A Quick Guide To Designing Instagram Ads (+ With Examples)


Note: This is part two of our blog series on Instagram Ads. If you haven’t already read our blog post on “Building A Winning Instagram Ads Strategy”, you can find it here. It takes you through the different types of ads available on Instagram, steps to setting up an ad on Instagram, and tips to building a winning Instagram Ads strategy. This blog post will talk about the various design elements in an ad and tips to designing Instagram ads that actually work.

When it comes to advertising on Instagram, having a strong advertising strategy is just the beginning. Most of the time, you only have a few seconds to capture your audience’s attention and convince them to buy your product. A well-designed advertisement with the right design elements helps you do exactly that and build your Instagram Marketing game.

The two main end goals of a great design are brand recognition, and communication. While the former takes months, at times years, to build, the latter can be done in seconds. In this blog post, we take you through the main elements of an ad, and tell you what you can do to make the most out of your Instagram ads design.

Brand Recognition

One of the key elements of brand recognition is the logo. A study by the University of Michigan found that children as young as 3 year old were able to associate a logo with its brand. That is the power of a brand logo. Additionally, the logo of your company acts as an anchor to creating other marketing assets as well as setting a brand guideline for designing.

For example, see how Mama Earth’s logo paves way for every element of the brand, right from the packaging to the marketing assets. It adds to the visual aesthetics, and in the long run, helps your audience associate the colors and elements, and recognize your brand anywhere. Include your brand’s logo and colours in your Instagram Ads design as well, whenever possible

Credit: Mamaearth Instagram


“A picture speaks a thousand words”

Same concept applies when you design something. An Instagram ad design, if created correctly, can communicate everything you’d want to let the user know in seconds, as compared to long paragraphs of text. Given that not everyone stays to read the entire text, there are chances they would miss out on vital information that you’d like to convey so you need to catch the attention of the Instagram users as fast as possible.

For example, see how the image on the left quickly conveys the same message the text on the right aims to convey, in seconds. It shows all the necessary information the audience needs to know within the image. Be it the colorful picture, the in-image text, or the CTA, everything is crystal clear, and within a few seconds.

Credit: Chumbak Instagram

Now that we have established the main purpose of design in Instagram advertising, let us look at how you can design top-notch ads that bring you results.

Tips to design Instagram ads that get you conversion

Before we delve into this, check out this table that helps you understand the basic design recommendations of the different types of Instagram ads:


To make it easier to understand, let us divide an ad into three core elements:

  • Caption
  • Image
  • Call-to-Action

Designing attention grabbing caption

In simple terms, an Instagram caption is a written explanation or description that goes with the media being posted. For example, in the below screenshot, the text that accompanies the images is called the caption.

Credit: Boat Instagram

How can you make the caption work for your Instagram Ads?

  • Use hashtags that align with your content: Hashtags have become a core element of social media marketing. When used strategically, they not only help your brand reach the right audience, they also help build brand recognition, build up SEO, and more. 

For example, see how Country Delight has used customized hashtags along with some common hashtags to increase their reach through Instagram advertising.

Credit: Country Delight Instagram
  • Keep the caption short and crisp but rich: While you might be tempted to have loads of information on your ad caption, be thoughtful and keep it simple. As established earlier, the audience do not like spending a huge chunk of their time reading content off Instagram. Add the most important information, and just that. Be aware of the word limit so your users don’t have to ‘Click to read more’. Less fuss, more buzz.

For example, see how Bewakoof has kept all important information in its caption while still keeping it short and crisp. When it comes to Instagram ads, KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) goes a long way.

Credit: Bewakoof Instagram
  • Tag your ambassadors, partners, and influencers: If you’re advertising on Instagram, one of the easiest ways to reach a wider audience is through tagging. When you tag a person or brand in your caption using the paid partnership option available on Instagram, the post gets shown to their followers as well. 

For example, see how Lenskart has advertised a brand, John Jacobs, that they sell on their website. This is sure to reach the audience that looks for John Jacobs as well, increasing the chances for Lenskart to get conversions from the ad.

Credit: Lenskart Instagram

Bonus: Don’t shy away from using emojis in the caption of your Instagram ads. They will add the oomph to an otherwise ordinary text caption.

Making images and videos stand out

When it comes to Instagram, the media is the king. It is a tool mainly known for sharing pictures and videos with the online world. Hence, it is only fair that you give utmost importance to the media while designing an Instagram ad. You don’t have to be a professional designer to run your design game. Be it a story ad or a video ad any other type of ad, you can create extraordinary campaigns using Instagram ad templates. 

For example, see the beautiful video by Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters highlighting their french press coffee maker.

Credit: Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters Instagram

How can you make the media work for you?

  • Be mindful of the dimensions and resolutions: What would you prefer to see: An unevenly cropped picture, or a properly designed image? What about the video? One that fits within the screen, or one that is too blurry and hard to watch? If you’ve answered those rightly, you know the importance of the dimension and resolution of the media being used in Instagram ads. This also applies to the different types of ads you choose to have. 

