Instagram Ads Best Practices 2021

/ October 1, 2021 | 8 Mins Read

Instagram Ads Best Practices 2021

In this in depth guide you will learn the basics of creating an Instagram ads and will also discover few tactics to boost leads and conversions.

Instagram is a booming platform. It came into existence in 2010 and it has been growing ever since. The platform was initially curated for personal use and to stay connected with the community. Over time, it has proved to be an effective medium for promoting and advertising as well.

It is a flourishing platform that offers a huge variety of placements for advertising. Instagram is used by over 1 Billion people, 81% of people use the platform to search for products and services, and almost 50% of users tend to visit a website after seeing its advertisement. These statistics about the application are very convincing and your business too can benefit from Instagram ads. But before you start, read about the basics as well as the best practices for Instagram ads in 2021.  

Types of Instagram ads

Feed ads

  • Single Image ads 

These ads let you use only one image. You can use compelling images for this ad type to promote your product and services. These ads can be in different formats, you can use a vertical, landscape as well as a square image. 

cheryls DIY facial kit Ad on instagram

  • Video ads 

These ads contain a video/gif. The maximum length of the video is 60 seconds. A video ad is better than a single image ad as it lets you showcase your brand better. 

Dell India video ad

  • Carousel ads

These ads should be your first choice if you intend to highlight multiple products. These ads allow you to showcase a variety of products that your brand offers. 

An example of Carousel ads on instagram

  • Explore ads

You will find these ads on the explore page on Instagram. These ads are specifically made to find the audience looking for new products or pages to follow. These ads help your business to be discovered by the right people. 

  • Shipping ads

These ads let you tag items in your advertisement. Through these tags, the user can know more about your products, gather their details, and shop for them. 

Vero moda shipping ads

Story ads 

Over 500 million users view stories actively every day. This is one of the best placements offered by Instagram for ads. Story ads offer a plethora of opportunities. You can go creative with your advertisements and experiment as much as you want. You can advertise either a static image or a video on the story ads. Just make sure that you design your advertisement using the right dimensions to fit story ads. People are building followers and gaining popularity with a simple story ads.

An example of story ads

IGTV ads 

IGTV ads were introduced in March 2020 by Instagram. This placement lets you post long-form video ads. 

Instagram IGTV ads

Reels ads 

Instagram launched reels in 2020 and the initial purpose was entertainment. But now reels can also be utilized for advertising. This placement is right for you if you are seeking reach and more views for your page as Instagram is now focusing more on video content.

Reels ads

(Reels and IGTV ads can not be optimized for lead conversion yet.)

How much do Instagram ads cost?

This is one of the most asked questions and why not? After all, it is crucial to keep a track of investment and returns. If you are looking forward to investing in Instagram to run ads then you must know that there is no fixed price. 

The cost of Instagram ads is variable and it depends on a variety of factors such as time, circumstances, and intent. 

When several brands will target the audience simultaneously the cost of running the ads will be higher. Similarly, if the circumstances are favorable then also the cost would be more.

For example, If Myntra wants to run ads for its sale for the audience of Kerala and Delhi both then the campaign will cost less for Kerala. This is because in that region the Covid restrictions have still not been lifted, the deliveries take time, and the people are more focused on their survival and prevention from the infection. On the other hand in Delhi, the restriction is limited and life has almost returned to normal. Due to this circumstantial difference, more brands will be targeting the audience of Delhi over Kerala. Thus, this will be reflected in the cost of running Instagram ads too.

Furthermore, there are peak hours of the audience. When the number of people active on Instagram will be more the cost will be stabilized. While to show your business’s ad when fewer users are active the cost will fluctuate. 

Instagram advertising cost is also impacted by the intent of advertising. This can be understood from the following example: In 2020 a very famous football star Christiano Ronaldo removed the bottles of Coca-Cola from his table during a press conference. This move caused an internet frenzy. This opportunity was then used by other soft drink brands. They started advertising their product more. In this case, the intent was to bring their soft drinks to light in wake of a renowned personality’s move. In such cases, when your intent is determined, Instagram ads’ costs tend to fluctuate. 

Events also play an important role in determining the cost of Instagram ads. For instance, if you want to promote the sale on your brand during the holiday season or festivals, then Instagram will likely charge you more.

Best practices to follow for ads 

Make ads as per the placements

If you plan to save some time by running a similar ad on the feed, the story, the reels, and the IGTV, that will not work. Running campaigns and ads is easy but making those campaigns a success will take a little extra effort. The Instagram ads’ sizes differ as per the placements. The same creative cannot work for all places. You must carefully curate your Instagram ads keeping the following dimensions in mind. 

  • Instagram feed ads 

  1. Landscape ads- 1200x628 pixels with a ratio of 1.9:1. 
  2. Square images- 1080x1080 pixels with a ratio of 1:1. 
  3. Vertical ads- 600x750 pixels with a ratio of 4:5. 

  • Instagram story ads

These ads should be in 1080x1080 pixels with an aspect ratio of 9:16. 

