Instagram Ads: Creative Tips for Social Advertisers

Very quickly, Instagram advertising has become a high priority for marketers. As Instagram has continued to mature as a platform, a variety of new ad formats have been introduced – Story, Carousel, Slideshow, Video, and Single Image – and with strong effectiveness among audiences.

Instagram has become a compelling platform for social advertisers because it is connected to the larger Facebook ecosystem, which provides rich data and audience targeting capabilities. There is also Facebook and Instagram’s undeniable scale. The more discoverability of Instagram profiles and scale from existing followers has encouraged a significant number of publishers, influencers, and brands to prioritize Instagram. As a result, this has created a content-rich environment that complements a variety of content-driven advertising.

In this post, we’ll highlight best practices for Instagram ad creative to engage your audiences and help you achieve a positive return on advertising spend (ROAS) all year long:


Story Ads

Instagram Stories hold a strong advantage in its ability to scale quickly, given its immediate plugin to the existing and proven Facebook to Instagram ad infrastructure. Thus, making it a highly popular format among advertisers. These full screen, high-resolution single image or video ads appear between Instagram user stories for up to 15 seconds, or until the user dismisses the ad. The shorter video format has become increasingly effective among consumers who want concise ads with an immediate call to action.

How can you stand out? For Instagram story ads, you’ll want to take advantage of the following elements:

  • Visually compelling ad with bold colors, clean fonts, and a prominent logo
  • Ad copy using four to six words
  • A focus on your product offering
  • Music or audio features
  • Swipe up feature directing users to your target web page

Be sure to pay attention to the ad specs when creating Story ads or any other creative for Instagram campaigns.

See this example from The Gap, which includes all these elements.


Carousel Ads

Carousel ads leverage the popularity of the swiping action on phones, which have made it a likable ad format offering for users. Currently, Facebook is testing a new carousel ad format that can include three photos or videos in the same post instead of just one. Tripling the images in an ad gives marketers greater creative freedom. Also, the ability to show a sequence of three static images or 15-second videos that maintain a narrative or lead to a call to action.

Here are some elements to consider when creating carousel ads:

  • Utilize high-quality photography or cinematography
  • Add as many images as possible
  • Include clear CTAs
  • Tell a cohesive story
  • Demonstrate your brand identity


Slideshow Ads

Slideshow ads are looping video ads with up to 10 images and music. It’s similar to a carousel ad, but the content scrolls on its own along to the music. You can upload an existing slideshow or create a new slideshow using the Facebook Ads Manager. Simply upload your images, arrange them to your liking, adjust the settings, and select your music. Just like a video ad, you can also choose a thumbnail and upload video captions.

Given the volume of ad creative that you’ll need to create and test to keep your campaign engaging and achieving ROAS with audiences, you can conveniently leverage winning ads and posts from Facebook. Posting them into Instagram slideshow ads can help you get the most out of your creative.

Slideshows work really well for products and services with high-quality photography or cinematography, including, but not limited to:

  • Beauty products
  • Travel and tourism
  • Entertainment

Here’s an example from the Montana state tourism board, where a slideshow of visually stunning photos and videos are used to showcase the reasons that visitors should come to the state.

instagram ad


Single Image Ads

Single image ads are what they say they are — ads with a single image. If you choose this format, you can create up to six ads with one image each. Single image ads are much easier to create than carousel ads. The first thing to do is to select the images for your ad. Next, you’ll want to be continually testing hundreds of images monthly to find winners. Then select the text field with your caption for the ad. The caption may include up to 300 characters and Facebook recommends using 125 characters. Finally, if you want to drive traffic to your site, select “Add a website URL” to fill in your website URL and select a call-to-action button.

In addition, to add more eye-catching action to single image ads, you can add clickable calls-to-action such as, to your download page, your website, an online shop, and more.

Alternatively, you can add animations. For instance, in this Volkswagen ad. What you can’t see in this still screenshot is the animation of the car entering and then exiting the screen. Keeping the ads simple, using less text, and adding movement will be more effective in attracting attention.

instagram ad


How to Create A Winning Instagram Ad Strategy

Instagram’s pure scale, evident in its reach, targeting and retargeting capabilities, has made it an attractive platform for social advertisers. As a result, moving millions in marketing dollars to run ads on it. At the same time, maintaining ROAS is important for performance advertisers, and it’s achievable with frequent creative testing. Throughout your campaign, constant creative testing is necessary to uncover winning ads, because high-performing creative can rapidly improve and increase ROAS.

