But you can’t just take your existing social campaigns and export them—it’s a different platform than Facebook and Twitter, with its own learning curve.
Color, clear imagery, and subtle language are much more effective than blunt, direct calls-to-action, and there are a wholly different set of best practices you need to follow.
The best way to start thinking about your own Instagram campaign is to see what’s worked (or not) for other companies.
We’ve updated our example archive to include 55 Instagram ads examples broken down by the different company and ad type: e-commerce, consumer product, and services and entertainment companies, and video ads, carousel ads, and CTA-focused ads.
In this comprehensive Instagram Ads gallery you can see images, and find out why they’re great, or where they can be improved, to inspire your own amazing ad campaigns.
As we know, video ads are a great way to capture customers’ attention on social channels. But video ads aren’t the easiest to master, because you’ve got to show value quickly, or customers will breeze past without an impression of your product. From apps to adventure, here are some of the best video ads to inspire you.
This ad is obviously eye-catching because of the transformation it showcases. Everyone loves to see that instant gratification of side-by-side results, and this video by 8Fit hits the nail on the head. The underlying premise of this ad, though, is something that most can latch onto regardless of what they’re advertising — how their product makes someone feel. Look at how happy and smiley the man in the 8Fit ad looks in the “after” photo — this positivity is infectious.
When you’re advertising apps, it can feel awkward to try and showcase them using video. Here, Hopper does a great job of showing their app without making the video into a mediocre product tour. The caption lets you know exactly what’s going on, while the person using the app shows off the cute interface and easy to use tracking for flights. If you have an easy-to-use app, consider a short video of someone actually using the app — it can add that friendly, human touch that endears people to a product.
With Instagram being filled with vacation pictures and people showing off their adventures, Touch of Modern hits the nail on the head with this tropical underwater video. Though there’s no product information in the video, it’s obvious that they’re offering a luxury experience, and the fresh colors pop out of a feed. Showing flashy, unusual, or extreme events in a video can be a good way to attract viewers who might otherwise scroll past.
The montage is a classic video technique that app Aaptiv uses well here. Reminiscent of a training sequence in a sports movie, the app hits that sweet spot of motivation for the viewer. Aaptiv is using another classic technique than can be widely applied as well — show people who they want to be, and associate that person with your product. Most of us do not look that effortless and in the zone while on a treadmill or spin bike, but we want to. Combined with the ad copy, Aaptiv is letting everyone know that the women in these ads could be you, too.
If you wanted a great example of using adventure to sell a product, here it is. Velocity Black gives us space, orca whales, and skiing on volcanoes! As if we weren’t already convinced of their cool-factor, they also have a quote from GQ to back them up. And if you don’t offer rides to the edge of the atmosphere, don’t worry. Placing any product in a stunning natural or urban setting is a surefire way to catch the eye of even the most discerning Instagram user.
Video ads can also be used to show off products in a more straightforward manner. Here, Tophatter imparts their message in a way that even a quick scroller would see by showing products and the prices they were purchased for. While adventure shots and montage videos are cool, Tophatter’s perfectly presenting their product, an e-auction site, and that’s just as effective as flashy scenery.
T-Mobile and Buzzfeed show us another tactic in their Instagram here: teasing a full video. While it’s not clear exactly what’s going to happen from the preview, you get the sense that it’s a funny adventure that’s unfolding. This tease makes people want to follow the CTA to watch more. If you want to repurpose existing video material for Instagram, cutting a little trailer like this is a great option.
Wag! uses cute animation to catch viewers’ attention in this ad, proving that live action isn’t the only way to go. While teasing, but not explaining their product, Wag! certainly plays to their intended audience with an adorable dog at the beginning of the video.
Instagram is a great place to show off a rotating line of products and offers, so it’s no surprise that E-Commerce companies are a huge early adopter of the site. This category includes big, established name brands with brick and mortar operations, and scrappy startup apps offering their own products or a range of other items.
Gilt knows that blues and light browns are a classic combination in mens fashion and do a great job building an image around the brown shoes and colorful blue accessories. The shoes, shirts, and accessories are also arranged in crossing lines that create a visually pleasing pattern that’s bound to stand out on the Instagram feed.
JustFab decided to shake things up a bit to show off all the shoes and accessories for the Fall season. The picture looks great, except for the jumble of text in the top right of the screen. Although the large “Free” is eye catching, it distracts from the otherwise fun image, and might drive people away for being too direct.
Is there anything prettier than a fresh bouquet of flowers? Maybe not, but Macy’s makes it clear that the new line of Pantone cosmetics are at least as pretty in this great image that shows them almost bursting out of a bouquet. The use of unique hashtags is a great way to connect with interested fans, and is also a smart way to build a relevant audience on other channels like Facebook.
