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Tips for Producing Instagram and Facebook Ad Creative that Resonates

Written by: Shane O'Neill, Director of Content

Facebook and Instagram offer countless opportunities for brands to flex their creative muscles and engage with customers and prospects.

Facebook is continually enhancing existing ad formats and developing new ones — from Carousels and Canvas ads to Collections and Playables. Meanwhile, Instagram’s “Stories” format offers brands a new playground for creative that blends with the Stories’ format and drives conversions.

Of the many Facebook and Instagram ad formats, the three that warrant the most attention from marketing teams are Stories ads, carousel ads and video ads.

Here are tips for producing ad creative that will resonate with your target audiences.

STORIES ADS

Instagram Stories are where users present an unfiltered, spontaneous version of themselves using video snippets, selfies, graphics and text.

Related post: Instagram Stories Could Make Advertisers Stop Taking Creative For Granted

This “Stories Aesthetic” is forcing marketers to stop leaning on static images or repurposed TV commercials and consider the creative possibilities of producing ads that mesh with the Stories format and its users’ viewing habits.

Some quick reminders for Stories ad creative:

Stories ads shouldn’t look like ads

A series of quirky images and video snippets with overlaid text will be more effective than a slickly produced video featuring actors. People access Stories to see friends being spontaneous. Brands should convey a similar look and feel.

Peleton Nike

Cater ads to mobile users

Instagram Stories users are mobile, on-the-go and distracted. Don’t lose a user with hard-to-find CTAs or an overabundance of copy. Keep the premise clear and simple and get to the point fast.

Make the next steps crystal clear

Users are still figuring out how to engage with Stories ads, so brands should be extremely clear about what product they’re selling. It’s fairly common for brands to embed the words SWIPE UP in the ad with an arrow pointing at the CTA button.

Tell a story

With Stories, brands can utilize carousels and video — just as users do — to craft micro-narratives and make personal connections.

Cobb Salad Step by Step

Get vertical

Instagram offers three sizing formats: Square (1:1), Landscape (1.91:1), and Vertical (4:5). Choose wisely, but keep in mind that most users shoot their Stories vertically.

Our guide, “Instagram Stories Ads: Good Creative vs. Bad Creative”, covers the Stories advertising topic in more depth.

CAROUSEL ADS

Besides displaying multiple images or videos within one ad unit, carousel ads can increase user engagement and ROAS. According to Facebook, carousel ads result in 30-50% lower cost-per-conversion, 20-30% lower cost-per-click, and higher engagement and sales than single-image link ads.

Here are five ways to get creative with carousel ads:

Showcase many products or just one

Facebook’s carousel ads are a natural fit for brands with a portfolio of online products. For instance, Home Depot could advertise various power tools in a carousel with consistent product photography and concise ad copy.

Carousels also lend themselves well to a single product. A car manufacturer could have a carousel of image ads showing its latest model from various angles — interior, exterior, wide-shot of the car.

Create seasonal themes

A great way for a retailer to package products in a carousel is by theme. Nothing resonates with consumers like a seasonally appropriate collection of winter scarfs, bathing suits, camping gear, etc.

Bikini Carousel

Target buyer personas

You know your ideal customers better than anyone, and you can use carousels to promote products that fit their lifestyles and values.

For instance, a retailer could advertise a carousel of baby products for young moms and moms-to-be. Additionally, a carousel of image and video ads for back-to-school products — backpacks, lunch bags, notebooks — could target students and parents.

Illustrate the passage of time

Carousel Ads can act as a kind of flipbook, unfolding a narrative arc frame by frame, building suspense.

Ecommerce brands could showcase how their mobile app enables a product purchase and delivery, step by step. Mobile game developers can use carousel ads to showcase different levels of gameplay.  

Read the full blog post: Creative Ways to use Carousel Ads to Attract and Convert Customers

VIDEO ADS

Here some best practices for standing out in an extremely crowded video field.

Make the ad look like it belongs

Facebook newsfeeds are now full of videos that are likely to be grounded in reality, whether it’s a news story from the field or your cousin nailing a ski jump. Facebook video ads should strive for the same spur-of-the-moment feeling.

Read a related blog post: Facebook Video Ads on a Budget: From Planning to Final Edit

This man-on-the-street style ad from Bonobos resembles a user-generated video, but sends a clear message: Bonobos suits are comfortable and stain repellent enough that you could wear them playing soccer.

 

Embrace brevity

Three-quarters of all Facebook users access the site on a mobile phone. Instagram is a completely mobile platform. It’s no surprise then that video ads need to get to the point, fast.

We recommend communicating your message in five seconds. And be sure to have very brief copy (less than 20% of the ad) that enhances the message without getting in the way.

Show ’em how to do something

Providing instructions on how to play a mobile game, prepare a meal, or assemble a chair can be condensed to a quick three-step visual teaser.

Mobile games excel at this, providing quick previews of how to play the game with a CTA to download the actual game.

 

Use humor to grab attention

When you’re competing with so much video content, humor can set you apart. Just make sure you get to the funny part fast. You realistically have five seconds to deliver the punchline.

Personally, this ad from American Standard made me chuckle. It’s a good example of using fast humor to get attention.

 

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