Do you want your Instagram ads to drive more clicks and sales? Are you struggling to differentiate your offer?
In this article, you'll discover how to write Instagram ads that lead to conversions. You'll also find examples to inspire you to create more effective campaigns.
#1: Consider Adjusting Your Copywriting Formula for Instagram Ads
Some copywriting formulas are considered classics for a reason: They've been successfully converting clients for decades (if not longer). For example, the Problem-Agitate-Solve (PAS) formula seamlessly highlights the customer's concern, briefly amplifies the pain, and then hints at a solution.
In a short Instagram ad caption, it's not always possible or necessary to agitate the issue. Instead, touching on your target audience's struggles and then presenting a solution can prove just as effective.
This @cardsetter ad takes the classic PAS formula and adapts it for an Instagram ad. First, it points out the problem the audience is struggling with: “Want to grow your newsletter, blog, podcast, or video channel?” Then it pivots to the solution—”discover the strategies” and “get actionable insights”—before ending with a strong call to action (CTA).
Know When to Keep Your Ad Copy Short and Sweet
There's no magic number for how many characters or lines an Instagram ad caption should be. It depends on your audience. How well do they know your brand? Are they currently in the market for your product or service? Do they still have major objections to overcome?
It's often best to keep your Instagram ad copy short and sweet when:
- No introduction is needed because your prospect is already familiar with your brand and offer.
- You've created a highly targeted Instagram ads audience so everyone who sees the ad is from a similar demographic or at the same stage of the buyer's journey.
- Your audience is ready to convert and just needs a gentle nudge to take action.
In the @zapier ad below, the caption expresses a lot in a few short words. It touches on benefits (saving time), cost (free), and objections (“no code required”), effectively targeting bottom-of-the-funnel prospects.
#2: Make Your Offer Abundantly Clear as Early as Possible
Just like organic Instagram posts, ad captions can include up to 2,200 characters. Whether you use them all or keep it concise, it's a good idea to make your offer clear up front. If you present the offer in the first 100 or so characters of the copy, you can ensure that it's clear to your audience even if they don't click to read more.
In the @misfitsmarket ad below, the copy doesn't waste a single character:
- “Limited time offer!” expresses scarcity, urging prospects to buy before they lose their chance.
- “Get 35% off” makes the potential savings crystal clear.
- “Offer ends 5/31/21” conveys urgency, implying that the clock is ticking.
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#3: Echo Landing Page Language in Your Instagram Ad Copy
To create successful conversion campaigns on Instagram, it's important to craft an irresistible offer and then deliver on the landing page. When you set clear expectations and meet them right away, you can establish trust from the moment someone clicks on your ad.
Repurposing select landing page snippets in the ad copy is an efficient way to accomplish this goal. After all, reusing key phrases also reinforces the ad's messaging and confirms that the offer is exactly what prospects expect.
In the @freshly ad below, the copy incorporates several snippets from the landing page:
- “$100 off” reinforces the offer.
- “First 4 weeks” sets expectations for the offer timeline.
- “Chef-cooked meals delivered” emphasizes a major benefit.
#4: Align Your Call to Action With Instagram's CTA Buttons
No matter how convincing your ad copy might be, you can't expect your audience to take the next step without a clear plan of action. Whether you place it at the beginning, end, or both, conversion campaigns need CTAs that prospects can't resist.
The most effective CTAs start with action verbs and urge prospects to do something specific. For example, you can encourage your audience to “buy now” or “get started.” If you can add an extra incentive, you may get even better results.
In the @cardsetter ad shown earlier, the CTA urges prospects to subscribe. Then it finishes strong with an added incentive: The offer is completely free (and ideally will eventually convert paying customers).
When you write CTAs for your ad copy, remember to factor in Instagram's built-in CTAs, which appear between the creative and copy. By repeating the same CTA in the ad and copy, you emphasize the message and have a better chance to convert the audience. The @cardsetter includes a Subscribe CTA, which echoes the ad's sentiment exactly.
#5: Overcome Common Objections
When you write Instagram sales ads, you need to know the top reasons your target audience might decline the offer. Then you have to do everything in your power to overcome these objections.
For example, if your customer base is comprised of busy professionals, a typical objection might be, “I don't have time for this.” To respond to this concern, your ad might focus on the simplicity of the product or the ease of setting up the service.
Advertising a free offer takes this concept to the next level. Not only does it help prospects overcome pricing-related objections but it's also enticing enough to attract users who aren't overly concerned about cost. Who doesn't want something for free?
The @zapier ad shown earlier overcomes two major objections in a few short lines. First, it encourages prospects to “Start automating your work for free” to clarify that users can use the platform at no cost. (Ideally, users with the free version would eventually upgrade to a paid plan.)
Then it addresses the complexity concern that some potential customers might have. By stating “no code required,” it assures users that they don't need any high-level knowledge to begin using the platform.
#6: Stop the Scroll With Elements of Urgency
Between its engaging features and constantly evolving algorithm, Instagram is designed to keep users scrolling. Second only to Facebook in terms of daily usage, Instagram draws in the average user for an impressive 27 minutes per day.
But for your Instagram ads to drive sales, they have to get users to stop scrolling. So how can you capture attention and entice people to click through immediately?
Creating a sense of urgency can be incredibly effective, as this tactic disrupts thought patterns and causes people to take action without overthinking.
Instagram ads can convey urgency in countless ways:
- Use language like “limited time” or “ends soon” to highlight the temporary nature of the offer.
- Give users a deadline by stating the end date for the sale or offer.
