5 Great Ways to Use Instagram Video Ads

Instagram as a platform is all about the visual, so it’s no surprise that these visual elements are just important for Instagram Ads. There are a ton of different ad formats businesses can choose from, including single images, image carousels, and—best of all— videos.

Videos are automatically dynamic and engaging; the moving images will grab users’ attention more effectively than any other ad type, even when the sound is off. They also give you more room to convey your message and make a connection with your viewers, even in just sixty seconds or less.

And the best part of it all? There are a number of different ways you can use video in Instagram Ads to get the exact results you’re looking for on any type of campaign. We’re going to look at five of the best ways- and plenty of Instagram video ads examples- so you can start seeing the benefits of these campaigns, too.

Why Use Instagram Ads?

Instagram Ads have consistently yielded high results since they were first rolled-out, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Users are more than happy to engage with brands on the platform, and that clearly includes their ads.

A great example of this is the ad campaign run by Sprout Social with Coca-Cola as a case study. They had both Facebook and Instagram ad placements. The results: their Instagram ad received more than 30,000 likes than its Facebook Ad, even though they had more than 750,000 more followers on Facebook.

While Instagram Ads often cost slightly more than their sister company’s ad counterparts, the high levels of CTRs and engagement—in my experience— are worth it. Especially since the gaps in cost seem to be closing; according to an AdEspresso benchmark, Instagram Ad app install costs dropped from an average of $3.28 to $1.10 within one year (with some ups and downs); this last number was less than its Facebook mobile newsfeed equivalent, which cost $1.75 per app install.

Since combining Instagram Ads and videos can increase these results, let’s take a look at 5 of the best ways to use Instagram video ads.

1. Grab Attention from Cold Traffic

Instagram video ads can stop users mid-scroll as they’re looking through their feed, which is a particularly useful advantage when you’re trying to reach cold traffic.

Even better: because videos can pack a powerful punch of information in a very short time, you can use videos to build brand awareness, start to establish a connection with customers, and show them what you do very quickly.

When targeting cold traffic, run a campaign featuring a video that introduces you, your brand, or your product and explain why users absolutely need it in their lives. Facebook and Instagram Ads are about generating demand instead of fulfilling it, so let users know why they need your product.

2. Use Storytelling to Convey Emotion

Let’s say I run a blood bank. I could have a blog post filled with hundreds of statistics about what donations are needed, the annual crisis of blood shortages, and statistics of lives that could have been saved if their blood type was on hand. In that post, I could have a few sentences detailing one particular person who lost their spouse to a blood shortage.

Which part of that post are you going to remember the most? If you’re like the vast majority of people, it won’t be the statistics- it will be the emotional impact the three-sentence-long story had on you.

While statistics and fact strengthen our argument, our strongest skills of persuasion—and selling—rely on storytelling to make an emotional connection. It’s the “why-should-I-care?” part of the equation. If we’re able to establish an emotional connection with our viewers, they’re more likely to trust us, remember us, and buy from us. This is true on both a long term and short term basis. And videos are the best form of media for emotional storytelling.

To use storytelling in your videos, you can appeal to users pain points with personal, individual stories; a company selling zit cream could have a testimonial from a bride how she was able to have a flawless complexion in time for her ceremony, and Nike could use motivational messages from people who recovered from long term injuries to have great athletic prowess. Sometimes, the more specific and individualized a story it is, the more it will appeal to everyone. These are emotional messages—and they sell.

3. Place Video in a Carousel Ad

I love carousel ads; they have higher-than-average CTRs, which can translate directly into more conversions. You can show multiple different products, or multiple features of a single product, in a single ad. What most businesses forget, though, is that you can use videos instead of images in the carousel slides.

When you get carried away on a bubbly afternoon. #CocaColaLife

A post shared by Coca-Cola (@cocacola) on


For best results, place your video (if you’re only using one) in the very first slide of your carousel ads. This will have those same attention-grabbing benefits, and if you catch users’ interest, you can inspire them to scroll and click on the slide that’s most appealing to them.

4. Utilize Influencer Marketing

Especially if users are unfamiliar with your brand, having an influencer on board and in your video can win them over pretty quickly. You can use  both big-name influencers, like celebrities, and micro-influencers, who are more industry-specific and could include bloggers and industry leaders.


Thinx, as shown in the example below, has used a video ad containing testimonials from celebrities like Mila Kunis, Sophia Bush, and Mindy Kaling to sell their pad-replacing underwear. These ads helped their business can national attention quickly, exploding in popularity and resulting in thousands of sales.

5. Use Videos in Instagram Story Ads

Instagram’s Story Ads are a new ad format, having just become available in the past few months. These ads appear in Instagram’s Story feature, and will be played between stories from profiles the user follows.

Story Ads are most effective for increasing brand recognition, so make sure that you have clear branding in the ad so users will remember you. If they click away, after all, they can’t scroll back; these ads fall into the disappearing story format, unlike other Instagram Ads formats that remain in the users’ feeds.

Want top create Instagram Stories like this, for free? Check out Shakr and HubSpot’s free StoriesAds tool.

Instagram Video Ads Best Practices

Some videos will perform better than others, and there are certain best practices that you can use to get the most results on every single video ad campaign. These include:

  • Keeping it short. You’ve only got sixty seconds, maximum, but you may not even need that long to convey your message; keep it as short as possible and cut any fluff. And no matter what length you choose, focus on the first few seconds; you need to grab a users’ attention within ten seconds, or they’ll scroll away.
  • Only focus on one topic. Each video should stick carefully to the CTA and the ad’s objective, and only focus on one individual message.
  • Add captions to every video. Not only will this make your video accessible for everyone with hearing disabilities, it can grab users attention since all videos start with the sound off.
  • Test different objectives to see what works best for you. You can use videos to drive sales, optimize for video views, reach local audiences, and more; there are a ton of different objective options you can choose from. Test them all and see what works for you. You’ll likely notice that some types of videos will perform stronger with different audiences; optimizing for video views, for example, is better than attempting to sell directly to cold traffic.

Final Thoughts

Instagram Ads have incredibly high engagement, and can yield fantastic results, no matter what the objective of your campaign is. Combined with the power of video, these ads could be unstoppable.

Note that the materials available on this site are meant for informational purposes only. Please contact a lawyer for professional advice about potential copyright concerns. 

Ready to make some engaging, high quality, high converting Instagram video ads? We can help you there. Learn more here!

Ana Gotter is a business writer specializing in social media and content marketing, though she writes on a variety of other niches and subjects. She can be contacted at anagotter.com.

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