Instagram can be one of the most effective marketing channels for fitness businesses. Think about it. Instagram is a highly visual platform so you can showcase your gym and fitness routines. Instagram has over 2.35 billion active users monthly, too. Of that figure, you’re bound to find some fitness enthusiasts.

So, you already have the platform. All you need is a good marketing plan to reach more potential gym members for your fitness business. Part of that marketing plan should include an Instagram ads strategy.

In this article, you’ll learn ten proven Instagram ads best practices that will skyrocket your gym memberships.

What Are Instagram Ads?

Instagram ads are paid adverts you can use to target specific users within the social media platform. 

Instagram ads appear on viewers’ newsfeeds and look similar to normal, organic content but with slight differences. They feature the ‘Sponsored’ label and offer extra features, including call-to-action buttons, product tags, and website links. 

Meta also provides advanced targeting options that allow you to advertise to potential customers by location, age, interests, and other relevant demographics. This makes it even easier to zero in on your target audience.

Instagram Ads Best Practices for Targeting Potential Gym Members

So, how do you use Instagram ads to target potential gym members? Here are 10 Instagram ads best practices you should follow:

1. Use High-Quality Visuals

If you want your Instagram ads to succeed, invest in high-quality visuals. On average, people scrolling through Instagram have an attention span of three to ten seconds, according to a study conducted by If you want them to view your ads, you need great visuals to capture and hold their attention.  

When using visuals, follow these tips, too:

  • Build brand identity by inserting your logo, tag lines, or other identifiers linked to your brand.
  • Share visuals of a service or product in action to demonstrate your offerings. Include eye-catching images of customers exercising, your equipment, and trainers at work.
  • Create consistency by using uniform colors and fonts across all your ads.

Sharing valuable and relevant visuals is a great way to boost Instagram followers, increase engagement, and attract new gym members. 

2. Keep Copy Simple

Instagram is a visual social platform. But that doesn’t mean you no longer need to include ad copy. Aim for a maximum of 20% text

But make your copy simple. If image ads are too complex or have too much text, your audience will likely keep scrolling. You don’t want that. You can use an AI content generator like Writer to help you in crafting simple but punchy text. You just need to insert a prompt.

Use emojis to break up the text and include numbers that express a benefit, too (for example, “50% off”).

3. Use a Clear Call-to-Action

A good Instagram ad campaign must have a clear call-to-action (CTA) that aligns with your marketing goals. Some CTAs relevant to the fitness industry include:

  • Download Training Program
  • Call Now
  • Sign Up
  • Contact Us

Without a compelling CTA, your marketing efforts won’t have much impact or achieve the desired results. 

4. Leverage Different Ad Formats

Instagram provides several ad formats, each with its own pros and cons. Here are some of them and how you can use them;

  • Photo ads: Photo or single-image ads let you use a single image to convey your key message. For example, you can use this ad format to promote your gym facility with before and after photos of gym members who reach their target weight or muscle tone.
  • Reels ads: These 60-second videos are the most engaging type of content. You can use them to highlight your gym’s unique products and services, give viewers a virtual tour, and tell your brand story. The first three seconds of Instagram Reels are crucial, so make sure your videos make a good first impression. 
  • Carousel ads: These combine multiple images and video ads within one advert. They’re highly appealing and interactive, as users view them by swiping across the different images/videos. 
  • Stories ads: Instagram Stories ads are vertical video and photo ads that appear on viewers’ Stories – even if they do not follow your business page. 

Experiment with different ad formats. Track their performance over time to determine which one works best for your brand. We’ll talk more about this later.

5. Utilise User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is among the best-performing types of content online. UGC serves as social proof, which is essential in winning customer trust and can be repurposed for Instagram ads.  

So, for your UGC campaign, you can hold a competition and offer rewards. For example, gym owners can offer free memberships or training sessions at their gym to people who take the best pictures of their gym. These campaigns do not have to be extravagant but should appeal to your target audience.    

Specify the contest’s duration, prizes, and other important disclaimers. Remember to use a branded hashtag.

6. Target the Right Audience

One of the best things about Instagram ads is you can target specific audiences within the platform. This makes it easier for you to ensure your ads are shown to people who are most likely to become members of your gym.

Use Instagram’s audience targeting options to select the relevant age, gender, location, and interests for your campaigns. Use your ideal customer persona here.

For example, if your ideal customers are between the ages of 17 to 35, live in Florida, and are interested in fitness, enter that data into the IG targeting options. 

Not only does this boost conversions, but it also saves you from wasting ad budget on irrelevant audiences.

7. Use Relevant Hashtags

Hashtags expand the reach of your ads. This makes it easier for more people to interact with your content and become aware of your gym.

Use relevant hashtags that will expose your ads to the right audience. For example, you could use hashtags like the ones below.

  • #fitness
  • #fitnessjourney
  • #gymmotivation

You can find relevant hashtags from the Explore page on Instagram. Just enter the main keyword, e.g., “fitness,” search for it, and go to the “Tags” section. You’ll see all the top-performing hashtags containing that keyword.

You can also search for fitness hashtags on Google.

That said, don’t add too many hashtags to your ads. This may be considered a spam tactic that could hurt your ad’s performance. Ideally, you should use three to five hashtags per ad, according to Hootsuite’s recommendations. 

8. A/B Test and Optimize Ads

The best way to optimize the ROI of your Instagram ads is through A/B testing. After launching a campaign, split test different ad elements to see the version yielding the best results.

For example, you can test different ad formats, visuals, text, CTAs, and even audiences. Track the results over time, then tweak your ads for the best results.

However, it’s not advisable to test too many variables at once. This can make it hard for you to determine what variables are responsible for the changes in conversion rates. Instead, test one to two variables at a time.

9. Optimize Landing Page for Mobile

Instagram ads attract new leads but cannot provide all the details on your promotion. This is why you need to create a landing page for your ad. 

Visitors who click on your advert or link are directed to this landing page on your gym website. The page is specifically designed to promote your services and products to the audience coming from the ad. 

Because many people view their IG accounts via mobile devices, these pages must be mobile-friendly. 

Here are the other strategies to optimize your landing page for mobile:

  • Create fast-loading pages: Cut unnecessary content, resize and compress images
  • Avoid unnecessary navigation links
  • Use a clear and compelling CTA, and simple copy

Also, make sure the landing page is consistent with the ad. If the Instagram ad contains an offer, provide the same offer on the landing page. It’s also best to maintain a consistent branding style from the ad to your landing page.

10. Monitor Ad Performance

Finally, monitor your ad performance to determine whether your Instagram advertising campaign is working. 

Here are some metrics you want to keep an eye on using Instagram Insights. 

  • Impressions: This basic metric measures the total number of times your advert is displayed on viewers’ screens, regardless of whether they saw it. 
  • Reach: This metric measures the number of unique people who have seen your advert, even if they did not engage with it. 
  • Engagements: Instagram ad engagement rates are the number of comments, likes, and saves your ad received relative to your entire follower count. 
  • CTR: Click-through rate shows how many people click the CTA on your ads.   

You may also want to pay attention to specific metrics over others based on your goals. For example, if your objective is to boost awareness about your gym, impressions and reach will likely be more important than CTR. 

Wrapping Up

Instagram is a great platform to build awareness and boost your gym memberships. This article covered ten Instagram ads best practices to help you achieve these marketing and business goals.

Use quality visuals, keep your ads simple, and leverage different ad formats. Also, target the correct audience and use hashtags. You also want to create a mobile-optimized landing page and then monitor and optimize your ads.

Follow these tips, and you’ll reap the best results.


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