Instagram Ad Formats: Basics and Recommendations

Instagram Ad Formats: Basics and Recommendations

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Instagram isn’t just a social media platform; it’s a totally different world with its own rules, climate, currency, and inhabitants. 

The Cambridge dictionary defines an Instagrammer as someone who regularly shares images, or other things such as video or text, on the social media service Instagram.

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The coolest part is that the world of Instagram is growing by leaps and bounds.

Instagram ad formats — number of active Instagram users

There are more than one billion Instagrammers in the world, and this number is still growing. 

According to Instagram’s internal data, more than 80% of Instagrammers follow a business.

If you’re itching to launch Instagram ads to get more followers and fulfill your business goals, you need to learn more about Instagram ad formats.

5 Instagram Ad Formats You Need to Know

Creating beautiful ads on Instagram is an art. The number of content combinations you can use for promotions is endless.

To achieve your goals and grow your Instagram community, you can combine photos, videos, text, and other ad elements in multiple combinations.

There are currently five ad formats on Instagram: Explore ads, image (photo) ads, video ads, Stories ads, and carousel ads. Let’s review them.

Explore Ads

If you’re an active Instagram user, you know there are two Instagram feeds.

The first is a traditional feed where users share their own content and view content shared by others. The second is an Explore feed that’s generated based on users’ personal preferences.

Instagram reports that:

  • 200 million Instagram users visit their Explore page every day
  • 50% of Instagram users search for new content in the Explore feed every month

Also called ads in Explore, Explore feed ads were introduced in 2019 as an ad placement for attracting audiences that include people who are searching for something new.

In fact, this is one of the most underestimated ad formats on Instagram.

Instagram ad formats — Explore ads

Keep in mind that Explore ads don’t show up in the Explore grid itself. Ads appear in the Explore feed after a person taps on a post in the Explore grid.

Here’s how to make ads in Explore:

  1. Launch Ads Manager.
  2. Choose Create.
  3. Select your marketing objective.
  4. Define your target audience.
  5. Go to the Placements section, choose Manual Placements, and find Instagram Explore in the list.
  6. Finish creating your ad campaign.

After your Explore ads are approved, you’ll receive a notification.

Image Ads

Also called photo ads, image ads are created based on static visuals.

Instagram ad formats — Image ads

Facebook recommends businesses do three things when creating image ads on Instagram.

First, keep a strong focus on the element that makes your business stand out from others. 

Second, make sure you have good lighting to make your photos appealing and bright. 

Third, frame your photos properly to complete the scene without losing anything important.

Video Ads

Video advertising is today’s brightest star in the online marketing universe. And Instagram is where it shines.

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Did you know that 88% of Instagram marketers consider video ads effective for their business?

That’s the primary reason why you should try the Instagram video ad format for your company.

Stories Ads

The Instagram Story ad format as we know it appeared in 2017. Back then, more than 150 million people watched Instagram Stories every day. 

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It took just two years for this number to reach over 500 million users every day. 

Want to know which ad format is recommended for driving action?

In the first place, you should test Stories ads!

Mobile users are the major target audience you’ll work with on Instagram. Thanks to their mobility, Stories ads will mesmerize your potential and current customers to not only take action but to follow your business and get addicted to your content.

Carousel Ads

The carousel ad is an all-purpose ad format that allows you to show much more than a traditional image or video ad does. Thanks to carousel ads, you can demonstrate up to 10 images or videos in a single post.

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Instagram carousels are a great way to showcase a few products or services simultaneously, highlight the features of one product or service, create a step-by-step tutorial, and do many other amazing things to boost your business.

And if you already know how to create carousel ads on Facebook, then you know how to do it on Instagram.

How to Benefit from Ad Formats on Instagram to the Max

Here are seven recommendations to achieve the best possible results using different forms of Instagram advertising.

1. Experiment, Experiment, Experiment

Testing is the only way to find the right ad format on Instagram. Start an A/B test to compare the performance of two or three formats and learn what people like to tap on most. 

This technique is also extremely helpful when you don’t know which ad format is recommended for building awareness, driving sales, or reaching any other business goal.

2. Define Your Goal

Choosing the right format for your Instagram ads depends on choosing the right marketing objective.

For instance, video ads are perfect for giving a sneak preview of your product or service, carousel ads are a good choice for stimulating people to buy more, and Stories ads work great for reaching multiple goals at once.

3. Plan in Advance

It takes different amounts of time to produce ads using different ad formats. 

For example, the Instagram Stories ad format allows you to become a storytelling master through discovering more and more mixtures of images, video, and text. 

You never know how much time you’ll need to create and launch a truly attractive ad. And this is only when it comes to one format. We bet you’ll be using at least two.

4. Take a Blueprint Course

Practice makes perfect. However, you should always remember the theory. Check yourself and learn more about Instagram advertising formats by taking one of Facebook’s free online courses.

Instagram ad formats — Facebook Blueprint course

Facebook Blueprint is useful for marketers of all levels.

5. Adapt Existing Facebook Ads for Instagram

You probably know that Facebook and Instagram ad formats are pretty much the same.

Chances are high that you’ve already used Facebook Ads Manager to launch full-scale ad campaigns on Facebook. So why not duplicate them and reach more people on Instagram?

6. Use Instagram Mobile Apps

Along with Ads Manager, you can take advantage of the Instagram mobile app to boost your posts. We also recommend checking out four extra mobile apps that will make your Instagram marketing more effective:

  • IGTV. Broadcast your content and cooperate with Instagram creators.
  • Layout. Create native advertising to find more customers.
  • Hyperlapse. Make stunning timelapse content.
  • Boomerang. Produce powerful ads immediately. More than 25% of all videos on Instagram are created with this app.

7. Leaf Through Instagram Ad Specifications

Make sure you know how to make your ads correctly. Learn all the Instagram ad format specs before using any of the formats. You can find design specifications for your sponsored posts on Instagram in this guide.

Make Instagram Video Ads with AI

Instagram is growing by leaps and bounds. In the future, we’ll definitely see new Instagram ad formats that will make your promotional campaigns even more diverse and effective.

In the meantime, thanks for being curious about Instagram ads.

We appreciate your curiosity and would like you to know that you can test the Softcube AI platform and create lots of high-quality video ads.

You can use these videos for any Instagram ad format. Don’t hesitate, and good luck with your business on Instagram!