Nine Tips for Powerful Instagram Ads

If you’re ready to try Instagram ads for yourself, here are nine things to consider to help you make the most of your marketing dollars.

1. Keep Your Images Clean

If you’ve ever advertised on Facebook, then you know the 20% text rule. If you haven’t, it basically means that they will reject your ad or significantly reduce the reach if you have text on more than 20% of your image. On Instagram, this is even more of a no-no.

People love Instagram precisely because it is a visual social platform. Essentially, your ads shouldn’t look like ads. They should feature your products in a compelling way—that means not covered with text. They should also be 1080 x 1080 so they fill the space accordingly.

2. Use Your Most Beautiful Images (and Lots of Them)

You’ve probably invested money in taking product images for your store. You can (and absolutely should) re-purpose those on Instagram. Make sure they are truly beautiful. And if they aren’t, find a free editing tool to touch them up.

This is a great opportunity to show your products in a bunch of different ways by using carousel ads that feature multiple images of your products in the real world. Forget the shots of your products with a white background—that’s for a catalog, not for an Instagram ad.

3. Ditch the Branding on Your Images

To continue on this theme, don’t throw your branding on top of your product image. Your ad will be seen next to your Instagram icon and handle, which will speak for itself.

4. Choose Your Text Wisely

You only get 300 characters for your ad caption, so make the most of them. Tell people what’s awesome about your products. Include any special offers. Make sure to have a clear call to action. And if you’re funny, Instagram is a great place to get your brand’s humor across.

Just don’t try too hard or do something that feels off-brand compared to the rest of your online presence. 

5. Forget Hashtags

While hashtags can improve your reach with organic posts, ads won’t show up in hashtag search results. If you have extra space in your text, you could use them to point people to other related products and posts, but we'd recommend skipping it.

6. Don't Forget Video

Instagram is an awesome place to post short videos that show off your products, offer some how-to tips, or showcase related entertaining clips.

The quality doesn’t need to be perfect, but make sure it formats correctly with no black space on either side, has at least 72px minimum resolution, and is between three and 30 seconds long.

7. Turn Off the Sound

Don’t forget that Instagram is a mobile experience for consumers. While people love videos, they often have the sound off on their mobile device to not bother their neighbors (or tip off that they are watching videos instead of doing something else).

Instead, add closed captions to your video or text breaks so your target audience can get your message without needing to turn on the sound.

8. Ease Into Your Budget

When you're just getting started, you’ll want to get a feel for what people respond to and what they don’t. Start by spending a few dollars a day to learn before you diving in with your entire budget.

 
 
 
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9. Support Ads With Other Posts

While it's easy to invest only in ads on Instagram that you can pay to get in front of people, don't forget to post on your own content as well. The more you post, the more you will be seen as a real "social" brand that people want to connect with.

And you have a lot more flexibility in what you can post. Try "behind the scenes" images that feature your employees or quotes by people you admire. (And use those hashtags here to expand your reach.)


Want to try our free Instagram Ad Tool? Click here to let us know.


Once you have your ads in place, it's time to tie them into your other marketing initiatives. In the next section, we'll show you how.