The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Video Ads: Strategies for 2023



If you’re a business owner looking for an effective marketing tool, you might want to consider Instagram video ads. Instagram has over 1 billion active users, and the platform’s video content is particularly engaging. That’s why creating Instagram video ads can be a game-changer for your business. Instagram video ads allow you to showcase your products or services, reach a wider audience, and drive conversions

Instagram was first designed for pictures. Despite its various filters and embellishments, the social media site is still largely renowned for photographs. However, it is rapidly growing, and video content on Instagram is exploding.

Every day, 500 million individuals use Instagram. In addition, half of Instagram users have visited a website after viewing a product or service on the platform. Therefore, making video ads for your Instagram account is a great idea for every business owner.

Setting up Instagram video ads

The first thing you have to do is create an Instagram account. After you create it, you have to know the various Instagram video platforms and placement options, including Stories, Reels, In-Stream, and Explore. We will discuss these features later in this article.

To create the ads, the simplest approach is to use Facebook’s (Meta’s) Ad Manager. You can go to your Facebook Page and click on the “ad center” and then click “manage ad.” For more information about how to place an ads in meta platform, please visit this article: “A Step by step guide to Facebook Ads for 2023

Selecting the goals of your ad

The Ad Manager enables you to explore the goals you wish to achieve with your advertising. You have a variety of options, and you should consider them carefully. Different objectives only work in specific contexts.


Without lingering any longer, Let’s understand all these campaign goals.

Brand Awareness

Obviously, you want people to be aware of your brand. These two factors are predicated on getting as many people to see your company’s work as possible. As a result, it’s no surprise that they’ve checked off practically every platform.

Traffic and video views

Then there’s traffic, which affects each platform. Because brand awareness and reach aren’t often dependent on purchasing something, they don’t mark the Shop box. However, if you want traffic and video views, you should use every accessible platform.


Engagement is predicated on gaining as many likes and comments as possible while using the fewest number of target platforms. You’re best off publishing on the main Feed and Explore platforms for this reason, since they lend themselves nicely to clicks.

App installs, lead generation and messages

These three goals are based on interactions with customers. As a result, it stands to reason that, like engagement, they are effectively serviced by Feed and Explore. They also perform well with Stories since it draws more attention to your business and can lead to direct engagement with customers.

Conversion and Catalog Sales

These goals are all about converting Instagram views into money. So it seems to reason that they check off the majority of the major categories, as well as the Shop platform. Where they vary is that conversions are more suited for Reels, but catalog sales aren’t as well suited for video.

Store Traffic

If you want to increase foot traffic to your physical business, the two most popular Instagram platforms are great. Feed and Stories advertisements can both encourage consumers to visit your business.

Instagram Video Ads Specs

Different Instagram placements require different types of creatives. Use the placements that relate to your goals, and make sure you understand the required ad specs for each placement

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are a crucial aspect of Instagram’s overall platform. They are highly engaging, with users spending an average of 30 minutes per day watching them. This high level of engagement means that video ads on Instagram Stories have a higher chance of being seen and remembered by users.

Instagram Stories advertisements are full-screen, vertical photo or video advertising that is presented to target audiences while they surf Instagram Stories.  And because a lot of people are surfing Instagram Stories, it’s a pretty good bet.

Unlike personal Instagram Stories, ads posted on the platform don’t automatically disappear after 24 hours. Instead, you may specify how long you want the ad to run.

Instagram Story ad specs:

  • Resolution: 1080×1080 pixels.
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16.
  • All formats should be either MP4 or MOV.
  • Maximum duration: 2 minutes (but usually you’ll want to go shorter)
  • Max video size: 4MB.
  • Video sound and captions are optional, but highly recommended


Reels are still a comparatively recent ad placement on Instagram, having debuted in August, 2020. They’re similar to Instagram Stories ads.  Reels have exploded in popularity on Instagram, and are now a major source of entertainment and engagement for users. 

Three screen mockups for Instagram reels, which further doubles up as an addition to the Instagram Video Ads.
Reels Announcement by Instagram

They are full-screen, vertical films that appear between ordinary, non-sponsored tales and reels, similar to Instagram Story advertising. They’re also labeled as sponsored..

Instagram video ads using reels

Reels advertising, on the other hand, may be up to 30 seconds long and can be liked, commented on, saved, and shared. They are comparable to ordinary Reels and Instagram posts in this regard. By leveraging Reel ads, businesses can get their message in front of a large, engaged audience and increase their brand awareness.

Instagram Reel

  • Recommended resolution: 1080×1080.
  • Aspect ratio: 4:5.
  • Recommended video formats include MP4 and MOV.
  • Max video size is 30GB.
  • Max video length is 2 minutes.

Instagram Explore Ads

Explore is a relatively new ad placement option, but it makes a lot of sense as a marketing channel. This is due to the fact that individuals are continually perusing the Explore page. Explore has approximately 200 million daily active accounts that visit the page, and 50% of all Instagram accounts view Explore at least once a month.

Explore Page Ad for H&M kids clothing

Explore also targets users with posts specifically for them. As a result, your ads have a decent chance of reaching people who are interested in your product.

There are minimal restrictions for Explore advertising; however, you should follow some basic rules:

  • Recommended resolution: Upload the highest resolution video possible
  • Video length: 1 to 120 seconds
  • Video file size: Up to 4 GB
  • Video captions are optional but highly recommended.

Instagram Shop Ads

Instagram has also just begun to accept ads on its Shop platform. This platform is a fantastic one to target for retailers because consumers are already using it to look for products.

