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social media how toWant to advertise on Instagram?

Ready to take your Instagram ads to the next level?

Instagram has quietly rolled out some great features to help advertisers grab attention and drive traffic.

In this article you’ll discover four features you can use to create Instagram ads that stand out.

instagram ads features

Discover four features you can use to make your Instagram ads stand out.

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#1: Drive Traffic to Your Website

Until recently, Instagram ads only supported the objectives of mobile app installs, video views, and reach/engagement. Now you can choose from two additional ad objectives: Clicks to Website and Website Conversions.

This is the first time businesses have been able to send users to their site from individual posts, rather than just through their sole profile link. This could be a game-changer in making Instagram a stronger sales tool.

instagram ad example

New Instagram ad objectives allow you to send users from Instagram to your website.

You can use both of these objectives in photo, video, and carousel ads, so you’ll be able to use every type of ad format for both clicks and conversions.

Viewers will see a sponsored ad with an image, a description, and a clickable call-to-action button that will take them to your site. Call-to-action buttons include the options you’re already familiar with from Facebook, including Book Now, Contact Us, Shop Now, and Learn More.

To create these ads, choose either Send People to Your Website or Increase Conversions on Your Website for the objective.

instagram ad objective

Choose an objective for your ad.

Next, you can add a pixel to your campaign. If you choose Increase Conversions on Your Website for the objective, you’ll be asked to choose what type of conversion to optimize for.

instagram ad choose conversion

The Ads Manager prompts you to choose a conversion to optimize for and a pixel to track it.

Now continue to create the ad as usual, and make sure that you select the appropriate call to action. The call to action is the only clickable part of the ad, so it needs to be appealing and match your offer.

instagram ad call to action

The call to action is the only link users can click, so it has added importance.

#2: Stand Out With Landscape Images

Previously, the images and videos you shared on Instagram had to be cropped into a square format. While that option is still available, you can now use landscape and portrait formats as well.

These formats allow you to make your images taller or wider than the square format allows. This gives you more cropping options to ensure your images show everything you want in them. Plus, the unusual formats help your posts stand out in Instagram’s feed.

When creating an Instagram ad, you choose the format of your image in the creative section. Once you upload or select your image, you’ll see an option to crop it.

instagram ad crop icon

Click on the circular gray button to crop your images.

When you click the gray button and select Instagram, the cropping window gives you two options for cropping your image. Click Original to crop it based on the image’s original format (landscape or portrait), or click Square to crop it as a square.

instagram ad cropping options

Click one of the cropping options at the bottom of the screen.

In the image below, you can see how different cropping options affect what users see in the feed.

instagram ad format comparison

This image demonstrates how different a cropped image can look.

Keep in mind that carousel ads are currently only available in square formats.

#3: Tell a Story With Carousel Ads

To create image carousel ads for Instagram, you need to connect your Instagram account to Facebook. This is easy to do if you haven’t done it already.

Facebook carousel ads are well-known and frequently used, and they’re also available for Instagram ads. Businesses typically use Facebook carousel ads to feature multiple products or benefits in one ad, in an effort to increase sales. However, one of the best uses for Instagram’s carousel ads is storytelling.

Although Instagram can be used as a selling platform, businesses use it more often for engagement, building brand rapport, and increasing followers. Telling a story or narrative through multiple images can help you accomplish all of these goals.

instagram carousel ad example

Tell a story with multiple images in an Instagram carousel ad.

You can create a carousel ad in the creative section of the ad setup process. As soon as you get to the creative page, you’re asked how you want your ad to look. You can choose a single image, a video, or multiple images in one ad. For carousel ads, choose the Multiple images in one ad option.

instagram create carousel ad

Choose Multiple Images in One Ad to create an image carousel ad.

Next, you need to enable Instagram ads carousel placement. When you hover over the ad preview, you might see a message that Instagram ads placement is disabled. Just click the Add button on the Instagram tab to enable it.

instagram ads placement

You need to enable Instagram ads placement before you can create an Instagram ad.

Next, on the left, scroll down to the section labeled Images and Links. This is where you can upload images and set headlines and descriptions. Make sure you click the Crop Image button for each image so it will be cropped automatically to fit Instagram’s dimensions. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll just get an error message when previewing your Instagram ad placement.

instagram ads crop images

Crop all of your images so they’ll fit the required Instagram ad dimensions.

