Instagram Advertising

Instagram Advertising: How to Use Instagram Video Ads to Improve Conversions and Revenue?

In 2013, Instagram started supporting videos and in just a mere 24 hours, users had uploaded over 5 million videos on the social media platform.

Videos now dominate all social media networks and Instagram obviously sees the value of video content which is why it has launched video formats like Stories and IGTV.

For brands and marketers, that means, if you are not leveraging the potential of Instagram advertising to increase revenue and engagement then you are losing out on a lot of business.

Why video ads?

Video ads now make up for over 66 percent of ad impressions on Instagram. In fact, sponsored Instagram videos can generate over three times more comments and engagement than sponsored photos.

User-time spent watching videos on Instagram increases by 80 percent, year over year. As a result, it is predicted that the spend on Instagram advertising using video content will reach $14.89 billion by 2021 in the US, growing by over 44 percent in 2019.

Whether it is because of increased mobile usage or shorter attention spans, video content is what users want and brands using the video ad format in their Instagram advertising are sure to reach their target audience.

How to use the different Instagram video ad formats?

1 – In-feed video ads

In-feed video ads blend seamlessly with the main feed as they look similar to the standard posts users see on their homepage. There is only a small ‘Sponsored’ tag present on the top of the post. This in turn offers a more natural way for brands to reach their customers.

instagram marketing stats

How to advertise on Instagram using in-feed video ads?

Users normally scroll through their feed to glance at what their friends are posting. So, they rarely ever click or engage with sponsored content present on their feed. That is why, these in-feed video ads are great for increasing brand awareness. You can use them in combination with Instagram Stories ads to retarget customers for higher engagement and sales conversions.

At the same time, you should make sure that the video is able to impress and captivate the audience without being too promotional.

Size specifications

Since Instagram isn’t restricted to square format anymore, you can publish in-feed video ads in landscape and vertical formats as well.

Landscape video

  • Aspect ratio: 1:91:1
  • Resolution: 600 x 315 px
  • Maximum length: 60 seconds
  • Maximum video size: 4 GB

Vertical video

  • Aspect ratio: 4:5
  • Resolution: 600 x 750 px
  • Maximum length: 60 seconds
  • Maximum video size: 4 GB

Square video

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:1
  • Resolution: 600 x 600 px
  • Maximum length: 60 seconds
  • Maximum video size: 4 GB

2 – Instagram Stories ads

Instagram launched the Stories feature in August 2016 with the aim to compete with Snapchat. Similar to snaps taken on Snapchat, Instagram Stories also disappear within 24 hours of being posted.

Now, three years later, Instagram Stories are more than twice as popular as Snapchat with over 500 million daily active users.

instagram marketing stats

Source: Statista

Over half of the businesses on Instagram post at least one Story every month and a third of the most viewed Stories are posted by businesses.

With Instagram Stories ads, you are able to insert your ad between users’ stories which keeps the user experience consistent without interrupting the flow.

instagram marketing stats

Instagram Advertising using Stories ads

Since Instagram Stories ads disappear in 24 hours, they can be used by brands to advertise limited-time offers. Users can skip story ads with just a simple tap on the screen, so it is important to catch their attention immediately and create a strong impression with high-quality content.

These ads also allow you to add a call-to-action in the form of the ‘Swipe Up’ feature, which lets you add external links to your Stories. Whether you want to promote a product or a website, you can use this option to encourage users to go directly to a specific link by swiping up.

You only get 15 seconds maximum for Stories ads and even lesser time to make an impression on your viewers. It can be incredibly difficult to create effective Stories ads from scratch every time and publish them with the right ad creative and CTA.

To make things easier, you can use a video editor like InVideo that lets you create Stories within minutes. InVideo’s Instagram video editor has a collection of Instagram story templates. With dozens of unique Instagram story templates available, you can make sure that all of your stories are engaging, and stand out from the crowd.

Size specifications

  • Aspect Ratio:  9:16 and 4:5 to 1.91:1
  • Resolution:  600 X 1067 px
  • Maximum length: 15 seconds
  • Maximum video size: 4 GB

3 – Instagram Canvas ads

Instagram Canvas ads (also known as Instant Experiences) let you publish fast-loading and immersive videos as Instagram Stories. These ads are optimized for mobile for a much superior viewing experience. When users click on the ‘Swipe Up’ CTA buttons in these ads, a mini-website opens up directly inside the Instagram app.