Petsmart was smart to regram an actual person’s image for this post. Not only is it a great picture, but it feels natural when other people see it on their feed—because it is! The ad itself also goes for a subtle approach to brand promotion, offering helpful information and positioning Petsmart as a go to place for new pet owners.
Do you wish you had a cleaner, more colorful desk? Take a look at this ad from Staples, and you might start thinking about how much better your space would look with some Poppin products to cut through the clutter. The language is all about the benefits to you, the customer—however you want to reorganize your space, you can.
Why should you shop on the e-commerce site Spring? Well, because Vogue says so. As you can see in most of the other Instagram ads examples, marketers tend to shy away from language in Instagram ads, but e-commerce app Spring nailed it, building strong social proof from one of the biggest names in fashion.
Food delivery app Sprig knows that green is the color you want when you want to get people hungry, and use plenty of it in their beautiful, colorful salad bowl. Amongst all the other food pictures your friends are posting on Instagram, this ad feels right at home.
Consumer Product Ads
The Instagram ads gallery continues with the product brands you know and love. For companies that want to show off their own products, Instagram is a perfect place to not just advertise a product, but also to build brand engagement and create brand awareness.
Dayquil does a really great job of building a buyer persona for its product with a carefully curated image. If you’re adventerous, creative, and under the weather, this ad makes it clear that Dayquil is what you need to get out and get your job done.
Yogabed builds its own miniature Instagram ads gallery with carousel images to show their mattress is right for all sorts of people, and prove their tagline “The Best Mattress for Everyone.” With benefit driven language like “Sleep Cool. Wake Refreshed” or “Zip. Wash. Repeat,” and images of young attractive people, they make it clear that whoever you are, you’ll enjoy sleeping on this mattress.
The images in this HTC ad are almost bursting with color. While they nail the images, the text itself could use some improvement. They use a Learn More call-to-action, but include a hyperlink in the text itself that users can’t click on. HTC would have been better off using a Shop Now call-to-action and including branded hashtags in the text so that people could share images and build more engagement with the brand.
Fossil does a great job of mixing text and images to create a buyer persona for people who like luxury but also want to stand out. They do it by creating an off kilter arrangement of items along with text that implies Fossil offers “high fashion” as well as “high quirk.”
Lemon and Line accessory makers knows that red gets attention, and the whole ad is an attention grabbing mix of primary colors. Red, yellow, and blue are triadic colors, meaning they’re equally apart on the color wheel, creating high contrast but also strong balance and harmony. You can see the product clearly on the model’s wrist, but it’s not the focus of the image—instead, it’s just one part of an attractive whole.
Kudos to the Tornado Shaker for creating an image that doesn’t look too glossy and professional, but it’s gone a bit too far in the wrong direction—the poor lighting is not exactly exciting and compared to other examples in this Instagram ads gallery, it doesn’t show off the product well at all. The language “An advanced protein shaker you can buy now” could also use some work. It’s great that I can buy it now—but why should I?
The fashion brand I.D. Sarrieri didn’t need the extra text on their image, but otherwise their image looks right at home on Instagram. On top of that, they use a strong emotional appeal in their text with language like “escape to your perfect paradise.”
People are instictively drawn to symmetry, whether it’s in faces, paintings, or interiors, and L’Occitane uses that love of symmetry in this engaging image. The purples and greens evoke luxury and naturalness, and the images of plants are a clever way to convey the scent of each lotion.
Garmin Fitness wants people to know that their watch is the fitness watch for people with a healthy lifestyle. The attractive woman taking a break mid work out, and the bright, optimistic sunlight fits in with Instagram’s beautiful, aspirational aesthetic.
Can you guess the buyer persona that Laughing Bone is trying to reach? If you guessed dog lovers, you’re right! In case the t-shirt isn’t obvious, the language in the text also establishes a strong emotional appeal—if you buy their t-shirt, you’re not just showing the world you love dogs, you’re actually helping them.
Walmart’s playful image is a great example of subtlety and Instagram-centric branding. They’re not actually directly selling this Pioneer Woman Cookie Jar, because there’s no Shop Now call-to-action. Instead, the fun language and image feel like a nice (if a little cheesy) post that anyone might share.
It’s very easy to oversell on Instagram, as Numestyle proves in this ad. There’s just way too much text in the image, which is otherwise very engaging. If people know they’re being sold to on Instagram, they’re much more likely to be deterred from ever engaging with the brand.
