July 19, 2024


The Intersection of Information and Insight

3 Instagram video ad tips to captivate your audience

5 min read

Video content is hugely popular on Instagram, with up to 91% of users watching videos on the platform weekly.

This presents a major opportunity for businesses to capture audience attention through Instagram video ads. 

Below are key strategies for developing compelling Instagram video ads that translate to returns.

1. Think mobile-first

Craft mobile-first Instagram video ads to seamlessly integrate with the mobile experience. Traditional ads retrofitted for mobile won’t cut it.

Mobile-first ads are watched longer, resulting in higher aided recall, per a Meta study of 759 video ads across 25 countries. Mobile-first ads: 

  • Typically feature early brand introduction.
  • Have shorter durations, typically under 20 seconds.
  • Take sound-off environment into consideration. 

The ability of mobile-first ads to fit into a user’s on-the-go, fast-paced interaction with their devices is one of the primary reasons they’re more effective in capturing and retaining audience engagement. 

Let’s look at a handful of important aspects to keep in mind to ensure your ads are being built with this mobile-first mentality.

Vertical video

While adopting vertical video may seem like an obvious choice, it is an element that benefits from more thoughtful execution. Simply adjusting the orientation of a video to fit the vertical format is the easy part; the true impact lies in leveraging the vertical real estate to its fullest potential. 

You can set yourself apart by approaching the capture of your footage and layout of your edit to strategically exploit the vertical space. Consider the unique canvas that a vertical frame provides. 

A couple of examples:

  • Have your ad’s animated graphics/elements unfold vertically in a visually pleasing way that follows the natural flow of mobile scrolling.
  • Frame the subjects of your video when filming to occupy more of that vertical space. 

By tailoring your content to the vertical layout, you adhere to user behavior while enhancing your video’s immersive quality. 

Closed captions

Using closed captions is another powerful way to optimize your Instagram video ads. Instagram provides tools to easily integrate captions into your video to enhance accessibility and engagement in sound-off environments. 

If you’re looking for 100% accuracy, you can upload your own SRT file, which you would need to create separately, or you can leverage the platform’s automated caption generation feature. 

However, you can go the extra mile by embedding custom captions through your video editing software, providing control beyond mere accuracy. 

With this advanced approach, you can intricately synchronize the timing of your captions’ appearance in the video, control their animation and customize their appearance to align with your brand’s identity. 

Custom captions are subtle yet influential in delivering a cohesive and visually compelling ad. Tiny details can positively impact user engagement. 

Investing time in creating unique captions for your Instagram video ads can greatly enhance their impact and resonance.


You can elevate your Instagram video ads by actively involving your audience through interactive features like shopping tags or polls. These tools enhance the user experience and surface valuable insights into your audience’s preferences. 

Integrating shopping tags into your videos will allow users to explore and purchase products with a simple tap on your ad and create a frictionless path from discovery to conversion. 

Incorporating polls directly into your videos provides a dynamic way to gauge your audience’s thoughts and preferences while providing you with real-time feedback that can inform future content strategies. 

This two-way communication fosters a sense of inclusivity, where your audience feels heard and valued and turns passive viewers into engaged participants. Both of these features enhance the overall user experience and position your brand as responsive and attuned to the needs and preferences of your Instagram audience.

Early brand introduction

The opening moments of your Instagram video ad are crucial. Ensuring that your message and brand are introduced early in the video enhances the likelihood of user retention and recall. 

It’s more than just putting a logo on the screen. Integrate your brand naturally into the video’s story to make your ad feel authentic and help users feel less like they’re just being sold to. This leads us to our next best practice.

Dig deeper: Instagram Ad formats: Best practices for effective ad creative

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2. Be authentic 

Being genuine is crucial in today’s digital marketing. Successful content often embraces a less polished, more spontaneous look and feel.

This can include filming with phone cameras instead of higher-end professional cameras or having talent hold and speak directly to the camera in a vlog-style fashion. 

It feels counterintuitive, and I remember having my doubts the first time I ran ads that went for this style, but the results quickly dissolved those doubts. 

Achieving this rougher aesthetic while maintaining your brand’s guidelines might be difficult, but it’s a strong option in your arsenal of creative choices to engage your audience effectively. 

Other platforms like TikTok have notably embraced this more human and unscripted approach. Instagram, with its diverse user base, tends to respond to it positively. 

It goes beyond the traditional corporate tone and establishes a relatable and human dimension to your brand.

3. Resonate with younger demographics

Alongside being authentic, understanding and appealing to the distinct demographic makeup of Instagram is key to running successful video ads on the platform.

Instagram attracts a younger audience, with over 60% of users between 18 and 34. Tailor your ads to match the preferences and behaviors of the younger audience for maximum impact. Adjust the tone, style, and content to resonate with their interests and aspirations. 

Whether referencing trending memes, using popular music, or incorporating relatable moments of their lifestyle, the key is creating content seamlessly integrating into their digital experience. 

By adapting your approach to match the nuances of your target audience, you establish relatability and foster a stronger connection that goes beyond a transactional interaction, which can build long-term brand loyalty.

Creativity is key

Like most things, there will always be exceptions to the rule, and there are no guarantees for success.

Although these tips and best practices will certainly increase the odds of finding those winning video ads, there’s simply no replacement for creativity. 

Creativity still reigns supreme on the Instagram platform. It has no bounds, and rules can be bent if there’s informed intent behind exploring those boundaries.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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