Quick Tips to Up Your #Ads Game On Instagram

Jul 22, 2020

Instagram, one of our favorite lifestyle-based social platforms, is also a mobile-only advertising channel—which comes with unique challenges and opportunities for marketers. Users quickly scroll through endless amounts of content and if your brand’s ads aren’t high quality or look irrelevant to the platform, they’ll rack up invaluable user impressions that aren’t inspired to take action.

Whether you’re just getting started with Instagram advertising or a seasoned pro in Ads Manager, we’ve compiled a list of quick tips for how to design great ads that will up any brand’s Instagram game.


Every Pixel Counts

You wouldn’t stick a transit shelter ad on a billboard, and the same rings true when it comes to Instagram advertising. In-feed ads and Stories ads each require a unique approach to create an impactful Instagram campaign. The two placements can complement each other, but are totally different experiences. Instagram Stories provide a full screen, edge-to-edge viewing experience in only 15 seconds, and in-feed ads can tell a longer story or showcase your product offerings. It’s always a best practice to create your ads with a “social-first” mindset. Plan out which placements you’ll be using, and design your creative using aspect ratios that look best and take up the most screen space in each one.

Keep It Simple

Less is more. Keeping your ad design clean and simple prevents overloading the viewer and gives them time to understand what your key message is. Facebook also believes that too many elements leads to a poor viewing experience for the user. This has led Facebook to implement a rule that states an image must contain 20% text or less, or the ad’s reach will be reduced as a result. If you’re not sure, use their Image Text Check tool.

Make Your Call to Action (CTA) Clear

Ask yourself: What do you want your target audience to do once they see your ad? Whether your goal is to drive users to your website, download an app, or visit your page, ensuring your content inspires action is critical. Including a clear call to action messaging in your ad design or copy can motivate your audience to click through the CTA button on your ad.

Use Color

Color plays an important role in advertising. It can incite emotion and inspire action. Color can also impact the way a person perceives your brand, product, or ad, and increase brand recognition. When done tastefully, bold use of color can grab a viewer’s attention and stop them from scrolling during those key first moments of an impression.

Get to the Point

There’s a difference in the way your brand should tell a story, depending on where it’s being told. Traditionally, TV commercials build to the key takeaway in 30 seconds, but social media is no place for a TV commercial. Social video should be front-loaded with the most captivating information first  and hook the audience in under 10 seconds to be effective.

Increase Engagement by Using Polling Stickers

Make your Instagram Stories ad interactive and playful with polling stickers. These can be added directly to your creative via Facebook Ads Manager. Using stickers has proven to increase video views and drive lower cost-per-result, as they encourage your audience to spend more time with your ad and appear more native to Stories. Keep in mind when designing your creative that there is a safe zone left to place the sticker, to avoid covering text or having the sticker look like a last minute thought.

Prepare for Landing

Where a user lands on your website impacts what they do next. If you’re advertising a specific product, the click-through URL should bring the user to that product page for a friction-less experience, or a specific landing page that allows them to easily navigate to that product as part of a collection. Landing your audience to a general homepage from a product ad may lead to user frustration and increase the site bounce rate.

Know Before You Go

Understand which creative asset will outperform the rest before putting your valuable ad budget behind it. Using Dash Hudson’s predictive AI technology, Vision, Kendra Scott was able to use data-backed creative to engage its audience and drive ROI as a result. Read the case study here.

These simple quick tips and tricks can make the difference between underperforming Instagram ads and a winning strategy that kicks your brand awareness and online revenue up a notch.


Header image: @wwd


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Kate Orchard

Performance Marketing Strategist