By eliminating the need to open the websites or links in a third-party browser, Instagram is able to give users a more seamless browsing experience which directly leads to higher conversion rates.

instagram canvas ads

How to advertise on Instagram using Canvas ads:

The format of these ads is perfect for creating and sharing a catalog of your products. Users can then learn more about them swiping up and checking the website. The full-screen canvas ads encourage deeper browsing and maximize ad space.

Size specifications

  • Aspect Ratio:  9:16 and 4:5 to 1.91:1
  • Resolution:  600 X 1067 px
  • Maximum length: 15 seconds
  • Maximum video size: 4 GB

The step by step guide to creating Instagram video ads

You can create and publish Instagram ads either directly from the Instagram app or through the Facebook account linked with your Instagram page.

Though, you can only create ads through the Instagram app if you have a business account. Also, you can only promote an already published post.

It is preferable to use the Ads Manager on Facebook because it allows you to customize your ad and target it accurately.

Here is the step by step guide to create Instagram video ads through Facebook Ads Manager.

1 – Open your Facebook account and go to the Ad Manager

2 – Click on the Create button to create a new ad campaigninstagram marketing campaign

3 – Choose a marketing objective for your campaign

marketing on instagram

4 – Decide the target audience for your ad. You can either create a new audience or use one of the saved audiences from your previous ad campaigns

instagram advertising

5 – The next step is to decide on the ad formats and placements. By default, Facebook keeps the ad placements automatic which means Facebook decides by itself the right placements for your ad based on your target audience and budget.

In order to select the ad formats you want, pick ‘Edit Placements’

how to advertise on instagram

6 – Choose any of the Instagram ad formats you want

instagram ads format

To create Canvas Ads, select the in-feed placement and then scroll down to the ‘Format’ section. Check the ‘Add an Instant Experience’ box.

create instagram ads

You can upload your own or use one of the Instant Experience templates.

instagram ads template

Best tips to create effective Instagram Video ads

1 – Mention your brand in the first few seconds

Users are 23 percent more likely to remember your brand if it is mentioned within the first three seconds of the video.

branding on instagram

Source: Facebook

After all, people already have limited time and attention span. For brands, it is important to get their message across without any ambiguity. Short videos that mention the brand in the first three seconds are more effective in increasing brand awareness.

2 – Find the right video length

The average attention span of humans is now said to be less than eight seconds. People look at multiple screens every day and they have very little patience when it comes to sponsored content.

That is why you need to keep the length of your Instagram video ads as less as possible to avoid losing any viewers. Facebook conducted in in-depth research of drop off rate in different ad formats to better understand how people consume video ads.

instagram video ads

According to the results, feed ads have a steep drop-off right at the start, but then the drop-off rate is slows down by the middle of the video. On the contrary, Stories ads have a very steep drop-off rate as compared to the other ad formats, which means if your ad creative isn’t customized according to your audience then you are more likely to lose interest of viewers.

In other words, the longer the video, the fewer users will watch the video till the very end. So, you need to focus on creating short and effective videos that can be watched by the majority of people.

3 – Add CTAs in the middle of the videos

CTAs in the middle of the video lead to higher conversion rates (16.95 percent), as compared to CTAs at the start or end of the videos.

instagram cta

Source: Wistia

When you have a CTA at the very start, it makes the video look very promotional which may put off viewers. At the same time, putting CTA at the end may not work at all because viewers might not watch the entire video. As mentioned in the point above, the drop-off rate increases steadily for all the ad formats after the first few seconds.

4 – Add captions, but don’t go overboard with text

Instagram video ads are played automatically on mute, but users have the option to play the sound by tapping on the speaker button present on the side of the video. Though, most users keep the sound off to avoid any embarrassing moments while they are scrolling Instagram in public.

That means, you need to make sure your video ads make sense with or without sound. It is also worth adding captions to your videos because it can increase views by 12 percent. You can directly upload captions for in-feed ads IGTV ads through Ad manager.

You cant upload captions for Stories and Canvas ads, but you can add captions to videos directly by using video editor like InVideo. InVideo’s Instagram video editor offers Instagram story templates that allow you to add captions in your videos.

Though captions make the videos more accessible, avoid using putting too much text in your videos. In fact, Facebook recommends video ads to have less than 20 percent text in the thumbnail image. If the ads have more than 20 percent text, then their reach might get limited.

For Instagram Story ads, 14 percent of the top and bottom of the video should be text free.

Final words

Many marketers miss out on the opportunities offered by the powerful Instagram advertising because they don’t know if they can expertly publish video ads.

The best way to start advertising on Instagram is by testing different video ad formats and publishing them at different times for a small budget. You can then analyze the results to see what works for your brand and what doesn’t. The idea is to focus on steady growth to improve conversions and revenue.

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