10 Examples of Instagram Ads and the Lessons They Can Teach

An Entrepreneur contributor gives the low-down on what works and what doesn't on this new advertising channel.

learn more about Nathan Chan

By Nathan Chan

Entrepreneur

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You can never have too much of a good thing, right? At least that's what I thought after I started taking screenshots of Instagram ads as soon as they rolled out. I've since captured a ton of creative and visually stunning Instagram ads, in recent months, and tried to learn what works and what doesn't.

Related: How to Create a Killer Instagram Ad in Under 10 Minutes

Without further ado, then, here are some of my favorite Instagram ads, as well as some that I would have handled differently, and the lessons you can learn from them.


1. Make each image in your carousel count and be compelling on its own. You never know which part of your message a viewer is going to "get," and what it will mean to him or her down the road.


2. Play off a recognized brand (if you have the permission and rights to, of course).


3. Use timely, behavior-based targeting. Somehow, this advertiser knew through my activities on Facebook that I was house-hunting.


4. Show what your product looks like in the hands of average people in a routine, everyday situation, instead of using some prop set, with supermodels.


5. Make sure the text on your image is legible (unlike what this post shows). Sure, people can read the caption, but if you're going to use text in the image, make sure it is 100 percent clear.


6. Graphically represent your target audience's pain points (no pun intended).


7. Whet people's appetites.

Related: 5 Things You Need to Know About Instagram's New Ad Platform


8. Make people take a closer look.


9. Provide the specific benefits of using your product -- especially if they are dollar amounts.


10. Jump on trending topics, especially when you know that even if viewers love it or hate it, they'll be interested in it.

Related: Instagram Rolls Out 60-Second Video Option for Advertisers

Nathan Chan

Publisher of Foundr Magazine

Nathan Chan is the publisher of Foundr Magazine, a digital magazine for young, aspiring and novice stage entrepreneurs. He has had the pleasure of interviewing rock star business leaders to find out what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.

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