Your best-performing Instagram ad creative may have a lifespan of fewer than 30 days. So you’ll need to continue your ad creative testing. Thus, producing wins that offset performance degradation that happens naturally as creative fatigues. Creative testing is absolutely required to maintain ROAS at scale. And it never stops — but the results will be worth the continual campaign and creative management.

Learn about our Creative Studio, which can help your team produce 100x ad creative at scale.

Facebook & Google Advertisers Get 300,000 Videos & Images from The Creative Studio

Consumer Acquisition’s social creative production platform for advertisers achieves a major milestone, celebrates success by offering advertisers FREE services! Facebook & Google advertisers get 300,000 videos & images from the Creative Studio.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – March 21, 2018, a Facebook and Instagram Marketing Partner offering an end-to-end solution for social advertising user acquisition, announced that its Creative Studio platform has delivered 300,000 video and image creatives to Facebook and Google advertisers. To celebrate this major milestone, Consumer Acquisition has simplified its pricing to a flat, per-unit price structure. This pricing is available today to all Facebook, Instagram, and Google App Campaign advertisers.

300,000 Videos & Images

Brian Bowman, CEO of Consumer Acquisition, said: “Since launching the Creative Studio, we’ve driven a tremendous volume of high-performing creatives to mobile app advertisers and lead generators on Facebook and Google. In addition, we analyzed our performance and discovered that our in-house team produced the most profitable results. We also expanded and trained our in-house team on direct response advertising best practices while also simplifying our pricing. Finally, we’re so confident advertisers will like our platform, we are offering free services to new advertisers.”

Quality & Performance

Quality and performance matter most with digital advertising campaigns. To achieve this, a considerable investment in creative development offers advertisers the best chance at achieving campaign performance goals. Advertisers can receive a high volume of fresh creative concepts from a hand-picked creative team that is experienced in Facebook and Google advertising best practices. Additionally, the white-glove service offering of the in-house professional design teams will streamline creative brief generation to deliver the highest quality assets for advertiser campaigns.

Free Services

  • 10-second video for all new advertisers.
  • Best practice audit on any Facebook ad account.
  • Access to Shutterstock’s library of over 180 million images and videos.
  • Whitepaper, “Creative Ideas for Facebook Advertisers”.

creative studio videos & images

About Consumer Acquisition

Founded in 2013, Consumer Acquisition is a badged Facebook and Instagram Marketing Partner that offers the world’s first end-to-end user acquisition platform with fully-managed services or self-service platforms for ad management and creative optimization. The company has acquired over 100 million app installs and leads for Glu Mobile, Lucktastic, Nordcurrent, Checkout51, Ford, EBATES, and many others. Solutions include fully managed services where our user acquisition and creative experts execute all creative production and campaign management and our SaaS campaign management and creative platforms to optimize ads and refresh creatives. For more information, visit

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.

Media Contact: Kate Pietrelli for Consumer Acquisition


How Brands Can Drive Agency Performance Through High-Stakes Competitions

This article was originally published on Forbes.  User acquisition within the mobile landscape is highly competitive, and media-buying agencies are always under pressure to perform for their clients. However, agencies can become complacent, which leads to underperformance on campaigns — click-through rates dropping and user acquisition costs rising. A stagnating media-buying initiative is ultimately costing the marketer considerable sums of the budget. How do you reset the cycle of agency underperformance? Introducing: “bake-offs” — agency versus agency competitions designed to increase digital media performance for brands in both the short- and long-term.


How To Drive Agency Performance


High stakes, high pressure. Bake-off-style agency competitions offer marketers a way to generate greater performance and transparency across their digital media ad campaigns. These head-to-head competitions between two or more agency teams (internal or external) can reap greater benefits than simply an uptick in performance. They can also lead to better communication and relationships between brands and agencies that provide value for the long run.

For instance, a brand could match a new potential agency with a current, well-performing agency and ask the two teams to acquire the highest-quality iOS and Android users for 30 days. Each agency will then have the opportunity to showcase its expertise in acquisition strategies, planning, and execution to achieve a set target and reap the client rewards based on performance.


Structuring Your Bake-Off

Once you’ve selected your agency teams for the competition, set your ground rules and goals. It should be very clear which metrics and performance results you’re using to evaluate performance among your agencies. For instance, performance can be measured on return on advertising spend (ROAS), volume, click-through rates, or other key performance indicators (KPIs).

