Gram, Insta, Instagram … Whatever you call this social network, one thing is absolutely invariable – small squares have a huge impact. They actually rule the world, they allow you to control the opinion and even the political views of people. It is quite possible that historians and marketing educators will consider this effect. But now one thing is clear: Instagram is an effective tool for promoting a business. It is not difficult to use it. But how?
If you have already tried to launch advertising on Instagram, created a public page to promote your own business or promote an affiliate program, but nothing worked – this article was written for you. This guide is suitable for everyone who plans to promote through social networks, regardless of their activity (online sales, affiliate marketing on IG or local business). How to run Instagram ads? Why use video ads, how to achieve high conversions? Let’s talk about this.
Despite the name “Instagram Video Ads”, this article is a one-stop guide in which I will touch upon free promotion methods through publications in the Feed or Stories.
Table of contents
- 1 Why you should try video ads on Instagram
- 2 How to use Instagram video ads to promote your business
- 3 How to relise paid ads
- 4 How to create video creatives for Instagram
- 5 Programs and services for creating video advertising
- 6 Finally…
Why you should try video ads on Instagram
I have already written in more detail about the reasons for promoting a business through Instagram. In short, an emphasis on visual content, an audience of almost one and a half billion, or 20% of the world’s population. About 88% – users between the ages of 18 and 45 – are the most active audience in the eCommerce space.
People with pictures and videos interact more readily than with text. They are better at perceiving multimedia ads. And 90% of all network users themselves say that they have searched for services or goods through Insta at least once (about 60% do this all the time), subscribed to at least one commercial account.
For now, I want to focus on the reasons for using video ads. This applies to both free posts with advertising content in your profile, and paid advertising via Facebook Ads Manager (this is not a typo, who do not like it, it is more convenient to place ads on Instagram through the Facebook advertising account). Advantages:
- movement, changing pictures attract more attention compared to static images;
- video allows you to use vision and hearing, a short video allows you to convey more information with one touch;
- on average, video ads receive 38% more attention than static creatives.
- Facebook recognizes the impact of video content on the audience, so there are regular innovations in this direction. This is how Instagram TV (IGTV) appeared a few years ago;
- some polls say that from 31 to 42% of users placed an order immediately after watching an ad. Although the average conversion rate for video ads on IG is slightly less than 2%, such statistics prove that proper targeting on IG and goal setting, as well as a little creativity, give impressive results.
The last argument is that you don’t have to pay for ads on Instagram. You can create ad content and publish it for free on your subscriber page, getting the highest conversion among an already interested audience. And run paid ads to increase reach, attract followers, or generate additional traffic to the site.
How to use Instagram video ads to promote your business
Instagram has turned into a global marketplace with which you can quickly “grow” your business and, with minimal investment, increase your reach by several orders of magnitude. This applies to global brands and small eCommerce firms, local companies: cafes, restaurants, small shops. But on the web, you can find a lot of negative reviews about Instagram marketing. Why is that?
Like any tool, video ads require proper use. When promoting, you need to consider: format (video in feed, story, carousel), goals. What matters is the quality of the content, its length, the use of Instagram tools, and adherence to the platform’s recommendations.
IG video ad formats, how to use them?
Insta offers several formats for communicating with the audience. It is possible to use video everywhere instead of static images. At the same time, the tools are available both for natural attraction through free publications on your page or public, and through the display of paid ads. How do I use the tools?
Video ads in the feed
Feed promotion is a natural way to reach your audience. Paid advertising looks organic in the feed and allows you to attract additional target audience. Natural posts allow you to quickly tell subscribers about a new service or promotion.
The peculiarity of in-feed advertising is that almost all users view it, but not many interact with the content. Therefore, this method is suitable for increasing awareness, informing the audience about new products, services, promotions. Not the best format for generating leads.
How do I use feed ads?
Videos should be natural and fit into the Instagram feed. This means that it is unacceptable to be too selling. Advertising that imposes a purchase is not beneficial, which means the ER (Engagement Rate) will be low. The content should attract users, be relevant. It can be interesting, funny, or useful. You may have noticed that such ads are used by major brands..
