Simon Pilkington
April 7, 2018

The Best Instagram Ad Types for Sponsored Post Success

Find out what the best Instagram ad types are, when to use them, and get some great ideas for Instagram sponsored posts with examples from top Australian brands. While Instagram ads are quite new, the platform should now be a central part of your social media strategy. Read on!

If you’re a marketer looking to grow your presence on the ‘gram, it’s time to start giving some serious thought to running a sponsored post.

And sure, you might be resistant to the idea of spending coin on social ads. We get it.

That’s the thing, though: Instagram ads are a totally different beast when it comes to sponsored content.

Whereas traditional social ads might feel like, well, ads, Instagram sponsored posts seamlessly slide into your followers’ feeds.

Source: Instagram

That is, if you know how to craft your campaign.

And in this quick guide, we’ll break down exactly how you can do just that and why marketers are flocking to Instagram to run ads.

Why Instagram Ads Are Killing It Right Now

Still not sure if sponsored posts are your jam?

Here’s some food for thought: Instagram is well on its way toward that coveted one billion user mark.

The platform is booming, and brands of all shapes and sizes are already running ads on Instagram as we speak.

Seriously. Grab your phone and go see for yourself.

(We’ll wait)

Source: Instagram

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling high fashion or frozen yoghurt: Instagram is producing advertising success stories day after day. In fact, the number of Instagram promoted posts doubled in 2017.

Oh, and much like Facebook ads, brands have the added bonus of some seriously in-depth audience targeting and  analytics to boost the performance of their sponsored posts.

Instagram ads offer marketers a sense of artistic freedom unlike any other, too. By picking the proper Instagram ad type and creatives, you can stop scrollers in their tracks and get more eyes on your brand in an instant.

Source: Instagram

Of course, this begs the question: which Instagram ad format is right for your needs? How do you get started?

We’re glad you asked!

Which Instagram Ad is Right for Your Brand?

The following Instagram ad list breaks down the platform’s distinct ad types, formats and specifications. Based on these specifics and examples, you can better hone in on what sort of Instagram ad suits your brand’s goals.

Photo Ads

Overview: Representing the most straightforward Instagram ad type, photo ads are static images that can be presented in either a square or landscape format.

Source: Instagram

Pros: Simple, requires only a single creative, fewer variables involved when A/B testing, CTA is hard to miss

Cons: Imagery needs to be eye-catching and visually interesting to be effective, captions are crucial as text is discouraged from this ad type

Who Are They For? As the sort of minimal standard for Instagram ads, pretty much any brand can use static photos to promote a product or launch.

Video Ads

Overview: Video ads are bite-sized clips, perfect for visual storytelling or min-commercials to entice viewers to tap.

Source: Adespresso

Pros: Ideal for grabbing the attention of someone scrolling, allows you to include additional text versus Photo ads, includes a static CTA so viewers don’t necessarily have to watch all the way through

Cons: Requires more of an investment of time and creatives, longer video ads could potentially cause viewers to lose interest

Who Are They For? Brands who want to show off their product in action, or anyone with a budget for animation or more elaborate commercials. An overwhelming number of Instagram ads are indeed video, but as you’ll see below they aren’t the only ad option that integrates motion.

Carousel Ads

Overview: Much like their Facebook counterpart, Carousel ads allow viewers to tap through a series of images, representing a creative opportunity for interactive ads.

Source: Adespresso

Pros: Interactive by nature, allows you to display multiple products or ad messages simultaneously, multiple opportunities to grab users’ attention

Cons: Users could potentially mistake a Carousel for a static ad

Who Are They For? For brands selling a product or multiple variations of the same product, carousel ads are perhaps the best bang for your buck. Offering a bit more creativity than a static image without the production requirements of a video ad, carousels are a sort of happy medium between the two.

Stories Ads

Overview: Stories ads live up to their namesake, allowing brands to create a series of images or videos to compel followers to tap through.

Source: Instagram

Pros: Allows your brand to tell a story, visually striking like video ads, offers an immersive experience

Cons: Requires the full attention of viewers, assumes that the viewer is interested in Stories, larger investment in creatives

Stories Ads Format Specs

Who Are They For? Representing a newer breed of Instagram ads, many of the platform’s success stories come from big brands taking advantage of Stories. Although not necessarily reserved for those with money to blow, the creatives involved with the format lend itself to more elaborate campaigns.

Slideshow Ads

Overview:  Marketed by Instagram as a simpler alternative to video, Slideshow ads allow brands to combine up to 10 static images to put their ads in motion.

Source: Instagram

Pros: Motion-based ad that doesn’t require the creatives or investment of video

Cons: Single purpose, might feel more like an ad

Slideshow Ad Format Specs

Who Are They For? Not unlike carousel ads, Slideshows are ideal for brands looking to show off multiple products at once. Boasting the eye-catching nature of video minus sound or production, the effectiveness of the best Instagram ads regardless of type boils down to creativity.

Dynamic Product Ads

Overview: Dynamic ads are pulled from a business’ product catalog and allow users to buy directly from Instagram.

Pros: Another means of remarketing to visitors and former customers, allows for direct sales

Cons: Lacks the creative flair of the other ad types.

Dynamic Ad Format Specs

Who Are They For? E-commerce brands who want to serve product-based ads to users directly to targeted users. With integrations such as Shopify, you can directly tag products in Instagram posts to get even more of an ROI from the platform.

A Note on Instagram Ad Creation and Placement

As a quick side note, running an ad on Instagram requires you to have a Facebook page. If you’re already familiar with Facebook’s own ad manager, you’re likely good to go.

Keep in mind that there are restrictions on Instagram ad placement, although all ads are capable of showing up in the traditional feed. You have the option to manually place ads or have the platform optimize your ads for placement depending on factors such as ad type and budget.

Oh, and make sure you take advantage of the  Instagram ad mock-up creator to generate fictional ads on your own.

This allows you to experiment with different images and ad types without having to go through the trouble of tinkering with your custom audience.

Nice, right?

Ready to Run Your First Instagram Promoted Post?

The beauty of Instagram ads is that there are so many possibilities, all of which can raise awareness for your brand without coming off like a spammy as.

And while there is no “right” answer for which Instagram ad type to choose, hopefully you’ve nailed down a few ideas to run some in the near future.

Either way, the platform makes it a cinch to upload, experiment and target your audience to perfection. As long as you’ve got something to promote and a bit of creativity, you can make Instagram ads work for you.

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