How to Use Instagram Video Ads to Grow Your Business

Today, businesses and advertisers have many available options for their digital marketing mix, but few are having a moment quite like Instagram video ads.

More than 2 million advertisers use Instagram to reach the social network’s 1 billion active users at a time when there’s been an 80% increase in time spent watching Instagram videos.

Instagram has continually expanded its offerings for advertisers, with each type of ad placement offering unique advantages.

In this post, you’ll find what you need to know to choose the right kind of Instagram video ads based on how they align with your broader campaign goals.

Are you ready to take your Instagram video ads strategy to the next level?

Here’s a rundown on the available formats and how to use each of them.

All Instagram Video Ads formats and How to Use Them

#1 – In-Feed Video Ads

With the look and feel of standard posts, these in-feed Instagram video ads blend seamlessly into users’ feeds, offering a more natural way to reach your target audience.

Since feeds are places where most users scroll through and glance at content — not always stopping to interact with or click through to websites or download pages — in-feed video ads are the ideal placements for increasing brand awareness.

Many advertisers have seen higher engagement and sales conversions when using them as part of a combined placement strategy (with Instagram Stories).

How to Use instagram In-Feed Video Ads

Create videos that blend naturally into Instagram feeds, which means they should never be overly self-promotional.

To increase engagement, use feed videos with content that immediately captures viewers’ attention and adds value by offering something relevant or useful to them, rather than pushing them to make a purchase.

Sizes and Specs:

#2 – Instagram Stories

These full-screen, and limited-window Instagram video ads (which disappear after 24 hours) show up between the Stories that nearly 400 million users view daily from people they follow.

Instagram Stories have the look and feel of normal posts, but advertisers can choose from a wide range of features to enhance video ads with special effects, face filters, video effects and text overlay to create fun, interesting promotions.

Instagram Stories have much higher CTRs than feed ads, with a lower CPC rate than most ad formats.

How to Use Instagram Stories:

Because they appear for a limited, 24-hour window before disappearing, they are a great way to market limited-time offers and promotions. Calls-to-action (CTA) come in the form of an interactive swipe-up feature that takes the audience straight to your website or other destination.

Use stories in tandem with feed ads as a one-two punch to maximize exposure.

Video ads typically run only a few seconds long, but advertisers have the option of sharing videos reaching up to 60 seconds. Use the time you have to inspire.

Remember, 64% of Instagram’s user base is between 18 and 29. And, according to Eventbrite, 78% of millennials say they would rather spend money on experiences than things, so inspiration-driven ads have an advantage on the platform.

Sizes and Specs:

#3 – Instagram Canvas Ads

Canvas ads allow you to create immersive, fast-loading videos for Instagram Stories that are optimized for mobile for a superior viewing experience.

Canvas ads offer a multi-layered approach to advertising in the form of what is essentially a mini-website that opens inside Instagram’s app. They eliminate the need for mobile users to visit external sites, which may load slower on smartphones (a leading cause of site abandonment that negatively impacts conversion rate).

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How to Use Instagram Canvas Ads:

Maximize the extra space by using an ad creative featuring one main image with three cards underneath to display more videos or images.

Use compelling CTA buttons that click through to in-app, full-screen canvases that encourage deeper browsing.

The format is the perfect place to create a quick catalog of products, allowing consumers to learn more about certain items and click through to an e-commerce website to purchase them.

Sizes and Specs:

Instagram Carousel Ads

Carousel ads let users swipe through a series of branded videos (or photos), offering expanded creative space for deeper brand storytelling and to highlight multiple products.

This placement is a perfect fit for brands who want to show a range of content or offer more insight into who they are and what they offer.

Carousel ads support from two to ten images, with a format that works well for brands with visually dynamic offerings like food, fashion and live entertainment (or businesses seeking to leverage the power of experiential marketing).

How to Use Instagram Carousel Ads:

Add up to three swipeable, interactive videos — allowing you to triple your content for the same ad spend. Use ad creatives that take full advantage of users ability to swipe through your videos at their convenience, which better engages viewers, while giving them a sense of control (a big deal when it comes to user experience).

Sizes and Specs:

#4 – Instagram TV (IGTV)

Launched in the summer of 2018, Instagram TV (IGTV) offers long-form vertical video ads that can run as long as an hour (Instagram videos were previously capped with a one-minute duration limit).

Although still a work in progress, the new Instagram video ads platform shows a lot of promise.

With the goal of challenging the likes of YouTube and Snapchat Discover, IGTV video ads can run up to one hour long.

Although the expanded time limit allows for branded documentaries and short films, the length of your video ads should be determined by your specific audience and whatever it takes to offer clear messaging that fits your brand identity.

How to Use IGTV:

Take a few minutes to give your audience an inside look at your brand with behind-the-scenes peeks at your business, step-by-step how-to tutorials and other informative content.

If using longer videos are your goal, find ways to draw in viewers with TV-style content like episodic ads that feel like small-screen series.

Create a variety of segments and let viewers know exactly what they can expect from you on IGTV. This way, they’ll be more likely to hit “follow” to stay tuned for future episodes.

For inspiration, two of the best brand IGTV channels are Food Network, which uses the platform to share taste tests, restaurant spotlights and recipes, and Netflix, which has used the new platform to give viewers access to interviews and video promos.

Sizes and Specs:

Portrait — Aspect ratio: a minimum of 4:5; maximum 9:16; Max size & length: 650MB for videos under 10 minutes (3.6GB for up to 60 minutes)/15 seconds to 10 minutes for smaller accounts (up to 60 minutes for larger, verified creators).

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A  Quick Guide to Creating Your Channel on IGTV

On your Instagram home feed, tap the IGTV logo in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

Cognitive Surplus Instagram ad

Tap on the gear icon on the right side of the screen.

Tap the “Create Channel” button.

IGTV Intro Page Slide 1

On the Create Your Channel screen, tap “Next” or swipe to move on to the next step.

IGTV Intro Page slide 2

On the “Share Longer Videos” screen, tap “Next” or swipe to continue.

IGTV Intro Page slide 3

On the Built for Vertical screen, tap “Create Channel,” and it’s done.

Your channel will be created and you can start uploading videos whenever you like.

3 Strategies for Creating Effective Instagram Video Ads

No matter which Instagram ad format you decide on, use these 3 tried-and-true methods to allow you to cash in on one of the most powerful platforms in an advertiser’s arsenal.

Strategy #1 – Think Like a Consumer and Always Consider Their Needs

Strategy #2 – Focus on Boosting Engagement and Conversions

Strategy #3 – Don’t Forget These DOs and DON’Ts

Use these proven strategies as a starting point for planning your Instagram video ads campaigns. For more advice, check out this recent post on Instagram video marketing, and for some inspiration and actionable tips to use in 2019, take a look at the best Instagram ads of 2018.

On a parting note, when running Instagram video ads, always closely monitor analytics for engagement rates, which will help you to see what content resonates with your audience.

Also, keep an eye on the click-through rates if your goal is driving website traffic or online sales.

If you use Instagram Stories, use the poll function to gain insight into what your followers like or dislike.

And, when opting for IGTV, dive into its Audience Retention stats feature to see how long you keep viewers’ attention.

It’s also a good idea to pay attention to your Average Percentage Viewed rate, which lets you know how much of your video was actually watched.

With creativity, proper planning and just the right execution, you’ll be well on your way to building effective Instagram video ads to help put you on the road to digital advertising success.

What do you think? Do you use video ads on Instagram? Which is your favorite Instagram Video Ads format? What about Instagram Stories? Share your opinion in the comments below!

This content was originally published here.