Once you’ve created your ad, preview it and make sure it looks the way you want before you submit it. Instagram is, after all, a highly visual platform.

#4: Pique Interest With Video Ads

While Instagram ads started only with sponsored images, you can now use sponsored videos. Instagram video ads are most successful when you use no more than one filter throughout the video and capture viewers’ interest in the first few seconds. If you don’t, users will keep scrolling in the news feed.

Instagram ads can be up to 60 seconds in length. Other recommended video specs include:

  • .MOV or .MP4 format
  • A minimum resolution of 720
  • A widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9

To create an Instagram video ad, you can choose from a variety of objectives. To keep it simple, let’s look at the Video Views objective. When you choose a video for the visual portion of your ad, you’ll be asked to upload a video, browse your library, or upload several images to create a video slideshow (this is a newly released feature).

instagram image slideshow

You can create image slideshows to run as video ads on both Facebook and Instagram.

Once you’ve chosen your video, select the image you want to show when the video isn’t playing (before the video starts and after it ends). You can also upload an SRT file to create video captions.

instagram video ad thumbnail

Choose a thumbnail and add captions to your video.

The dimensions of the video you upload are important. If your video doesn’t fit Instagram’s dimensions, the Ads Manager will instruct you to change it.

instagram video ad dimensions

The Ads Manager will let you know if your video doesn’t meet the dimensions necessary to run on Instagram.

Make sure to preview the video before you run the ad, and update the text if you need to.

Final Thoughts

Instagram ads, which had their massive rollout late last year, have been hugely popular with businesses and marketers. Instagram has added new features since its release, but unlike Facebook ads, some of these features have been rolled out quietly.

These four Instagram ad features won’t apply to every campaign, but they can help you advance relevant campaigns and expand the types of ads you can run.

What do you think? Have you used any of these features on Instagram ads? Which will you try next? Share your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge in the comments below.

features for ads on instagram

Tips on four Instagram features you can use to make your ads stand out.

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  • Dan Gejay

    Since I’ve been running Instagram ads I’ve been using Clicks to Website and tracking for both email signup conversions and checkout conversions, but they only counted them if the user clicked directly through the CTA button on the ad itself. However, typical user behavior on the platform seems to be that if the user likes the content, they’ll click through to our profile feed first to see what we’re all about, and then they click through to our website using our bio link. If that user signs up for my email list or completes a checkout, I don’t think those conversions are being recorded as coming from that ad – or am I wrong about this? Do these new changes make it easier to track these conversions that are originating from a user seeing my ad and clicking through to my Instagram profile? Rather than directly through the ad’s CTA button? Thanks for the info.

  • Juanita Dailey

    Good informative article. I haven’t used this but I will check it out. I have a love hate relationship with Facebook and I really like Instagram. I’m hoping it doesn’t turn it into another platform that I don’t like. I am really enjoying the engagement on my posts on Instagram unlike FB who limits the amount of views on your post and as a result reduces that engagement.

  • Good informative article. I haven’t used this but I will check it out. I have a love hate relationship with Facebook and I really like Instagram. I’m hoping it doesn’t turn it into another platform that I don’t like. I am really enjoying the engagement on my posts on Instagram unlike FB who limits the amount of views on your post and as a result reduces that engagement.

  • Ana

    I believe that if you use a tracking pixel, you’ll be able to track conversions just as you would with Facebook Ads. I do think that this will help increase conversions, because the button will be right there in front of users on a post, making it easier for them (instead of having to go to your feed, find the link, and then find the product on your site once there).

  • Ana

    Juanita, Instagram just announced an algorithm a week or so ago that they will be prioritizing the order of content in the Instagram feed– what’s deemed more relevant for a user, or what they’re more interested in, will be at the top of their feed. As of now, they’re not actually cutting content from a feed, like Facebook does, but this may change the game for businesses on Instagram. Good content will perform better, and weaker content may sink.

  • Great
    article Ana. I didn’t know I can do this with my instagram ads until I found
    your article. I’ll check it out later and follow your guide. I hope this can
    help my website. Thanks again!