Stories is a feature that Instagram developers copied from SnapChat, and it was this tool that caused the social network to grow in popularity, taking it to the second place in terms of the number of registered users.
Instagram Stories are short videos or animations up to 15 seconds long (now the limitation has been removed, you can upload videos up to an hour), to which you can add hashtags, emojis. Feature – videos disappear 24 hours after publication.
The limited time factor plays into the hands. Users browse Stories more actively, knowing that they will soon be deleted forever. Therefore, even relatively low-quality content gets more engagement compared to regular posts. Advertising through Stories gets a higher conversion, with paid promotion, a lower rate per click (CPC). According to statistics, more than 500 million users, which is half of the entire Instagram audience, view Stories every day.
Stories are suitable for both increasing reach and lead generation. An effective tool for interacting with target audiences.
How do I use Stories?
Due to their limited life, Stories are suitable for advertising promotions and offers that are limited in time. They work much better than the usual “counters” on Landing Pages. In Stories, business account owners can add a Call to Action button with a link to the site, which is activated by swiping up.
Stories can be used in tandem with feed ads. This will increase your influence, and you will be able to achieve a high Reach + Conversion rate. Built-in Instagram tools allow you to apply effects, filters, add text. Use every opportunity to inspire. But don’t overdo it. Use every second to engage your audience, sell lifestyle, emotions, but not the product itself.
The audience loves Stories for their emotions. It can be an experience, laughter, inspiration.
Full Screen Advertising “Facebook Instant Experience”
Instagram Business and Facebook Ads allow you to run mobile-optimized video ads. The ad opens in full screen mode or by clicking on the thumbnail.
It is a paid tool, but it provides a high level of engagement with the content. Advertising can act as an adapted Landing Page with the ability to post additional information or even create a product catalog without going to the site. It may also contain a link to quickly go to the advertiser’s portal.
How to use?
Full-screen advertising is suitable for different categories of entrepreneurs: affiliate marketers promoting affiliate products, entrepreneurs who sell through social networks, local businesses.
Instant Experience allows you to place all the information in a creative and do without going to a third-party site, which shortens the path to customer acquisition. And it is worth using these opportunities to the maximum.
Facebook Instant Experience delivers high conversions in tandem with feed ads. When a user clicks on an ad in the feed, a full-screen ad is launched, where you can display a selection, slideshow, or a full-fledged landing page with a Call to Action (CTA) button. In eCommerce, you can create a storefront or catalog and allow a visitor to order a product or take part in a promotion immediately on a social network without going to the site.
For better engagement, use full-screen images, add CTA buttons. Vertical video works better as users are reluctant to flip their smartphone over.
Just like on Facebook, on Instagram, when you launch an ad in one ad, you can place not one, but several creatives at once by creating a “Carousel”. The carousel format is available for both regular feed posts and paid advertising. You can place up to 10 frames in one publication: static pictures or video. The main advantage of such ads is that they retain attention.
If, when flipping through the feed, it takes no more than 1 second to view one post on average, or at least two seconds, then the Carousel makes the user stop. This means more attention and motivation to see it through to the end. That is why publications in the Carousel format, whether they are simple posts or paid ads, get the most engagement.
How to use?
The advantage of Carousels is that they contain more information without overloading the video with text and, importantly, without increasing the budget. The peculiarity of advertising carousels is that if a user has ignored a paid ad, the next time the system will show him the ad again, but from the second frame.
The main disadvantage is that users sometimes save Carousels for later, but never view.
There are different carousel promotion strategies:
- Increased engagement. We withstand the intrigue, provide information in portions. The first frame arouses interest, the second opens the curtain, the third reveals the cards;
- We give out as much information as possible. Considering that short clips work better, up to 1 minute, a large volume can be divided into several portions. A similar strategy is suitable for publishing reports from various events, educational videos, news blogs. Allows you to retain attention with a large amount of information;
- Second chance. Carousel is an alternative to A / B tests. We post several advertising videos aimed at different audiences. If you don’t like the first format, the user will see the second frame with a different approach, which is likely to be of interest;
- Online showcase. In the carousel, you can place several videos with an overview of different products.
