Creating images for Instagram ads

Posted on 27 Oct 2016
Reader Question:

Doctor Digital, I heard Instagram are now doing ads, how do I make one and make it stand out in such a visual medium?

Doctor Digital Says:

Instagram has aggressively entered the advertising space thanks to their merger with Facebook, and have five main area of focus for your business advertising:  mobile app installs, video views, and reach/engagement, clicks to website and website conversions. If you regularly use Facebook advertising these objectives will be very familiar to you and work well in both channels.

The difference in Instagram for business is previously businesses have only been able to send potential customers to their website from their profile link – now they can do it direct from an ad, which is a game changer for the power of the Instagram ad to directly convert and if you have a large and/or growing Instagram following, is probably a good place to start leveraging some sales growth.

The Instagram ads look seamlessly like part of the normal feed, your followers will see a sponsored ad with an image, a description, and a clickable call-to-action button that will take them to your site. Call-to-action buttons include the options you’re already familiar with from Facebook, including Book Now, Contact Us, Shop Now, and Learn More.

Another significant change to the Instagram advertising format is that previously, the images and videos you shared on Instagram had to be cropped into a square format. While that option is still available, you can now use landscape and portrait formats as well.

These formats allow you to make your images taller or wider than the square format allows. This gives you more cropping options to ensure your images show everything you want in them. Plus, the unusual formats help your posts stand out in Instagram’s feed where everyone is used to the same old shape. Sneaky!

Not only are static images on the advertising menu, you can now also create videos up to 60 seconds in length as part of your advertising mix. Video is a pleasing change on Instagram where the majority of images used are still, well, stills, and a bit of colour and movement will always be significantly stickier.

You can make your ad creative using a tool like Canva which will give you the right sized templates and format to create the visual copy, and then you upload into Facebook when you are making your ad campaign and make sure that Instagram is enabled for the target audience. You can also use local graphic designers or freelancers to make you a suite of collateral to use in your campaigns, but critically no matter how you make your images, make sure that the look and feel is similar to the style of images and messages common on Instagram, it’s one thing to stand out, and another to be completely off message. Looking native in your Instagram environment with a compelling call to arms is the way forward for sales growth, web conversions and raving fans.