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Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Video Ads

You can have the best product or solution for your niche, but no one will buy it if they don’t know that your brand exists. Advertising is the road to success, and online advertising through social media platforms like Instagram can help elevate your brand more rapidly than relying solely on generic Google ads. Even better, Instagram ads connect you more directly to customers, facilitating emotional bonds that are harder to ignore.But Instagram as a social media platform is inundated with advertisers already. So if you want your video ads to stick with your core audience and drive conversions, you’ll need to know everything you can about making and targeting your Instagram video ads successfully.

Starting Off: Campaign Objectives

Before creating your video ads or starting a marketing campaign, you’ll first need to establish some campaign objectives. To start using Instagram Ads, navigate to the Facebook Ad Manager: the primary control hub for both Instagram advertisements and Facebook ads.While Facebook has 13 campaign objectives to choose from, Instagram has 11 in total for feed ads and seven for stories ads (more on those distinctions below).The selectable campaign objectives allow you to narrow your marketing campaign’s goals and help Instagram’s algorithms target key consumers that will be most likely to respond to your video ads based on their content, focus, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the campaign objectives you can choose for Instagram feed ads:

  • Brand awareness, which helps your target audience become more aware of your company. It can also be useful for maintaining a target audience over time, such as in between big product pushes
  • Reach, which helps you to reach more consumers or expand your market. Small companies looking to become larger will focus on this campaign more frequently
  • Traffic, which focuses your ads on generating traffic for your main website or app store
  • Engagement, which drives engagement between your target audience and your brand. Again, this can help retain your audience over the long-term
  • App installs, which is self-explanatory: it drives downloads and installs of your app. This specialized campaign objective is only appropriate for brands that offer apps for download in the first place
  • Video views, which are ideal for brands that want to push their video advertisements
  • Lead generation, which assists with generating leads for companies that often require consultation or several meetings before getting a client or customer to sign on
  • Conversions, which helps drive leads to convert on your website or digital store
  • Catalog sales, which is also self-explanatory
  • Store traffic – this is essentially a focused version of the regular traffic campaign objective, more suited to brands with online stores they want to boost significantly
  • Messages, which can help to drive engagement and conversion if you have a chat interface or customer service department you want to direct traffic to

The above-bolded objectives are available for Instagram Stories ads. While the available objectives for Instagram Stories ads are limited right now, it’s likely that all the campaign objectives above will eventually become available for any Instagram ad you choose to create.As you can see, Instagram offers a relatively extensive list of campaign objectives to choose from. Pick the one that best suits your marketing goals, which you should already have identified before starting your marketing campaign.All of these campaign objectives can work for video ads. However, the long-form possibilities of video advertising make video ads naturally suited for campaign objectives like conversion, video views, store traffic, and lead generation goals.

Instagram Ad Targeting Options

The second half of setting up your Instagram marketing campaign is configuring your targeting options. Through the Facebook Ad Manager, you’ll be able to target specific Instagram users so you aren’t competing with larger brands that dominate your market niche and so you don’t waste your marketing dollars trying to get everyone on the platform interested in your brand (an impossibility).Targeting a specific core audience for your company is important as it allows your marketing campaign to be more focused and to offer more true value to your core consumers. This, in turn, will make your brand more valuable and your marketing campaign more effective.Instagram offers a variety of targeting controls you can tweak. These include:

  • Location, which helps you target Instagram users based on their country, state, ZIP Code, and more. This can be particularly helpful for small local businesses whose only clients will logically be those geographically close to their practices
  • Age, which naturally allows you to target different age ranges
  • Gender, which let you target either all Instagram users or men or women
  • Languages, which you should actually leave blank in most cases unless you are targeting an uncommon language in your region
  • Demographics – this could be the most important targeting control on the list. This is found under the “detailed targeting” tab, which will have various subcategories. Choosing the subcategories that are most accurate to your core audience will help Instagram’s algorithms bring your ads to the people most likely to convert into paying customers
  • Interests, which is similar to demographics. It also contains multiple subcategories. Be as specific as possible, particularly if you are a small business interested in cultivating a very tight niche of users
  • Behaviors, which is similar to both demographics and interests. There are multiple subcategories to sift through
  • Connections, which allow you to target people that are connected to your app, event, or page already. This can be great for making ads for regular customers or driving long-term engagement
  • Custom audience, which allows you to upload a list of contacts from your computer and target leads you already have
  • Lookalike audience, which allows you to create a look-alike audience that will have Instagram try to find people with similar traits to your current core audience

It’s a lot of targeting controls to go through, but you should take the time to choose the best options for each one.In social media video advertising, specificity leads to success. Don’t try to capture all traffic in your industry at once. Try to focus on people who are most likely to convert into paying customers and build up into a larger brand over time.The more specific your targeting is, the more likely your ads will reach the best possible people to see them.