Although the platform allows you to add up to 10 videos, you shouldn’t add that much content to one ad. Unlike pictures, no one will watch a lot of videos, unless you shoot an entire mini-series. Add no more than three or four videos.
If you submit information in portions, each video must be completed. Think like this: one video is one complete thought. This way you will get the best response and there will be no understatement.
Instagram TV (IGTV)
Since 2018, IG has a section for publishing long videos: up to 10 minutes for regular users and up to 60 minutes for business accounts that have gathered a certain audience (from 10 thousand subscribers). IGTV is a cross between YouTube and Snapchat Discover. Although Instagram Television is inferior in terms of audience, this format has many prospects, so I can’t help but mention it.
How to use?
Advertising on IGTV is a rather specific tool and the methods here directly depend on the audience. The format is suitable for different categories of entrepreneurs, from big brands to affiliate marketers. But long videos require a lot more effort. The content must be of high quality. Therefore, it is worth using only if there is an opportunity and budget.
When promoting through Instagram TV, the following approaches work:
- documentary filming about your business, brand – stories from behind the scenes work great: from the restaurant kitchen, videos with the acceptance of goods at the warehouse, life hacks and instructions, for example, how to choose a hotel or plan a trip (for travel companies);
- episodic ads – create a promotional mini-series and viewers will follow you. A great way to increase engagement and loyalty of your target audience;
- entertaining videos: interesting facts, funny videos, travel – gather an audience and promote your business or affiliate products.
After adopting a new development strategy, Instagram users were able to upload videos up to 60 minutes long. And the format of short videos actually began to be lost. With Reels, short videos are back – this feature was added by the developers in response to the growing popularity of Tik-Tok.
What are Reels? These are short full-screen videos (9:16 ratio). The new section is primarily created for professional content makers. But it is available to all users. The trick is that the Reels video will be displayed not only in the feed, but also in a separate section “Recommendations” – a similar mechanism, like that of Tik-Tok. This means that the content will be seen not only by subscribers, but also by other potentially interested users.
How to use?
A separate Reels section is not yet available in all countries, for example, in Russia it appeared only in the summer of 2021 and not all devices received the update. Also, the function is not yet available in the browser desktop version. Therefore, now we are guided by the fact that for the most part publications in the Riels format will be available only in the feed. But I’m sure the situation will change completely in the coming months.
Reels are short videos, every second counts. The format is gaining popularity, but there is still minimal competition here. In order to quickly promote this direction and get ahead of its main competitor, Tik-Tok, just as it once did with SnapChat, IG developers are offering privileged conditions. This is a low cost of advertising, active promotion of new authors and content through “Recommendations”.
There are two approaches to promoting with Reels: free via content publishing and paid advertising. In any case, it is important to pay attention to the quality of the video content. The format offers several interesting tools:
- Remixes (analogue of Duets in Tik-Tok) – promotion at the expense of someone else’s glory. We take a viral video and add our own. On Tik-Tok, such videos sometimes get as many views as the original;
- Another way to use Remixes is to launch a challenge, create viral content that other users will actively promote, creating new duets. Result – the brand is popularized, awareness and audience engagement increase;
- Use unusual sounds and leave them open for download – other users will be able to add them to their videos (the link to the original track remains), promoting your brand.
Thanks to being featured in recommendations, Reels is an effective marketing tool that you can use for free. Interesting videos, even with an advertising orientation, will be actively distributed. Why not make your own promotional mini-series that gets millions of views and announces you to the whole world?
More information on using Reels in the official instructions.
Video about what formats can be used for video advertising in Instagram
How to relise paid ads
If you want to increase traffic, attract more followers, the easiest way is to pay promotion of existing posts on Instagram. Advantage – no need to create a new creative. You can start paid promotion of existing publications in three clicks:
- select a publication;
- click the “Promote” button;
- set the budget, audience settings;
- after viewing the layout, click the “Create an advertising publication” button.
