8 Instagram Ad Examples That Showcase Effective Visual Storytelling

Rizfa Khainayya

Rizfa Khainayya

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through your Instagram feed and suddenly stopped at an ad that was so visually stunning that it evoked some emotion? Or, have you ever come across an Instagram ad that was so poorly executed that you could not help but cringe? 

Love or hate them, Instagram ads have become integral to our social media experience. As a business owner or marketer, using Instagram ads effectively can make a huge difference in reaching your target audience and driving conversions. 

This article will explore some Instagram ad examples that inspire you to create visually appealing and effective ads that stand out on this highly competitive platform.

Before we dive into specific examples of successful Instagram ads, let’s take a moment to discuss why incorporating Instagram ads into your marketing strategy can be so beneficial.

With Instagram ads, you can:

  • Reach a larger audience than organic posts.
  • Target specific demographics, interests, and behaviors.
  • Drive website traffic and conversions.
  • Build brand awareness and credibility.

The Statistics

According to a survey done by Kepios Analysis, Advertisers can reach 26.5% of the internet population through Instagram ads.

According to Instagram, 70% of shopping enthusiasts use Instagram for product discovery.

From a study conducted by Instagram, 1/3 of the most viewed stories are from businesses.

The annual advertising revenue of Instagram is steadily increasing. In 2020, Instagram accumulated 17.4 billion U.S. dollars in ad revenues in the United States. The social media platform, owned by Facebook, is projected to reach roughly 40 billion U.S. dollars in annual ad sales in 2023. Source

All the data proves one thing: Instagram Ads are essential to advertising.

Best Instagram Ad Examples

Unusual yet effective Brand Awareness- Air

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A post shared by Air (@air.hq)

Air is a creative asset management platform that automates organizing, finding, approving, and sharing content. The ad is shot interview style, asking creators about their creative process. Then slowly, the air in the room is removed, and the creators inevitably suffocate. Though this ad does not explicitly educate the viewer about the product, its bizarre nature commands attention. 

The idea is simple- without Air, you’ll die. The ad promotes Brand awareness and solidifies the idea that Air is the software necessary(just like real air) for creators and marketers alike. 

Dynamic Cinematography and Sustainability- Apple

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A post shared by apple (@apple)

Apple is known for its exemplary ads, and this one is no different. The video shows a robot named Daisy, which recycles iPhones and retrieves valuable metals from the phone’s hardware. 

Shot fantastically, that too on an iPhone, the ad pushes three notions:

  1. Apple, as a brand, makes conscious efforts to recycle.
  2. Apple’s phones are made from the best materials.
  3. The iPhone’s camera is phenomenal.

Playing on an Adrenaline Rush- Nike Football

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A post shared by Nike (@nike)

Nike’s Football line produced this metaphorical advertisement- stitching clips of women hitting a ball in a football tournament with a gigantic football hitting a bus. The final edit makes it seem as though the football kicked from the field is what’s hitting the bus. A metaphor for the strength and vigor players have while playing football. 

The ad does not have any explicit product placement, but it plays on the viewers’ emotions and thus cementing the idea of Nike’s football being committed to the sport just how much an average fan is. 

Heritage and Craftsmanship Unified- Gucci

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A post shared by @gucci

“This bag is not just a bag.”- The Gucci ad for its Bamboo 1947 bag is traditional. The sole focus is on the bag, we get a voiceover describing the bag and a complimentary non-distracting background score. The ad is simplicity perfected.

The woman talks about the heritage of Gucci, the craftsmanship, and the bespoke nature of the bag. This speaks to the target audience- luxury seekers. Each frame of the ad also corresponds with what is being said at the moment. Another tiny detail is the fact that the voiceover is done by an older woman, giving the viewer an auditory experience of the age and refinement of Gucci. 

Perfect for your home- Ikea

Ikea advertises their new air quality sensor, VINDSTYRKA, in this photo of a dog looking in the mirror with strategic product placement. It almost does not feel like an ad but a normal photo posted by a friend. The ingenuity lies in making it look like something you can envision in your home.

This ad creates a desire for the product through the following factors:

  1. The casual moment speaks to an average viewer who wants to be more environmentally conscious.
  2. The small dog juxtaposed with the product shows how portable and handy the sensor is.
  3. Visually the dog is just slightly off-focus compared to the sensor, making the sensor the true center of attention but not too on the nose.
  4. No logos or text further drives the feeling of warmth and homeliness.

The Perfect Instagram Moment- Starbucks

Starbucks is the quintessential Instagram drink– This ad for the Paradise Drink Starbucks Refreshers takes advantage of this title well. Pictured here is a person holding a drink at what seems to be a picnic and in the midst of a painting session. The elements in the photo complement the color of the drink. The composition is exquisite, playing on greens and yellows, communicating the feeling of spring. 

