Introduction – Instagram Ads
Instagram Ads is a marketing platform that was added in late 2015, a little over three years after being acquired by Facebook. The app has seen exponential growth since the acquisition, which ultimately means more users and segments for businesses to reach through this feature.
Posts on Instagram can be boosted to be turned into an ad or created from scratch using Facebook Ads Manager. On top of having the right content in your post to deliver your message, sell a product, etc., it’s also essential to meet the technological requirements of an Instagram Ad to meet its full potential.
Instagram Ads Ratios
In general, Instagram posts (including images, videos, reels, and stories) have common ratios that are typically followed to optimize user experience for consistency and resolution reasons. Keeping consistency within a user’s feed will allow your ad to not stand out in a negative light, such as being too vertically long and challenging to view on a user’s mobile device.
On the other hand, straying from these Instagram Ads specs could also disrupt the resolution of your post, ruining the quality and legibility as a result.
Ad ratios are represented as two numbers divided by a colon, such as 1:1. The number on the left refers to the width of a post, while the right one is the height.
Please note that these numbers are not measurements like inches and pixels used when directly creating your canvas. These numbers are only generic dimension guidelines.
Other Instagram Ad ratios include horizontal, vertical, and Instagram Stories.
Horizontal posts are 1.91:1, suitable for landscapes or showing off a product. They also leave much space for text in the caption on a mobile device.
Vertical posts are best in 4:5 canvases, taking up most of a mobile screen but leaving space below for a caption.
Lastly, Instagram Stories Ads take up the entirety of a mobile device’s screen, capturing attention quickly and effectively. This information is also shown in the visual below.
Instagram Ads Specs and Size Based on Type
It’s important to understand that while these ratios stay consistent across the different media types of Instagram Ads, the pixels differ to optimize resolution.
This section is a more in-depth look at the different Instagram Ads specs and sizes for each type of media post, whether it be a loose recommendation for optimization or a technical restriction. Another thing to know before going into the next section is that there is technically no maximum resolution for all Instagram Ad types. However, we still recommend using whatever is most suited to the respective ratio requirement.
The most common way businesses share their message through Instagram Ads is with a single image. Whether it be high-quality photography or a digital illustration, there’s a wide spectrum of simple yet effective ways to communicate through this medium. The file type and link incorporation ratio are key features to keep an eye out for a while creating your Single-Image Instagram Ad.
- File type: JPG or PNG (recommended, but not limited to)
- Ratio: 1.91:1 to 1:1 (for stock photos)*
- Resolution: minimum of 1080 x 1080px
- File size: max 30MB
- Width: min 600px
- Height: min 600px
- Aspect ratio tolerance: 3%
* 1.91:1 to 4:5 ratio is acceptable. However, 4:5 ratio posts are unable to incorporate a link. If your Instagram Ad requires a link, use the Facebook Ads Manager preview feature to see how it will be viewed or utilize a different media type.
Panoramas and 360 photos are not existing features currently offered by Instagram Ads or Instagram as a whole. However, it is possible to post a panorama using an Instagram Carousel Ad (Carousel Ad specs explained in a future section). You can achieve this look by using a long vertical image and cropping tool to create multiple photos from your panorama that flow seamlessly into one another.
This Instagram Ad by @scienceanfictionshop presents their new product with a single photo, effectively encompassing the different variants. It also portrays inclusivity, with the different pronoun options to make everyone feel included.
Even without using any words in the image itself, it’s easy to understand that the goal is to introduce a product. The link at the bottom of the image is a convenient segway for potential customers to view the product on their website. Having a link increases customer interaction and overall online website traffic.
In recent years it has been more common to see advertisements and campaigns through videos online, no matter how long or short. Video Ads are helpful when the message you want to communicate can’t be executed well with a single or even multiple images.
The Instagram Ad specs below are more detailed than that of a Single-Image Ad because there are more features to consider. Instagram does not require videos to have sound. However, it can enhance your ad when done well.
- File type: MP4, MOV, or GIF (recommended, but not limited to)
- Ratio: 16:9 to 9:16*
- Video settings: H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan & stereo AAC audio compression at 128kbps+
- Resolution: min 1080 x 1080px
- Video duration: 1 to 241s
- File size: max 4GB
- Width: min 120px
- Height: min 120px
* Recommended: 1:1 (desktop & mobile) or 4:5 (mobile).
It’s a little challenging to showcase a Video Ad with a screenshot, but you can see the timestamp and mute symbols in the upper and lower right-hand corners, respectively. Note that this ad doesn’t have a link attached to the post, so the call to action is added to the caption instead.
@Mastercard is promoting their #TrueSelfCampaign with a compilation of clips from the game Horizon Worlds. Text in the video itself communicates the message, while lo-fi music plays in the background to set a relaxing tone.