After checking the publication by the moderators, Instagram will launch an advertising campaign and send a notification. Detailed instructions for promoting publications on Instagram are here. A similar algorithm for paid promotion Stories.
While it is possible to launch ads from an Instagram business account, the options will be severely limited. Therefore, we immediately create a Facebook account and go to the Facebook Ads account.
Registration is free, like all advertising tools. You will only pay directly for ad impressions. You can create an advertising account in two clicks from your Facebook profile.
To launch ads on Instagram, you do not need to register or install a mobile application. A Facebook profile is enough for paid promotion through any services of the company Facebook inc.
To run Instagram ads:
- go to “Ad Manager”;
- click the “Create” button;
- select the goal of advertising optimization. Why optimize the RC in FB and what it will do, read here;
- give the name of the advertising campaign (for easy tracking);
- set targeting settings (age, gender, interests);
- set a budget, specify a schedule (if necessary, select manual bidding);
- specify the ad format: one video or carousel if you want to add several videos to your ad
- upload a ready-made creative or create it in the built-in editor, if necessary – activate the Call to Action button;
- choose a platform for launching the campaign – in our case, Instagram).
After that, it remains to see how the ad will look on different devices and click the “Publish” button.
Check out our guide to setting up your Instagram ads via Facebook Ads. And here’s a quick tutorial on how to run ad campaigns, provided by Facebook itself.
Not so long ago, it became possible to add a Call To Actions button for advertisements on Insta. It is activated with a swipe up and is used to support the selected promotion goal..
Funnily enough, sponsored content, denoted by a small descriptor, often gets more engagement on Instagram than regular posts. The secret is in the CTA button, which allows you to immediately, without leaving Instagram, familiarize yourself with the product or go to the advertiser’s website.
Call-to-action buttons differ for different purposes and are not available for some tasks. You can see the compatibility of actions and goals here. CTA buttons are available for the following purposes: Awareness, Reach, Traffic, Engagement, Views, Messages, Conversions.
You can add a button at the stage of uploading or creating a creative, provided that this is provided for by the selected advertising goal. To do this, click the Call To Action dropdown menu, select the type of CTA, add links, additional information. After that click the “Publish” button.
How to create video creatives for Instagram
Creating creatives is not as difficult as it might seem. Marketing research and strategy development takes a lot more effort. There are tons of tools and ready-made templates that allow you to create content in 10-15 minutes. And you don’t have to be a cool designer or director. Probably, at first there will be mistakes, and the response of the audience will be lower than desired. But I’ll tell you from personal experience: you just need to do it. Over time, you will understand what the audience likes and will be able to create cool content, even entire advertising series.
But where to start and what to consider when preparing creatives for video ads?
Who is just getting acquainted with Instagram, information about the specifications of the video. I will say right away that the requirements for regular posts and advertising publications are the same, which simplifies content creation. The site does not limit insta bloggers and advertisers with strict specifications. There is a huge variation in aspect ratio, resolution.
- the minimum resolution for all video formats is 500 pixels (in width);
- video length: from 1 second to 60 minutes;
- maximum video size: 250 MB for regular profiles, up to 4 GB for a business account.
Videos can be uploaded in any format – the platform is omnivorous. However, for a better display, the service recommends using MP4, MOV or GIF animation. Recommended compressor for video packaging – H.264, audio codec – AAC with a bitrate of 128 kbps or higher.