If your go to drink on a cold day was hot chocolate, Illy would humbly like you to consider a perfectly foamed latte instead. It’s not just a playful image either—they’ll actually show you how to recreate this latte at home. The call-to-action, hashtags, and link to Illy’s Master Barista Instagram account give people who love their coffee lots of different ways to share it with Illy and other fans.
You’re nervous—you have lots of people coming to your playoff viewing party, and you’re not sure your famous bean dip is impressive enough to keep them happy. Smirnoff is here to help with a super easy tip for serving up a batch of unique, beautiful looking drinks. The tip, colorful drinks, and mason jars are a nice mix that appeals to a buyer persona of creative, DIY type.
What’s your favorite shade? It’s easy to choose from among 14 different colors with this clever arrangement from Burt’s Bees. As another bonus, the ad uses several rather shades of red, an immediately eye catching color.
Looking for a luxurious gift for Valentine’s Day? Chambord’s image screams luxury with its gorgeous arrangement and gold and purple colors. In case you’re not totally convinced, they play up the loss aversion factor by letting people know this offer is only a limited edition.
Honest Turkey is actually Honeysuckle White, an all natural turkey company. In this shot, they create a really nice composition with the bowl and napkin. If there’s a problem, it’s that brown is rarely an appealing color in any Instagram Ads examples, but especially for food. They also waste a lot of space in the text box, since users can’t click on the link for the recipe. Better to use that space to promote a deal or branded hashtags instead.
Services, Entertainment, Destinations, and More
You don’t need to be in the business of selling products to be successful on Instagram. These Instagram ads examples show service providers, entertainment companies, and destination brands all know how to engage with consumers and drive interest on the site.
There’s a reason a company like National Geographic is one of the most followed accounts on Instagram—people love seeing pictures from around the world. Delta’s carousel ads are a perfect example of how to play up this interest. The pictures of captivating Brazilian sites and the strong text “More” in each picture drives consumers to swipe through. By the end of the slideshow, users will want to go to Brazil, and know that Delta can take them there.
Want to get outside, but don’t know where? Livday.sf uses a beautifully composed, natural image of a mountain and hikers to build a buyer persona around adventurous nature lovers. It effectively builds on that image by stoking loss aversion with its call to “never miss an opportunity” right above the Install Now call-to-action.
After looking at these pictures of Montana, you’ll be tempted to book a trip immediately. A combination of extreme action shots, beautiful scenery, and rustic cabins give the sense that Montana has something for anyone (as long as you like the snow).
Your School Match, a college matching company, uses a carousel ad to appeal to several types of identities and aspirations. The large text bar on the screen could be overwhelming, but it cleverly uses a blue font, which conveys trust and authority, and transparency so the image behind the words isn’t lost completely.
The marketing team for the film The Choice knows Instagram—rather than overtly market the movie, this ad looks like it would fit in with anyone’s feed—as long as they had friends who excelled at taking beautiful, romantic landscape pictures. Except for unobtrusive text and carefully chosen branded hashtags, the ad lets the image speak for itself.
The Vibe video app uses more text than is ideal in Instagram ads, but it works because of its strong emotional appeal that speaks to benefits, not product features (share your story, share how you feel). The freeze frame shot of a skater leaping off into the sunset is impossibly cool, and gives users the impression Vibe is, too.
Bond Bar in San Francisco has chosen some attractive images for their carousel ad, but they’re a bit out of place for the purpose of advertising before the Superbowl. The lead slide features a lot of text and an artificial image that feels out of place on Instagram, which is dominated by natural images. Meanwhile the images of the bar, while attractive, don’t have any people—and why would you get excited about watching the Superbowl in any empty bar?
Social Code does a nice job composing their image, with the phone in focus and an espresso behind it. Looking at the image, you get the idea that this app is for the motivated, caffeinated, early risers who want to get things done. If there’s any problem, it’s that there’s simply too much text on the screen that could prove distracting.
Livenation knows exactly what the people want—news on the shows they want to see, and a way to buy tickets. They give people exactly what they want—a picture of everyone’s favorite inspirational snap-chatter, DJ Khaled, and everyone’s favorite ageless hitmaker, Pharell. Now that you know who’s playing, a Book Now call-to-action to make it easy to grab your tickets.
Instead of using a carousel ad, Samsung cleverly puts three different images of their new phone on one screen to show off the sorts of beautiful images you can create with their new camera. It’s an image that says one phone, lots of possibilities. They’re showing off a new feature, but with a strong appeal to how people can use it in creative ways.
The Cromwell Vegas hotel makes sure to include red, a naturally eye catching color, in every image of their carousel ad. Even in a poolside image filled with cool greens and blues, the cabana chairs are a catchy shade of red.