Can’t decide on just one photo or video to use? That’s not a problem with Instagram’s carousel setup, which can showcase up to 10 photos or videos within a single post.
This Instagram Ad setup allows you to share multiple ‘cards’ within a single post, encompassing more elements in one place. As mentioned earlier, it can also be used to create the effect of a panorama image.
Although carousel ads can be a combination of both image and video, there are no unique specs. As long as images and videos follow their respective requirements, there’s nothing new to consider. Below is an overview of the previous two sections regarding the two different media types.
- Image file type: JPG or PNG (recommended, but not limited to)
- Video file type: MP4, MOV, or GIF (recommended, but not limited to)
- Ratio: 1.91:1 to 1:1*
- Resolution: min 1080 x 1080px
- Number of cards: 2 to 10
- Image file size: max 30MB
- Video file size: max 4GB
- Video duration: 1 to 60s
- Aspect ratio tolerance: 3%
* Ratio may default to 1:1 depending on the image and video selection. All cards following the cover will adhere to those dimensions.
A Carousel Ad is an excellent format for @amazon to showcase different products because it can feature multiple items. Someone who sees this can scroll through and choose to click on the ‘Shop Now’ button, all in one place.
This cover card shows the product on a solid background, making the main focus stand out. Despite there being no words, it’s clearly communicated that it is a highly rated and popular item. With the ability to do this for up to 10 cards, it’s possible to attract a higher volume of consumers and interests.
Instagram Stories is a feature similar to the concept of Snapchat, a photo or short video clip that takes up the entire screen of a mobile device. Like any other type of content on Instagram, there’s a wide range of creative possibilities. They catch the eyes of and draw someone in with just a glimpse and communicate something within seconds.
Like any social media story, the Instagram Story Ad has a ratio of 9:16 to take up the entire screen. However, any other ratios and sizes mentioned in previous sections are acceptable.
The Instagram Ads specs for Stories differ between images and videos, as they did for feed posts. These specifications are listed below.
- File type: JPG and PNG (recommended, but not limited to)
- Resolution: 1080 x 1920 px (recommended)
- File size: max 30MB
- File type: MP4 or MOV (recommended, but not limited to)
- Resolution: 720p, 1080 x 1920 px (recommended)
- File size: max 4GB
- Video duration: 15s*
* 15 seconds per individual story. When a longer video is added, it will be divided into 15-second clips, and the remainder to adhere to the formatting.
Reels are a newer Instagram feature announced in August 2020 and included
its own ad feature. These Instagram Ads’ specs and sizes go hand in hand with those of an Instagram story but have a time duration of up to 90 seconds. Instagram Reels Ads may be created at time frames of 15, 30, 60, or 90 seconds, but anywhere in between is allowed.
@Youtube’s Story Ad for Oh Dreams cereal is easily recognizable because of the large block letters at the top, bright green color, and the video creator’s recognizable avatar. The objective of this promotional ad is clear and concise, including an interaction variable along with it.
Other enticing aspects of this Instagram Ad include the spinning product (not displayed in the screenshot), which creates motion, as well as the word choice at the bottom of the video. Everyone loves free products, so they can promote the item and increase online traffic for Youtube Shorts.
The following example looks very similar because it takes up the entire screen and has the same Instagram Ad specs as an Instagram Story. @Moo decided to incorporate both raster and vector features, although it is more common to see longer videos for Reels because of the duration difference.
Moo decided to use lo-fi audio over their ad to create a relaxing environment, possibly because of its association with studying and productivity. The products are showcased with a photo for an accurate visual, while other features are edited to create motion and catch the eye.
Learn to Create and Incorporate Instagram Ads
Not sure if Instagram Ads is the right place to advertise your small business? Read our blog post on How to Incorporate Instagram Ads into Your Small Business for more advice on the ‘how’ and less on the nitty-gritty technological aspect.
For those who have already decided to take a step in this direction, here is a quick and easy tutorial on creating ads for both Facebook and Instagram. It’s crucial to build your brand correctly and captivate the right audience. With the proper background knowledge and creation tools, Instagram Ads is a great resource to reach your target segments and get the name of your business out to the world.
How to Incorporate Instagram Ads into Your Small Business
Instagram Ads is a growing platform for businesses of all sizes to promote their product and brand. There are different ways to do so, allowing for different options to pick and choose from that best fit your advertising needs.
When choosing the type of Instagram Ad to pursue, it’s essential to consider both the fit of the content within the media type and the specs of the ad itself. It’s something significant that needs to be considered to get the most out of your Instagram Ad to reach your consumer segment and create the best viewing experience for them.
We hope that you find this article helpful. Please follow us at Stiddle.com for more marketing blogs like these! Until next time!
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