Despite similar requirements for different types of publications, types of advertising, there are some differences:
- publications in the feed – any aspect ratio is supported within the range from 1.91: 1 to 4: 5. The recommendation is 1080 x 1080 pixels (1: 1 ratio). The 4: 5 format also works well;
- Stories – from 16: 9 (horizontal) to 4: 5 (portrait), as well as 9:16 (vertical). Platform recommendation – 9:16. Resolution is not lower than 1080 x 1080 pixels;
- for Instagram Explore (recommendations) – the same aspect ratio is accepted as for the feed. However, the preferred format here is 4: 5;
- Reels – short entertaining videos, analogous to Tik-Tok inside Insta, up to 30 seconds long. Reels advertisements fit seamlessly into the feed between regular posts. Recommended format: 9:16 (vertical, full screen), although other ratios are supported;
- IGTV. Recommended aspect ratios are 16: 9 and 19: 6 (full screen, FHD). Other formats should not be considered.
How to create video ads with Facebook Ads Manager
You don’t even need to use third-party tools to create a simple ad. This can be done in the Advertising Manager. To create a creative, go through the stages of advertising launch (select a goal – set a budget – set up an audience – specify a site for promotion and a format: carousel or single video). At the stage of adding a creative, select the “Create video” item from the list. After that:
- add media files (pictures or short videos) by selecting them from those already downloaded or upload new ones;
- choose one of the ready-made templates. There are vertical (9:16) for full-screen ads, square (1: 1) for feed, or responsive – the ad automatically adjusts depending on the place of publication (stories, feed, etc.)
- after that you can edit the template: change the background, add a logo, text, crop the image, remove some frames, change scenes. The visual editor is simple, all operations can be done by clicking and dragging with the mouse;
- after the video is ready, you can save the edited template to your folder, add stickers, a watermark;
- the last step: click “create video” and after viewing the advertisement, the “Publish” button.
How To Create A Great Video Promotional Video: Marketer Tips
If the built-in capabilities are not enough, you can create video content using third-party tools and upload the finished video to the Advertising Manager. Here I have collected tips from digital agency and big brand marketers, adding a bit of my own experience. So, how to create a cool video for Insta … But first check out the good examples here and here.
Promote your brand from the first seconds
It is worth accepting the fact that in conditions of a huge flow of information, users devote a minimum of time to interact with the content. What does this mean for advertisers?
According to Facebook, short commercials are better remembered, get more engagement, and watch time. Another study found that you only have 3 seconds to engage a user, only about 8-9 seconds of their attention. Marketers call this “Attention of the goldfish” – this is how long it can get stuck on an unfamiliar object.
What you need to do to get attention:
- you need to attract attention in the first 3 seconds – add bright colors, movement, an unusual message;
- from the first seconds convey the essence or present your brand, leave long intriguing videos for desktop advertising;
- make short videos – up to 15 seconds, while it is better to put the main information in 8-9 seconds.
Focus on mobile users
Although there is access to the social network through a browser, Instagram is primarily mobile users. Therefore, optimize video content for your smartphone, follow the recommendations of Instagram.
How to achieve this:
- focus on vertical or square videos – users are reluctant to flip their device. These are 1: 1 and 4: 5 for tape, 9:16 (vertical fullscreen) for Stories, Rils;
- only high quality. For square videos – 1080 x 1080 pixels, for full-screen videos – 1080 x 1920 pixels;
- use native codecs for mobile devices. This video is in MP4 format, MOV, H.264 compressor, audio packed in AAC with a bitrate of 128 kbps.
By default, thumbnail video is played without sound – according to statistics, most users watch videos by scrolling through the tape, without transition. Therefore, each creative must effectively convey the message, both with and without sound.
However, if the text is convincing, the user is more likely to turn on the sound.
What should be done:
- for video ads in the feed, IGTV, you can upload a subtitle file (SRT);
- add text to the video itself – the rule “no more than 20% of the total area” also applies here;
- the text should be readable, before publishing an ad, look at how comfortable it is to read information on your smartphone. Remember, if you have no desire to make an effort, then the user has even more.
Don’t be too selling inclined
The video should be organic for the user. Even if he understands that this is sponsored content.
What does this mean:
- too many effects or brute force with selling calls will not give a result;
- the main thing is value and emotions;
- take inspiration from well-known brands, your ad can be motivating, intriguing, funny, and show practical benefits.