  • Recommended image size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Image format: .jpg or .png.
  • Maximum file size: 30 MB

How to Make Instagram Video Ads More Effective?

Once you’ve determined where and how to post your video, these are a few recommendations regarding the actual content.

Mobile Friendly Video

You must consider the positioning, but it is also more basic than that. Instagram is a smartphone application. Your videos must be vertical (1080×1920) or square (1080×1080).

Instagram users prefer vertical video content, which is why Reels and Stories have been so successful. To optimize your video ads for mobile devices, consider shooting vertical footage whenever possible. Vertical videos take up more screen space on mobile devices and are more likely to capture the viewer’s attention.

Here are some tips for shooting vertical footage for your Instagram video ads:

Frame Your Shots Vertically: When framing your shots, remember to keep your phone in a vertical position. Avoid turning your phone horizontally as this will result in black bars on the sides of your video, reducing the viewing experience for your audience.

Use the Rule of Thirds: The rule of thirds is a simple yet effective composition technique that can help you create visually appealing shots. Imagine dividing your screen into thirds horizontally and vertically, creating a grid. 

Grid Feature to help record shoot good quality video for Instagram Video Ads
Grid Feature to aid applying Rule of Thirds

Most cameras and phones have a grid feature that can be turned on while shooting.  Try placing your subject or main focal point along the gridlines or at one of the intersections. This can help create a balanced and visually interesting shot.

Use Movement to Your Advantage: Adding movement to your vertical footage can help make your video more dynamic and engaging. Try panning left or right, zooming in or out, or adding subtle camera movements to your shots. Just be careful not to overdo it as too much movement can be distracting and disorienting for your audience.

Consider Lighting and Audio: Good lighting and audio are crucial for creating high-quality video ads. When shooting your video, make sure you’re in a well-lit area or use external lighting if necessary. Lighting placement essentially decides the mood of your video.  Additionally, make sure your audio is clear and easy to understand. If you’re shooting in a noisy environment, consider using a microphone to capture better audio quality. 

Three-second Rule for the beginning of your video

After you follow the basic rule, you have to think about how your audience will attach to your ads. To answer this question, simply follow the three-second rule. It’s as simple as adding some interesting, controversial, and straight-to-the-point sentences to hook the audience. Many people call it “clickbait.” Why does it really matter? The first three seconds of your video determine whether the audience will stay or leave and scroll. How to create a clickbait sentence? We usually use this method called “SHINE’ including:





Entertainment value

Caption is the king

Captions are a simple technique to increase attention in an Instagram ad. A caption can help contextualize your video, provide additional information, and prompt your audience to take action. You may also saturate them with hashtags and pertinent information to make them more appealing to consumers.

Here are some reasons why a good caption is essential for your Instagram video ads:

Helps Convey Your Message: A caption can provide additional information about your video, helping your audience better understand your message. Use your caption to provide context, explain your product or service, or highlight the key features or benefits of your offering.

Encourages Engagement: A good caption can encourage engagement from your audience. Use your caption to ask a question, invite comments, or prompt your audience to take a specific action such as clicking on a link or tagging a friend.

Improves Discoverability: Captions can help improve the discoverability of your video ads. Use relevant hashtags and keywords in your caption to make your ad more visible to your target audience. This can increase your reach and help you attract new followers and customers.

Reflects Your Brand Voice: Your caption is an opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality and tone of voice. Use language that is consistent with your brand identity and messaging to help build a stronger connection with your audience.

Even with audio-only places such as Reels, it might be beneficial to include some subtitles and text to keep the user interested. Captions also make video material more accessible to folks who have hearing issues or who use Instagram without sound.

Know your competitors

Sometimes, it’s really necessary to look at your competitor’s Instagram video ad. It can help you analyze the gap that hasn’t been mentioned by your competitors. These unmentioned things could be your big opportunity. To analyze your competitor’s Instagram ads, you can check them on Meta Ad Library. All you have to do is just type your competitor’s name and then select the region and ad category. After that, the search results will appear, and you can start to analyze them.

Be Authentic

People nowadays seek not only the product but also the brand. To meet that circumstance, you need to highlight your authentic character that really represents both the product and the brand. An iconic tagline will help the audience identify you faster, and it will be easier to stay on their minds. You can also develop an identical creative approach for all your Instagram ads such as similar design, color, voice, etc. 

Solve Your Audience’s Problem

Demand comes from unsolved problems. When you start providing a solution, you will control the demand. It also happened when you created an Instagram ad video. People will be more attracted to your video when they realize that you are the problem solver. How to be a good problem solver? You just need to be straightforward, clear, and focused on the solution.

Call to Action (CTA) 

If the content, copywriting, and video are your midfielders, the CTA is your striker. CTA is really important to convince, ask, and change people’s minds. It helps you close the deal and get a better conversion. To create a good CTA, you have to be concise and use power words such as “you,” “free,” “now,” “new,” etc. Furthermore, the thing you must know about the CTA is the placement. According to Wistia, CTA in the middle of the video have a better conversion rate than those at the beginning or end of the video.

Related Blog: Boost Your Ad Conversions With These 15 Call-to-Action Examples

Wrapping Up

Instagram video ads are really essential to your business. It allows you to get more engagement, which could lead to better conversion. To make your Instagram video ad more effective, there are certain guidelines that could help you. In general, all you need to do are just determine your ad goals, create interesting content, and select an Instagram video platform.

When it comes to the execution, there are details about which you have to be concerned. Details such as copywriting, video composition, captions, brand identity, etc will affect your Instagram video ad performances. Therefore, you need to consider all of these factors very carefully, and most importantly, keep practicing!
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