  • Instagram reels ads

The size of the video should be 1080x1920 pixels with an aspect ratio of  9:16. 

  • Instagram IGTV ads 

The size of the video should be 1080x1920 pixels with an aspect ratio of 9:16. IGTV is a tricky place for ads. You can have your videos in the ratio 9:16, 1:1, and also in 4:5. But the catch is that your preview would be different on the feed for all the ratios. The best practice is to opt for the aspect ratio of 9:16 as it is meant to take over the viewer’s complete screen and has a better preview. 

Follow 20% text rule 

Instagram is a social media platform that works on visuals. People are there to scroll through the feed and to enjoy appealing images. If there is too much text in a huge feed of pictures what do you think the users will do? Naturally, they will skip it or scroll through. If you want to make a mark through Instagram ads, you must follow the 20% text rule religiously. 

Linkedin Sponsored ad

Furthermore, if you have more than 20% text on your ad creative they will be pushed behind by Instagram and will also cost you more. Visuals catch the eye faster than any text ever could so make sure your ads are compelling. 

Given below are two ads one of them followed the 20% text rule while the other did not. Decide for yourself which one will gain more traction. 

Optimize core conversions

The objective of Instagram ads is different for all businesses. Some intend to gain reach while others are seeking lead generation. Make sure that your campaign ad objective is crystal clear to Instagram.

For example, Entrepreneur Kenny Schumacher’s campaign objection for Delesign was to acquire purchases through lookalike audiences on Instagram. This meant that Instagram would find people similar to the people that had already purchased from Delesign and show ads to them with the objective of getting them to purchase. To do this, Instagram would constantly be testing different parameters of who to show the ads to and at what times to find the optimal target audience for purchase conversions.

Instagram is a smart and adaptable platform, all it requires from you is clarity about what you want. If you maintain ambiguity about your Instagram ads campaign you might perplex the application. This will affect your campaign as you will be able to gain traffic but no leads or worse, neither traction nor leads . Utilize Instagram ads manager to give a lucid objective of your ad campaign to Instagram. 

NEVER schedule ads!

Scheduling ads seems like a good idea to reach your target audience and also make your ad campaign affordable. But this practice is neither appreciated nor beneficial for Instagram ad campaigns. 

For instance, if you want to get leads for your AI software that will facilitate writers, you must know your target audience is very precise and most of them must be employed or working. For this purpose If you schedule your ads after working hours, you might gain a lot of traction and leads. But you will miss out on the people who use Instagram during their working hours in breaks. 

The good practice is to let your ads run throughout the day. As many businesses schedule their ads, there is difficult competition in the peak slots. Running your ads all day will reduce that competition and eventually benefit your business. 

Utilize ads manager 

You must have seen that Instagram gives you an option to boost your post directly. This is an easy way to convert your post into an ad without too many technicalities. However, this is not a good practice to follow if you want your Instagram ad campaign to become a success. 

Utilize Facebook ad manager to run ads on Instagram. This is a good practice for the following reasons: 

  • There is a huge variety of matrices available. 
  • You can optimize your core conversions and give a strong start to your ad campaign. 
  • It is an organized and systematic way of running a campaign from one place. 
  • Get extensive data analysis of all the ad campaigns assembled on one platform. 

Using the boost post feature directly might be an easier way to promote your posts but it won’t be as effective. 

Golden 7 days

When you initiate anything new, it takes time to flourish and get in line. The same goes for Instagram ads. Instagram takes time to understand the objective of an ad campaign and the audience you want to target. You must wait for 7 days before making any changes to a fresh campaign. 

Instagram will take a week to escalate your ad campaign. This period is taken by Instagram for learning your ad’s purpose and giving the desired results. If you will panic on the initial days and make changes in the campaign then you will disturb Instagram’s learning process. This will further delay the process as Instagram will have to understand your needs all over again. 

If you will be patient, you will notice that your ad is gaining traction and you are getting expected results. Instagram is an intelligent application. All you need to do is give it time for learning and comprehension. 

The bottom line 

There is no second thought about the fact that Instagram is a versatile platform and it has a lot to offer to your business. But if you do not know how to utilize the platform in the best way, then you will yield no results. Just running the ad campaigns will not take you anywhere, you need to follow the best practices. Design your creatives carefully, experiment with the different types of ads, set a clear objective, and utilize an ad manager to collocate everything in one place.  

Instagram is the platform that will help you get new leads, but later how your business will convert those leads depends upon you. Efficient call management and having advanced calling features like IVR and toll-free numbers will leave an impeccable first impression on your callers. This will significantly increase your conversions and help your business flourish. Therefore, along with following best practices  to create Instagram advertisement, it is also crucial to utilize the right calling technology to give your callers a simplified calling experience.

Srishti Panwar is a content developer at MyOperator who is an avid reader and a book fanatic. She is always experimenting with her ways of writing and always looking out for new perspectives. She’s also a fitness enthusiast, if you do not find her with her books then she is probably working on a new detox drink.

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