Placing Your Instagram Ads

Once you’ve got both your campaign objectives and your targeting controls out of the way, you’ll then need to decide where you want to place your Instagram video ads.As touched on above, Instagram allows you to make two different types of ads: feed ads and Stories ads. Both types of ads can be effective, but they have slightly different uses and different limitations.

Feed Ads

Feed ads are shown on users’ feeds in between organic content posts from other users that they follow. This provides an opportunity to craft engaging and artful video ads that can appear like native content. Done properly, your video ads will sneak into your target audience’s scrolling habits without them even realizing it.As a result, video ads placed on the feed can be effective for driving new users to your sales funnel, increasing conversion rates, and more.Thankfully, Instagram’s feed ads support video content. You can create either standard video ads or video carousel ads, which showcase multiple products in rapid succession with a scrolling motion. However, note that Instagram feed ads can only be up to 60 seconds long.So any video ads you make for the feed have to be attention-grabbing and informative fast. We’d also highly recommend adding captions to your video ads if you put them on the Instagram feed. Most people who scroll through Instagram ambiently don’t have their sound enabled. Captions can help you get your information across without requiring them to plug in their earbuds.

Stories Ads

The Stories feature is one of the aspects that make Instagram a unique social media platform. Through the Stories function, you can make video ads that can appear for up to 15 seconds in between organic content posted by regular users.The benefit to this ad placement strategy is that your video ads won’t be intrusive, so they won’t potentially annoy your target audience. Your total video length can be 120 seconds or twice that of a regular feed ad, but only if someone clicks on the ad specifically.So most of your engagement or eye-grabbing content should be frontloaded toward the beginning of the ad to get people to click on it in the first place.

Organic Content Integration

There’s one other “placement strategy” you can leverage when making Instagram video ads: simply enhancing your existing organic content.If your brand already has an established Instagram presence, including several videos showcasing your products or practice, you can lace advertising elements into those videos and make them passive ads for your brand.For example, a local orthodontic practice might avoid spending a ton of its marketing budget on other types of Instagram ads and simply update their main Instagram profile every day with natural content from within the practice itself. Showing videos of smiling patients and a few procedures can do wonders for driving engagement and generating leads.Potential clients will flip through the profile and see that the practice is staffed with skilled orthodontists and produces great results. That alone can be more effective than any pre-made video ad.

Crafting Content Wisely

So, why does it matter where you place your Instagram video ads?The placement strategy you choose can affect the type of content you create. For example, feed ads necessarily have to be short, sweet, and to the point. Stories ads can be a little broader, but only if you make the beginning of the video content particularly eye-catching and informative.Regardless, your Instagram video ads should always do three major things:

  • Introduce a problem or pain point for your target audience
  • Introduce a solution to the problem – your product or service
  • Provide a link to your store, app, or website with a call to action

Each of these elements is key not only for driving engagement also driving conversion.Here’s an example:

  • You run a dog grooming business and want to boost appointments on your website
  • You make an ad that shows a dirty, ungroomed dog, with big text of the top
  • You then show video of the dog being washed by smiling, professional groomers
  • The next short clip shows the dog clean and happy

In this basic example, your video ad showed the problem and the solution. All you need to add now is a call to action or link to your website. Such an ad outline can easily be placed either on Instagram’s feeds or Stories.

How Much Do Instagram Ads Cost?

It’s tough to nail down an exact number for the cost of an Instagram ad, let alone a full marketing campaign. Ad costs are determined based on CBC or cost per click or CPM or cost per impression metrics, as well as other aspects in Instagram ad auction algorithms.Average CPC Instagram ad prices can range from between $.70 and $.80, although these prices can go up for particularly competitive industries like clothing and apparel. Your best bet, if you are a small company, is to budget at least several hundred dollars for your ad campaign at first, then expect that budget to bloom as you add more ads to your campaign with time.


Ultimately, mastering the art of making successful Instagram video ads will take time. But anyone can start boosting their leads, conversion rate, or website traffic now just by keeping the above advice in mind.Remember to focus on accomplishing specific campaign objectives, target the people most likely to visit your business, and craft your ads wisely by constructing your videos so they suit where you place them on Instagram.If you need help making high-quality video content, VisCap Media can help. As an established, experienced video marketing agency, we’re especially skilled at helping businesses take advantage of social media platforms and boost conversion rates across the board. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!SourcesHow Much Does It Cost to Advertise on Instagram? | WebFXChoose the Right Objective | FacebookAdvertising Targeting Options | Facebook for Business

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