Here’s an example of a creative video: simple yet effective:
Remember, the main audience is millennials and generation Z. And these generations have common values, where not things are more important, but experience, emotions. And a reprehensible attitude towards too intrusive advertising that sells head-on.
Use all the features of Insta
The peculiarity of Instagram is that several content formats are available here at once: regular publications in the feed, Stories, Reels, IGTV, Live. Combine different tools for the greatest coverage. In addition, use additional features:
- add popular hashtags (you can find it by brute force or through special online services);
- if necessary, launch carousels to convey more information;
- connect the Catalog to turn your page into an online store;
- connect online payments for sales through an Instagram business account;
- use Instant Experience, which replaces the landing page.
Don’t forget your call to action
Instagram makes it possible to connect the CTA button: follow the link, download the application, get more information, go to the purchase. But this does not mean that the “Call to Action” is not needed in the video itself. He:
- should be simple and concise;
- is somewhere in the middle of the video;
- correspond to the purpose of promotion.
Don’t forget about the CTA
The desire to squeeze the maximum out of one ad is natural. I would like to get interested, tell about the brand, the benefits of the product, sell … This is the main mistake – you will not get the result.
What do we have to do:
- one ad – one product, if you need to advertise several products, launch Carousels;
- the ad must have one specific goal – to tell, interest, show value or sell, but not all together. It is better to create a series of several videos, something like a small series, which will gradually involve the audience;
- if you want to show value – one ad should solve one specific problem. We need more – we placeCarousels, but we do not spam, 3-4 videos in one ad;
- there should be only one selling point in one video, otherwise you will find yourself too selling.
Take care of the miniatures
The way users see your video in thumbnail when scrolling through the feed has a direct impact: whether they stop to watch to the end or not. You can customize the thumbnail before publishing by selecting a frame from the video or uploading your own.
What do we have to do:
- choose an intriguing shot;
- it should be clear from the miniature what the speech is about;
- if necessary, add text.
Programs and services for creating video advertising
One of the tricks of Instagram is the built-in editor with artificial intelligence. The app has enough features for a beginner content maker. You can record a video directly from the main interface, apply filters during or after shooting, add masks, text, blur the background. Still, there are not enough opportunities for advertisers, and working from a desktop PC is usually more convenient. Here is a list of third-party tools that will greatly simplify the creation and launch of video ads:
- video editors for PC – software for professional content. There are paid (Adobe Premiere, Magix Vegas and Video Pro, Edius) and free (Kdenlive, VSDC, HitFilm Home, DaVinci Resolve, Avidemux);
- video editors tailored for creating content for social networks: Magix Movie Studio and Movie Edit Pro, CyberLink Powerdirector, InShot;
- video editors for smartphones: CyberLink Action Director, Filmora Go, BeeCut, Viva Cut, Motion Ninja, Adobe Premiere Rush;
- tools for creating cool effects: Boomerang (creating cyclic videos), Hyperlapse (creating a time-lapse), Foodie (creating cool videos with food), Ashampoo® Video Filters and Exposure (applying filters, slicing, changing exposure, etc.);
- online services for content creation, combining photo stock and editor: Canva, Crelo;
- specialized services for creating training videos, hand-drawn animations, video cards, presentations: Promo.com, Renderforest, Animaker, Upsaleslab, Wideo, Powtoon;
- photo stocks with images, footages, templates: shutterstock, pixabay, Free Images, Dreamstime, Depositphotos, Unsplash, Pexels, Footage Crate, Adobe Stock;
- tools for delayed posting and hashtag searching: Latter, Plann, SocialPilot, Hootsuite, Buffer.
Video on how to quickly create a creative video for advertising on Instagram
If you grind out every shot, you shouldn’t hope that it will get a great response from the audience. The process should be enjoyable, first of all for you – the audience will appreciate it. Even if you create commercial videos. Remember, the value of video content comes first. Videos can be funny, motivating, inspirational, or educational. But not too selling. If you are fascinated by what you are doing, it will not be difficult to succeed. These are the rules of Instagram marketing.