For example, see how Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters have used videos of two different dimensions based on their ad types: One for an in-feed ad, and one for instagram stories.

Credit: Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters Instagram
Credit: Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters Instagram

You can refer to the table at the beginning of this blog post to see the right dimensions for various Instagram Ads design.

Bonus: Make videos that don’t require sound. Yes, sound can be very interesting. But while using mobile, most of the time the sound might be off. Hence, create videos that convey the message even without the sound. Good idea would be to use sharp creative copy to go along with the video.

  • Create organic designs that look like a normal post/story: Instagram has grown from a platform that allows people to share media to a platform where loads of business happens on a daily basis. Imagine the number of advertisements your audience would be seeing each day! To stand out, and sound less salesy, create designs that look like any other post on your Instagram feed.. If your product really interests them, they will go for it seeing your CTA. It’d be a breath of fresh air from overly pushy ads on their feed.

For example, see how Licious posts advertisements that are similar to their normal organic posts. 

Credit: Licious Instagram
  • Make your product the king of the design: Gone are the days when shabby product photography was tolerated. With N number of product photography ideas floating on the internet, it is high time you caught on. No more taking images from random ‘copyright-free’ websites. Invest in a good photographer and flaunt your products on Instagram. Choose the best images to create ads that would grab the attention of your users.

For example, see how Chumbak, a quirky, fun, brand highlights its product in this image, which definitely demands attention in the first look itself.

Credit: Chumbak Instagram

ProTip: Use the “Rule of thirds” to understand where the product must be placed in an image so you can make better use of your product photography and design. You can also choose the “Dynamic images” option while setting up the ad so you can showcase different images to your audience base throughout the campaign.

  • Use colorful images and illustrations that also align with your brand identity: Colorful images always tend to grab a viewer’s attention. Use images that are bold yet minimalistic while sticking to your brand’s visual aesthetics. You can also leverage the color theory and the color wheel to your advantage here; use colors from the opposite side of the wheel to create visually attractive images.

See how Blue Tokai, a Coffee brand, has created this set of Carousel ads by using vivid colors that immediately catch your eyes.

Credit: Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters

Bonus: If you find static images a little boring, you can animate these using various free online tools (like Canva) and add some spice to your advertising.

  • Use minimal text on the image: Minimalism is key to convey any message. Using tons of text could be extremely overwhelming for your user who might just scroll and leave. Be mindful of the media you use and use minimal text for maximum impact. Instead of using loads of text, no matter how tempted you are, think about using less text in a bolder and bigger font.

For example, notice how Box8 Meals has promoted its offer using minimal text.

Credit: Box 8 Instagram

Write irresistible CTA

Call-to-Action, or CTA, in simple terms is the button/text that leads your audience to your desired action from the Instagram ad. You can ask them to buy your product, visit your website or get in touch with you. 

How can you make CTAs work for you?

  • Use simple, actionable CTAs: You’re probably wondering what actionable CTAs are. Actionable CTAs get your users to take actions per your desired results. It not only convinces people to act, but it also tells them what to do and how to do it. Some of the simple yet direct CTAs are:
  • Join us
  • Try for free
  • Subscribe
  • Sign up
  • Learn more

Always remember you can play around with the CTA to see which one suits your brand and objective the best. For example, if your objective is for the users to shop from your website, have “Shop Now”. However, if your objective is to make them download your app, “Install Now” would be the right choice.

For example, in the ad below, the CTA is “Shop Now”. However in the previous section, you can see that Box8 Meals has used “Install Now” as the CTA to promote their app and encourage more people to install it.

Credit: Wakefit Solutions

Don’t forget to refine your Instagram ads design with A/B testing 

Having a solid Instagram ads design is excellent, but nothing can beat the practical knowledge about what worked and what didn’t with your target audience. To get the real feel of what your customers think about your Instagram ads campaign, you can use A/B testing. 

A/B test is a way to find which ads resonate with your customers and get you the most conversions. It involves showing different versions of the same ad and tracking the customers’ responses.

Running A/B testing gives you real-world data on which colour, caption, CTA, or image works for your advertisement. Keep experimenting with your Instagram Ads design now and then by changing the various components of design – from captions and colours to text and CTAs 

Now that you know how to design an Instagram ad that brings you conversion, go ahead and test our tips. Stay tuned to our blog for our upcoming post on 10 Indian D2C brands that are killing it with their Instagram Ads. Have more design tips? Let us know what has worked for you in the comments section below.

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Recommended Reads:

  1. Top Instagram Influencers For D2C Brands in 2022
  2. 16 Unique Instagram Story Ideas For Your D2C Business
  3. Velocity’s Ultimate Guide To Instagram Marketing For Your D2C Business

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