Also, set the frequency and transparency of communication on results between your agencies to ensure consistency and to remove bias between them. We recommend exchanging metrics twice a week, such as Tuesdays and Fridays, to ensure all parties are informed of performance.


Competition Ground Rules

Your bake-off should have a limited period of time to run, such as 30 days. This will generate returns quickly for evaluating performance. Set a goal for spending, as well. For instance, a budget of $100,000 per partner with the requirement of spending 90% of the budget within the timeframe will demonstrate an ability to drive scale and volume. You can also distinguish how you’d like the budget set between platforms and which types of ads to test (e.g., display versus rewarded video).

To create a level playing field, seed your agencies with a fresh account. Also, with the same creative and audiences at the start of the campaign. After the first day, allow your agencies to optimize creative and audiences separately to gauge ability.

Maintain transparency between your competitors by distributing performance reports across the teams twice weekly, such as click-through rates, install rates, and revenue generated. But do not share creative or other best practices. Communication of results through the campaign is a motivator for driving greater performance.


The Stakes

You guessed it — the winner takes all, gladiator style! The outperforming agency with the highest net profit driven by their media buying campaign in this competition will gain access to the brand’s accounts and acquisition budget going forward — clear and simple.


What Brands Can Expect To Gain Through Agency Performance

Bake-offs will generate the best practices of each agency in developing creatives. Also, the winning creative concepts and new variations will seed into campaigns. As a result, this will further reduce spend on non-converting ad creatives.

Further, marketers will gain best practices for user acquisition from each agency and more data to identify issues. Shifting budgets weekly between campaigns based on performance throughout the competition will also increase performance. An uplift in the acquisition, revenue, and ROAS can certainly be anticipated in an intense competition such as this.

Too many cooks in the kitchen? An additional, unexpected benefit for advertisers is that the process will make transitioning from managed to self-service campaigns far easier. Thus, trimming down overhead to run campaigns.

It’s a competitive mobile market and brands must think creatively about how to optimize their resources to drive performance. The bake-off should be a strategy within every marketer’s arsenal for more effective results this year.


agency performance Launches Shutterstock Collection Within Custom Ad Creation Studio

Creative Studio Carries Shutterstock’s Library of over 180 Million Images and Videos. Providing Advertisers with Fresh Custom Ad Creation Content and Editing Solutions to Scale Ad Creative

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – February 2018

Shutterstock Collection within Custom Ad Creation Studio, a Facebook Marketing Partner offering the world’s first end-to-end user acquisition platform, today announced that Shutterstock’s library of over 180 million images and videos will now be available through its Creative Studio. Starting today, advertisers can access Shutterstock’s content through a unified marketplace. From there, they can tap into professional video editors, designers, and ad copywriters to generate custom ad creation. The custom ad creation can be used for Facebook, Instagram, and Google’s universal app campaigns.

Brian Bowman, CEO of Consumer Acquisition, said: “Shutterstock’s content library will greatly enhance our Creative Studio offering and allow us to grow our partnerships with major brands as they look to create high-performance ad creative at scale. Advertisers need to quickly replace fatigued ads and discover new winners. This will result in maintaining a profitable return on ad spend (ROAS). Shutterstock’s vast video and image collection combined with our resources for generating ad creative is a key offering that we can now provide through our Creative Studio.”

Shutterstock images and videos now available through Consumer Acquisition’s proprietary Creative Studio will enable creative innovation at scale. The marketplace connects advertisers with a global network of video editors, designers, and ad copywriters. They develop branded content iterations for the fast-paced ad market of today. Advertisers simply write a creative brief or collaborate with a concierge service for brief writing and creative management. Then, they receive videos, images, and ad copy ready for testing. After running selected ad creatives on Facebook or Google platforms, performance reports automatically identify poor performers and recommend new ad creative launches. Additionally, the Creative Studio offers enhanced reporting capabilities by rolling up data across creatives elements. Also, by drilling down to uncover meaningful insights and robust ad-building capabilities.

About Consumer Acquisition

Founded in 2013, Consumer Acquisition is a badged Facebook and Google Marketing Partner that offers the world’s first end-to-end user acquisition platform with a Creative Studio for Google and Facebook, AI-powered automation, and action-based reporting for Facebook Advertisers. The company has acquired over 100 million app installs and leads for Glu Mobile, Checkout51, EBATES, Lucktastic, TubiTV, and many others.

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.

Google® is a registered trademark of Google, Inc.

Media Contact: Kate Pietrelli for Consumer Acquisition

custom ad creation


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