Blue is the perfect color to evoke trust and confidence, which is an absolute necessity in an app that lets you talk to a therapist anytime, anywhere. Talkspace knows that, and uses blue in every image of their carousel ad. It starts with the banner color at the top, but they find clever ways to fit it in in other images too: on a park bench, or a person’s jeans.
As you can see from the rest of these Instagram ads examples, Instagram is a great venue for B2C companies, but not necessarily for other companies like StackAdapt, a B2B native advertising platform. Although it might reach the right audience of marketers on Instagram, the cartoonish image doesn’t fit in on Instagram, which doesn’t instill confidence that they know how to reach people.
In contrast to StackAdapt, look at Wistia’s ads. Although Wistia is also a B2B business, their Instagram marketing is much savvier. With inviting colors and clean photos, they hit the Instagram-aesthetic mark right off the bat. They follow it up with the social proof of having 300k businesses using their service and note that you can try them for free. This is also a great example that some ads can work just as well with different CTAs — both the “Learn More” and the “Sign Up” ads feel appropriate for the corresponding images and captions in these ads.
Carousel ads are a great way to showcase your products, especially if you have a catalog of items, or want to give users a peek into the functionality of your product. They should form a cohesive, eye-catching campaign for your product, with your first slide coming out strong to entice people to swipe.
Rover.com uses their carousel ads to tell a story that combines how you use their app with a narrative about a dog parent booking a dog sitter. This is a great example of an ad that could be used in remarketing — if someone had seen your ads elsewhere but not yet made the leap, giving a “demo ad” is a great way to help them take the plunge and download your app, sign up for your service or make a purchase.
The most striking this about this Poshmark ad is the price of those Nike sneakers — which can normally run over $100 — and they do a great job of highlighting it by using contrasting colors to make their low prices pop out of their ad. The highest contrast image is the first, grabbing people’s interest. With carousel ads, knowing what will hook your customer in and getting it up front and center on your first image is the best way to get viewers to scroll through.
Speaking of hooking in customers, Varo Money does just that with this carousel ad. They open with their value: that they’re an all-in-one solution, and then quickly follow with their selling points, like no ATM fees. When they’ve given you their pitch, then they introduce their product — a bank account app. Although you might want to lead with your brand to raise brand awareness, think about building up to a brand reveal when creating carousel ads like this.
If you want to build a little intrigue, take a play out of Drive Maven’s book. Their carousel ad sells the experience of their product without getting into the type of detail that, say Varo Money’s ad does. It gives you some key selling points — like free lifetime membership. But carousel ads are the perfect tool for selling an experience — like how Drive Maven shows a car on the NYC streets, a friend in your passenger’s seat, and putting some tunes on as you cruise.
Instagram offers a variety of call-to-action (CTA) options to help you get Instagram users through to a download page, your website, an online shop, and more. If you want to see some of the best uses of CTAs on Instagram, look no further.
Power Clean’s Instagram ad is clever because it’s so quick and to the point. If an Instagram mobile user feels like their phone is working a little slow, they’re likely to be enticed by the idea of cleaning up their iPhone. With an “Install Now” bar that changes as the ad shows the data and storage use of apps going down, Power Clean’s video merges perfectly with their CTA here. If you’re using a short video with a CTA, make sure to include relevant information in the description, like Power Clean does when they assure users that their app is free.
Vestly’s ad and CTA meld perfectly here. Their copy reads “Download, pick a stock, win cash!” and their CTA invites viewers to complete step 1, downloading the app, instantly. The install link takes users right to the mobile app store, making the install process as frictionless as possible.
Acorns uses this technique as well. Notice that the value proposition of their app — investing automatically with everyday purchases — is front and center in their ad. This is an easy way to get people to follow your CTA. Also notice how they coordinate the color scheme of the ad and the landing page, providing a seamless brand experience.
TruConversion uses the CTA “Learn More” to collect leads off of their Instagram ad. When you hit “Learn More,” you’re prompted to enter your name and email for access to a download chock-full of information. This is a classic lead generation technique perfectly played out through Instagram: offer your customers something of value in exchange for their contact information.
This Hotel Tonight ad draws viewers in with an Apple review saying “best new app” — high praise. It follows that up with an exclusive offer for discounted rates in their caption. These entice the user to hit that “Install Now” CTA, and once they do, they’re brought straight to the download page in the app store. Social proof + exclusive offer is a great way to get people tapping on your Instagram CTAs.
Had enough inspiration? No more excuses, now it’s your time to shine. Go get another espresso and start working on your own Instagram ad. When it’s done and running, drop us a link in the comments and we’ll make sure to include the best ones in our next update!