- Imply scarcity by indicating that the product or service is limited in quantity.
This @wildalaskancompany ad wastes no time, creating a sense of urgency in the very first line of copy. In addition to stating “Limited Time” at the beginning of the caption, the brand uses siren emojis to capture attention and highlight the need to act quickly.
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#7: Reinforce Your Instagram Ad Copy With Video Captions
Your Instagram ad caption could feature the most compelling copy of all time, but if your ad creative is particularly eye-catching, Instagram users may never make it to the caption.
To generate maximum sales, make your creative do double duty. In addition to making your image or video visually appealing, ensure that it reiterates the ad caption.
As the @wildalaskancompany ad above shows, video captions offer a great opportunity to reinforce the ad's messaging. The video caption “Much better than farm-raised salmon from the store” echoes the ad copy “Always Wild Never Farmed.”
Does your Instagram ad include a graphic or a photo instead of a video? Add a text overlay to the creative to drive your message home.
#8: Add Emojis to Long-Form Copy for Awareness Ads
Although short copy works well for aware, high-intent audiences, it's less effective on prospects who are hearing about your brand for the first time. In the latter case, your Instagram ads typically need more copy to introduce the brand, outline benefits, and overcome objections. But how can you prevent longer Instagram ads from looking like unreadable text blocks?
Emojis can be smart additions to Instagram captions, as they're more than just fun icons. In fact, emojis can significantly increase conversion and click-through rates.
The @bibrainz ad below uses emojis to drive conversions in several strategic ways. Emojis:
- Direct attention to the ad's headline (“Replay now available!”).
- Make the benefits of the offer look like items to check off your to-do list.
- Ensure the CTA stands out at the end.
#9: Use Numbers to Establish Immediate Value
Like emojis, numbers do a great job of breaking up alternating blocks of text and images, creating a pattern disruption that's hard to ignore. Unlike emojis, however, numbers have an added benefit. They can express value in an instantly understandable way.
For example, prospects need no time to process or translate ad copy like “75% off.” They know right away it's a generous offer and can react accordingly.
The earlier @misfitsmarket ad is peppered with eye-catching numbers. “Get 35% off” clearly conveys the savings and draws in prospects looking for a great deal. The promo code reinforces the discount and the ad's landing page seals the deal with additional savings (“up to 40% off grocery store prices”).
#10: Test Instagram Ad Copy That Highlights Benefits vs. Pain Points
Whether you're advertising a product or a service, you might be tempted to include a list of features in your Instagram ad caption. Although features can be strong selling points, they tend to be less effective than benefits in ad copy.
What's the difference? Essentially, features are things your product or service has or can do, while benefits are the positive outcomes of using the features. For example, your mobile app might have an automation feature that has the benefit of saving time.
By focusing on the benefits, you help your audience visualize the result. When they think about where they would be or how they would feel if your offer could solve their problems, they may be more eager to click, subscribe, or purchase.
In the @bibrainz ad shown earlier, the bullet points zero in on the benefits. Prospects can get access to a “proven and repeatable delivery framework” and “say good-bye to long requirements gathering workshops.”
Although focusing on benefits can be incredibly effective for driving conversions, the opposite can make just as much of an impact. By mentioning pain points, your ad has a unique opportunity to connect with prospects about their challenges. After showing them that your brand gets it, your ad can offer a convenient solution.
When you incorporate pain points into your ad copy, make sure you're using language that your customers would use. To get it right, take a look at the phrases or keywords your customers often repeat in reviews or social media comments.
The earlier @freshly ad gets right to the heart of the target audience's pain points. By starting the ad with, “Struggling to eat right?”, the brand forges an instant connection with prospects who are facing that exact challenge. The ad copy then proposes a simple solution that speaks directly to the target audience.
#11: Let Your Customers Speak for You
When you want to encourage customers to buy, nothing is quite as effective as a testimonial. Using testimonials in your marketing can drive more revenue and increase your return on investment (ROI).
So why not let your customers do the talking for your brand? This @hellofresh ad places a short customer testimonial front and center, making it the focus of the ad copy. The quote works particularly well because the joke is likely to resonate with the target audience and also features strategically placed emojis to break up the copy.
Influencers can certainly lend credibility to your brand. But when you really want to establish your brand as an authority, bringing big-name clients into the conversation can be even more effective. If you've worked with companies or industry figures that are household names for your prospects, mentioning them can inspire both trust and action.
This @savewithvendr ad establishes authority in two key ways. First, “we know” sets the brand apart as an expert. Then the list of clients—including big names like the Washington Post and HubSpot—serves as proof of what the brand has accomplished and invites prospects to get access to the same tactics.
User-generated content (UGC) from your brand's biggest fans can say just as much as a testimonial, effectively expressing support via photo or video. To incorporate UGC into your Instagram ads, get permission from the creator and show the happy customer using your product or service. Better yet, share UGC from an influencer that your target audience knows well to leverage social proof.
Because the creative is the focus, you can keep the copy to a minimum. This @iliabeauty copy includes an influencer tag and a soft CTA, saving the stronger CTA for the ad itself.
Whether you use these tactics alone or in combination, they can make your Instagram ads more effective, leading to more sales and a better return. If you're not sure which tactic would work best with your audience, testing is always the right answer. Set up an A/B test when creating your next Instagram ad campaign and experiment with various copy versions until you find a winning combination.
Get More Advice on Instagram Ads
- Optimize your Instagram ads funnel for different stages of the customer journey.
- Run Instagram ads on a small budget.
- Target an influencer's following with a shared custom audience for Instagram ads.
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