The photo appeals to Instagram-savvy people who are looking to create a photo-worthy moment. The ad promotes a lifestyle of leisure and good aesthetics with youthful elements.

Appealing to the Artistic Senses- Pantone 

Pantone’s ad for its Formula Guide is for all the artists and painters who care greatly about color-matching. The photo juxtaposes something organic in shape, like tulips, with the structured cards yet exactly showcasing an exact match with all the shades of pink tying the elements together. 

The hard contrast and identical colors catch the viewer’s eye and truly illustrate the wide range of colors provided by the Formula guide. The flat lay also appeals to one’s visual senses with its minimalism. The ad promotes Pantone for what it really is about- color.

Keeping up with Meme Culture- McDonalds

McDonalds is a fast-food chain liked by all, but this specific ad is more targeted toward a younger demographic. Memes are the pinnacle of present-day pop culture; if you look at the company’s Instagram page, it’s mostly memes. McDonalds does not take itself too seriously on Instagram, and this sentiment has helped the brand achieve relatability. 

This particular carousel of memes is a meta take on viral Mcdonald’s memes, such as everyone thinking that the ice cream spoon was a straw, people not knowing what to order at the drive-through, etc. The brand is essentially poking fun at itself- a trend that seems to be very popular with the younger generation. 

5 Techniques for Effective Visual Storytelling on Instagram Ads

The Power of Color

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A post shared by pepsi (@pepsi)

Using color is a powerful way to connect your audience emotionally. Different colors can evoke different emotions, which can be used to reinforce your messaging and create a specific mood. Using the right colors can help your ad stand out in the cluttered Instagram feed, grab the viewer’s attention, and make them more likely to engage with your brand.

The Halo Effect 

The halo effect is a psychological phenomenon where positive traits of a product or brand can influence the perception of unrelated traits. Incorporating a visually striking element in your ad that represents your brand and its positive qualities can create a halo effect that extends to the entire ad, making it more appealing to the viewer. This can increase the likelihood of them engaging with your brand or product.


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A post shared by Burger King (@burgerking)

Repetition is a powerful tool to reinforce messaging and create brand recognition. By repeating a logo, color, or design element in your Instagram ads, you can establish a consistent visual identity that makes your brand more recognizable to your target audience. This can help to create a sense of familiarity with your brand, making it more likely for viewers to engage with your ads.

The Direct Gaze Technique

The direct gaze technique involves using a model or spokesperson who makes eye contact with the viewer in your ad. This can create a sense of connection and establish trust with the audience. Using this technique in your Instagram ads can make your brand more relatable and approachable, increasing the likelihood of viewers engaging with your brand.


Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols and how they convey meaning. Incorporating symbols or imagery with cultural significance to your target audience can create a deeper connection and convey your message more effectively. Using semiotics in your Instagram ads, you can tap into your audience’s cultural background, making your ad more meaningful and memorable.

By using these techniques in your Instagram ads, you can create visually compelling and effective ads that resonate with your target audience, build brand awareness, and drive results.

How to Maximize Your Instagram Ads’ Efficacy

  1. Understand your target audience – Before creating an ad, research your target audience and understand what visuals will resonate with them.
  1. Use high-quality visuals – Make sure your visuals are visually stunning and high-quality. This will help your ad stand out in the cluttered Instagram feed.
  1. Keep it simple and focused – Don’t try to tell too many stories in one ad. Keep the messaging focused and use the visuals to support that messaging.
  1. Use captions effectively – Captions can be a powerful tool to add context to the visual and reinforce the messaging.
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A post shared by Duolingo (@duolingo)

  1. Incorporate branding – Ensure your ad includes branding elements to create consistency and build brand awareness.
  1. Experiment with different formats – There are a variety of Instagram ad formats, including carousel, video, and Stories ads. Experiment with different formats to find the best for your brand and messaging.
  1. Analyze ad performance – Use Instagram’s analytics tools to analyze ad performance and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Related Blog: Ultimate Guide for Instagram Marketing in 2023 – Advize

Final Thoughts

Effective visual storytelling is a powerful tool for creating impactful Instagram ads that capture the attention of your target audience and drive engagement.

 By using techniques such as the power of color, the halo effect, repetition, the direct gaze technique, and semiotics, businesses can create visually compelling ads that tell a story and communicate their brand message. 

Additionally, by utilizing the different types of Instagram ads, such as photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, collection ads, explore ads, stories ads, and Reel ads, businesses can reach their target audience and achieve their advertising goals.

 With these tools and techniques at their disposal, businesses can create highly effective Instagram ads that resonate with their audience and drive results.

It is also to be noted that making attention-grabbing visuals for your ads is not enough on its own to achieve advertising success. Constantly monitoring your ad performance and taking action is required to maintain the momentum of your advertising strategy. This is where AdVize comes in. Developed with AI/ML algorithms, AdVize optimizes your ads to a different level. 
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