram followers or use other organic Instagram methods to gain your first rounds of followers. And then start using advertising. 

Facebook Ads Campaign Creation

Head back to the Ads Manager and click create. 

For the Campaign Objective, choose the option “Traffic” under consideration. Name your campaign and create an ad set from the same menu. 

In the next screen, make sure you’ve enabled Campaign Budget Optimization (or Advantage Campaign Budget) and have a campaign budget according to how much you want to spend on the ads daily. 

Real Instagram Follower Facebook Ads Campaign

Then let’s look at the necessary Ad Set settings. 

Modifying Ad Set settings

First, give it a name if you already didn’t. 

Make sure that you have the “website” selected in the Traffic-section. Modify starting and end dates accordingly. 

For A/B testing the campaign results, one tip is to create multiple ad sets with different starting and end dates so you can compare the results without forgetting to end campaigns. 

Next, the most important, selecting the lookalike audience we created earlier. 

Choose the lookalike audience in the field “Custom Audiences.”

Modify the location in the “audience”-section. Choose the locations where you want the ads to appear. Choose the same as you chose for the lookalike audience. 

There’s no need to modify demographic targeting options such as age, gender, or interests. 

The lookalike audience and the Facebook algorithm will do its best to connect with users most likely to click on the ad’s link. Narrowing the audience further might only impact your ad results for the worse. 

You can modify the languages if you only provide the ads and the content on your Instagram profile only with one language for better engagement. 

Instagram Profile Ad set

You should also be aware if your ad account has the opportunity to target Instagram Profile, which, in many cases, can produce better results than only using the website traffic conversion location.

Consider whether you have the “Instagram Profile” option under conversion location in the ad set level. If you don’t have it available currently, please proceed with the website conversion location and follow the guide as is.

Ad Set Placement

In the placements, make sure you have enabled the “manual placements” and that you have only chosen Instagram placement. 

Instagram Placements Facebook Ads

In our example, we will use only the Instagram Stories placement, but you can choose one of the other Instagram placements if you want. 

It’s best to test one placement at a time to see which one works best in your case. You can create, for example, ad sets for all the Instagram placements.  

Choose “Link Clicks” for delivery optimization instead of the other options. 

Now it’s time to create engaging ads themselves! 

Creation of Instagram-based ads

Click your ad set within the ad manager and click create and give your ad a name. 

Then make sure you have the correct Facebook page and Instagram account selected in the “Identify”-section.

Instagram Stories Ad for Growing Instagram Followers With Facebook Ads

Then take the URL of your Instagram profile and put it within the “Website URL”-section.  

Please note if you’re using the Instagram profile as the conversion location, your Instagram profile will be chosen automatically, and you won’t need to add the URL independently.

Choose either an image or a video for your ad. A short video for Instagram Stories will probably be better for converting users to follow your profile. 

For the call to action, you can leave it as “Learn More” unless you have a dedicated link you’re pushing on your Instagram profile in the bio-section. 

For example, if you’re selling an info product or using other lead magnets, you might want to use a call to action to reflect that. 

In the video ad, be quick, precise, and on-the-point. Tell the viewers why to follow you and the value and benefits they get from following you on Instagram. 

For example, if you had the info product on the bio link, you can spark the viewers’ interest to get that product and give another reason to follow you like updates for new products. 

If you use Instagram Stories as placement, you have 15 seconds to convert that viewer into a follower. 

If you use image ads, your image and the primary text have to do the same. 

If you’re using a short and precise video for Instagram Stories, you won’t need to add primary text, as the video will do the talking. Still, if you use image ads, you should make a short primary text that conveys your message and the call to action to follow. 

While this campaign aims to get followers, you should use the space for the Instagram profile link to benefit your website from your advertising efforts and make sure that it has installed the pixel. 

Then you can publish your ad and start optimizing for performance.

Tracking Performance Of Real Instagram Followers 

Let’s start with the metrics you will want to keep ahead of at all times. 

From your ad manager, always check how many clicks you’re getting and their respective cost (CPC) to measure the cost of advertising. 

As we can’t track this campaign’s true conversion, the increase in followers, we need to use Instagram Insights or Facebook Insights to measure our total reach and impressions of our ad efforts. 

Then keep tabs on the total number of followers you had before the campaign and compare it to the followers’ final count. 

Then take the cost of ads and divide it by the gained followers to achieve the metrics cost per follower (CPF). The CPF from the first campaign will be the benchmark for measuring other ad tests’ performance. 

Also, keep track of how many clicks you needed to gain one follower.

And again, as we can’t track followers count as conversions, you need to have these metrics always on hand because its easy to lose track and start optimizing ads for maximum clicks while doing this method, which wouldn’t be the goal. 

When testing, use new ads and new ad sets to make everything easier for yourself and not get confused with the individual ads’ data.  

Now let’s look at how you can improve the results and gain even more real Instagram followers through the method. 

And if you have a website linked in the bio-section, remember to check your Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics to see whether you’re getting traffic from the Instagram Ads

Improving Results & A/B tests

As we previously mentioned, as you get more data from the visitors of your Instagram profile, the more precise the lookalike audiences will be for maximizing the traffic to the profile. 

And by now, you know how to track the follower count changes that we use to improve results. 

To properly A/B test your ads, you need to run one ad at a time, as we can’t track the follower count precisely with multiple live ads. 

For example, if you’d have three ads running simultaneously, it would be impossible to measure which of the ads produced the most follows or if it did at all. 

And understand that you might get organic Instagram followers during your ad campaigns that might skew your data a bit. 

A tip for A/B testing within this campaign: 

  • Run one ad for five days 
  • Turn it off 
  • Create your new test ad 
  • Run the test for another five days
  • Measure the performance of both and see which one did better a.k.a brought more followers. 

Ad tests you can do within the same ad set, but if you’re testing different placements (say Instagram Stories Vs. Instagram Feed), you will need an additional ad set with the correct placement. But the same tips apply. 

And remember when testing, a lower CPC doesn’t always equate to a lower cost per follower. 

Do at least three tests before scaling ad spend towards the best ads. The goal is to discover the cost of followers that you’re happy about spending. 

Depending on your budgets and scale, you might get a lot of data coming in fast. If you gain a great uptick in follower count during your campaigns, you might want to optimize your custom audiences and lookalikes accordingly. 

But when using new lookalikes, remember to use the A/B test method to see whether the new audience truly performs better than the older ones.

It’s never guaranteed. 


Remember to always check for new updates for Facebook Ads, because while the method works, it’s a workaround to get real Instagram followers. 

Maybe in the future, we will get a campaign setting to advertise directly to gain Instagram followers and measure it as conversions and even combine the pixel code with it, but for now, this is how you would do it. 

While many services are selling real Instagram followers to some degree, you will never be sure whether these followers would be real or not. A real Instagram follower is not just human, but a truly interested person in your profile and what it offers. 

And for now, Facebook Ads are the only legit way to buy Instagram followers, and now you know how to do it.