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Instagram Ads: 5 Types You Need to Know

Want to know 5 Instagram ads alternatives you can use?

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms. And with close to a billion active monthly users, businesses are now leveraging on the platform to boost sales, to increase engagement and to maximize brand reach.  Whilst businesses still achieve their goals with organic posts, Instagram ads have become a surefire way to further propel a brand’s success. This article will walk you through the 5 Instagram ad types that you can use to drive your next campaign.

1. Photo Ads

Photo ads are the most popular types of ads and compared to other ad formats featured, they’re relatively easy to create. With a photo ad, advertisers post a visually appealing and vibrant photo that showcases their product or service. When done correctly, the image should be accompanied by a call to action that encourages the target audience to interact with their website or purchase a product.

Here’s an example of a photo ad from Macy’s.

instagram ads

What makes this ad appealing:

  • An eye-catching visual that appeals to the target audience.
  • The ad displays an array of products available on their site.
  • A clear CTA – SHOP NOW.

2. Video ads

Video ads are like photo ads on steroids. They have so much more to offer: sound, facial movements, and even emotional resonance that can easily swoop the target audience. While photo ads are still the most popular in racking up engagement, video ads are quickly catching up. In fact, studies predict that by 2021 video content will be accounting for 81% of internet traffic. Videos ads can go up to 60 seconds but well-done video ads achieve their goals in 30 seconds or less.

The most successful video ads have a few things in common:

  • They grab the viewer’s attention in the first 10 seconds or less.
  • They feature high-quality videos with eye-catching visuals.
  • The content is consumer-driven i.e. it shows users how the product/service is beneficial to them.
  • Advertisers sometimes use text effects on the video to get their message across.

3. carousel ads

Carousel ad format allows advertisers to display multiple images or videos within a single ad. If the ad is to be displayed in the Newsfeed, you can add a minimum of 2 cards and a maximum of 10 and if the ad is to be displayed on Instagram stories, you can add a minimum of 2 cards and a maximum of 3. Advertisers can use this space to show different products or give in-depth information on a single product. For instance, if a brand is launching a new phone, they could opt to use a carousel ad to give a highly detailed look on the product.

Banana Republic, a clothing brand, is a good example of a brand that is adept at using Carousel ads. They’ve previously used the ad format to spotlight different outfits in their Spring Collection, which has made it easier for customers to discover multiple new styling ideas in one ad which would otherwise not have been possible with a photo ad.

Another great way to use Carousel ads is to show users how to use a product or a service.  This would especially be ideal if advertising a new product on the market.

Carousel ads are also highly effective in telling a brand’s story whether it’s communicating your journey, your mission or vision. While this take is not as sales-driven, it’s ideal in creating a real connection with the target audience as well as increasing brand awareness.

instagram ads

4. story ads

Instagram Stories have reportedly seen an increase in use and ad spend in the last year. Click through rates on story ads have also been on an upward trajectory with 52% growth year over a year.  This is according to a report obtained by analysts at Deutsche Bank. Story ads appear in-between users’ stories for up to 15 seconds for videos and up to 5 seconds for photos. This ad format allows advertisers to post photos or videos while capitalizing on Instagram story features which include adding video effects.

Below is an example of a Stories ad from Nivea.

instagram ads

How to nail it with story ads

Keep it simple. Users can easily swipe away from a story ad. But advertisers can still ensure that consumers get the message in the first three seconds by using an appealing background image and keeping the message short and punchy as with the Nivea ad above.

5. collection ads

This ad format was unveiled globally last year and is mostly geared at e-commerce businesses. With collection ads, advertisers display a ‘hero’ image or video which is then accompanied by a maximum of three product images displayed in a swipeable carousel format.  Users can easily browse your catalog, discover new products and purchase products.

To create a rewarding collection ad, you need to choose a winning cover image. A clothing brand may choose to use their best-selling product as the hero image. This will quickly draw in the users, and they will be highly likely to engage with the ad.

Your CTA, which is included in the ad, should direct users to the products/service on your collection ad.

Below is an example of a collection ad by Birchbox, a fashion and beauty brand that was amongst the first to test this ad format.

instagram ads

Depending on what your goals are for your business, you can opt to use any of the five Instagram ads above. To take your Instagram ads to the next level, you need to create compelling messages for your ads.

Choose to use high-quality and visually compelling photos and speak to consumers’ needs.

In addition, you need to set out clear goals. If you want to tell a brand story in order to develop a real connection with users, a carousel ad or video ad would be more fitting compared to a photo ad.

Now you know the alternatives you have to create ads on Instagram. Check out my article here on how to leverage Instagram for your business.

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