Instagram Ad Design Tips and Best Practices

Instagram ad design tips

Instagram is one of the most essential spaces for advertisers to showcase their products to an audience. It gives a pretty rich tapestry for brands looking to communicate visually with an audience of 2 billion monthly active users. Every pixel here plays a role in capturing attention and getting action. 

So many of the designs for Instagram ads have little point in aesthetics. Instead, it is more about creating some kind of visual dialogue with your potential customers. In fact, 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business. This is a very telling statistic about the potential of this platform for brand interaction.

As we go deeper into constructing your Instagram ads, remember that every ad you create should represent a touchpoint for your brand.

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Understanding Instagram ad formats

Instagram has multiple ad formats, each designed for a number of campaign goals and targeted at reaching many audiences. It really matters to know which format will help increase the ad’s efficacy and engagement.

  1. Instagram Stories Ads: Ideal for time-sensitive promotions and immersive experiences, Stories ads disappear after 24 hours, creating a sense of urgency. 
  2. Feed Ads: These ads blend into the scrolling experience, resembling standard posts but with enhanced targeting and reach capabilities. They are excellent for detailed showcases of products or services
  3. IGTV Ads: IGTV ads allow for longer content. This provides an opportunity to explore topics in-depth or showcase detailed product features. It’s best for product demonstrations.
  4. Reel Ads: Positioned among Instagram’s reels, these ads are perfect for capturing the attention of a younger demographic with quick, dynamic content. 

To start making reel ads like a pro, explore tools like’s Instagram reel maker. This tool can enhance your ad creation process with data-driven insights and optimization tips.

Top Instagram Ad Design Tips and Best Practices

Making an effective ad on Instagram should be a creative and strategic process that binds you to make your ad eye-catching and relevant for high engagement and strong conversion.

Here are a few design tips and best practices you can follow to enhance your Instagram ads:

1. Understand Your Audience

Begin by conducting a thorough audience analysis. It’s important to comprehend not only their demographics but also their habits, tastes, and interactions with content.

For example:

  • Younger audiences are drawn to bold, fast-paced content with hip music and images, such as Spotify’s targeted ads featuring popular music and lively, youthful imagery.
  • Older demographics prefer more detailed information that explicates reliability and value and can be appreciated by older audiences. 

Spotify’s ads target younger audiences with vibrant visuals and popular music that resonate with their dynamic lifestyles, whereas Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign connects emotionally with women of all ages by promoting inclusivity and body positivity.

2. Prioritize Visual Quality

The quality of your visuals can make or break your ad’s success. High-resolution images and videos are crucial, as they reflect your brand’s quality and are more likely to capture attention. Remember, a pixelated or blurry image can harm your brand’s perception and reduce the effectiveness of your ad.

For instance, Canon provides an excellent example of prioritizing visual quality in its Instagram ads. The ads consistently feature striking, high-resolution images taken with its cameras, showcasing the superior image quality that its products can produce.

3. Optimize for Soundless Viewing

Many Instagram users scroll through their feeds in settings where sound isn’t feasible. Ensure your ads convey the message effectively without sound. Use captions, text overlays, and visually descriptive content that can stand alone. This ensures that the message is delivered, no matter how the content is consumed.

One good example is Peloton. They use high-quality visuals and engaging visual cues like countdown timers and rep counters to make their content easily understandable without sound. This approach ensures accessibility and engagement for all viewers, regardless of their audio settings

4. Use Strong Calls to Action

Your ad should have a clear and compelling call to action. Tell your viewers exactly what you want them to do next, whether it’s visiting a website, signing up for a newsletter, or watching more videos. A well-placed CTA converts interest into action.

For instance, Warby Parker, an eyewear company, provides a standout example of using strong calls to action in its Instagram ads. They frequently use phrases like “Shop Now” or “Try Them On At Home For Free” directly on their ad visuals. This guides users from the ad to their website.

5. Leverage A/B Testing

Create different variations of your ad to test the most effective elements. Try testing with headline variations, images, calls to action, or targeting options to find out which reaches the audience best. For instance, Airbnb uses A/B testing to refine its ad content, ensuring it delivers the most effective message to its diverse user base. 

6. Utilize Analytics to Refine Strategies

Analytics are the main ingredient to improve your ad strategy constantly. The Instagram analytics tools available on the platform include:

  • Engagement rates: Identify which ads are capturing attention.
  • Click-through rates (CTR): Determine how effective your call-to-action is.
  • Demographic information: Understand who is interacting with your ads and how.

A perfect example is Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign, which was data-driven. The company created location-based content by swapping its iconic logo with popular local names. This exponentially grew engagement and reach. 

7. Maintain Brand Consistency

Always incorporate distinctive brand elements to reinforce identity. Ads that do not give any intuitive clue about being from your brand can confuse the viewers and, in the end, cause much fuss in brand recognition.

Ensure your brand color, logo, and themes stay consistent in all your ads. Generally, the rule here is brand consistency. On average, proper brand consistency can improve revenue by 23% across all platforms. 

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8. Adhere to Instagram Guidelines

Familiarize yourself with and adhere to Instagram’s ad guidelines regarding aspect ratios, file sizes, and content standards. Compliance ensures your ads are displayed correctly, preventing technical issues from diminishing their impact.

For instance, Sephora ensures all its Instagram ads follow the platform’s guidelines for video length and image size. This helps avoid technical issues like cropping or poor resolution that could detract from the user experience.

9. Consider the First Few Seconds Crucial

It’s good to remember that since most users scroll through a given post for an average of a few seconds at best, your ad’s two or three first seconds are rather crucial. Have compelling visuals or an attention-grabbing start that lures in quickly.

For example, Adidas launched a series of short, impactful videos featuring athletes in action, designed to grab attention in the first few seconds. These ads leverage dynamic movement and powerful sound bites to hook viewers quickly.

Creating visually compelling Instagram ads

The success of creating visually attractive Instagram ads is based on how strategically your brand uses visual elements to grab and hold the audience’s attention. Here are a few key points:

  • Visual Elements: Bold colors, sharp contrasts, and intense compositions are essential visual elements. Use the colors that resonate with the brand and stand out in the Instagram feed.
  • Movement and Animation: It has been observed that ads with animation or motion graphics have a higher potential to catch users’ eyes while scrolling through the feed.
  • Emotional Imagery: Images that evoke emotion are undoubtedly great at capturing an audience.
  •  Focus on Minimalism: Clean, minimalist designs can be very effective because they ensure your message is clear and not lost in clutter. Keep the design simple and direct.

Use Instagram Video Maker to enhance your visual content with high-quality animations and engaging motion graphics. This way, you can create visually compelling ads that capture and hold the audience’s attention.

Wrapping Up

Run Instagram ads with visuals that are high-quality, strong in CTAs, and relevant to the content. The details in an ad can make it much better by being far away from pitfalls such as text overload or under-branding. Best practices bring great improvement to a good ad and, therefore, result in improved engagement and conversion rates.

Now, with these insights and Instagram ad design tips, launch your Instagram campaign. Engage better with your audiences, hit your marketing goals better, and experience better customer engagement through continuous improvement in approaches and data-driven insights.

With’s Instagram Ad Maker, you can streamline your ad creation process. This tool allows you to design ads effortlessly that look professional and are also optimized for performance. Start your free trial today!

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Tanmay Ratnaparkhe

Co-founder, 2X Entrepreneur, tech enthusiast, and SaaS expert, specializing in Instagram marketing and AI. With a knack for leveraging technology for marketing success, they share valuable insights and strategies to boost your digital presence and productivity.