Instagram Reels ads offer the ability to showcase your brand story, products and services to new audiences in a super creative, high-impact way.

instagram reels

Instagram’s power as a marketing tool just got a boost with parent company Meta’s global release of Instagram Reels ads. Reels and now Reels ads represent a significant step in the platform’s shift away from static images to dynamic video and are Meta’s answer to TikTok.

The move to video had to happen. Social users love video. It’s also working. Video content on Instagram experiences 49 per cent more interactions than image posts. To make the most of this interest, Meta is pushing Instagram Reels hard. Instagram Reels has a dedicated tab on the app to increase engagement with the format.

In 2021, after piloting Instagram Reels ads in a few countries, Meta launched its latest ad format worldwide. Instagram’s chief operating officer, Justin Osofsky, described Reels ads as “a natural fit” to Reels, which was building momentum as a fun way for people to discover new content on Instagram and “the best place on Instagram to reach people who don’t follow you.”

Fast fact: Reels is Instagram’s fastest growing format. More than 45 per cent of Instagram accounts interact with a Reel at least once a week.

Two big benefits of Instagram Reels ads for brands:

  • Access to a much larger audience.
  • Prime placement. Reels ads appear in the Reels tab, Reels in Explore and Reels in your feed – the most popular places to access Reels content on Instagram.

If you’re not already creating Reels videos, it’s time to get started. All indications are pointing to Instagram eliminating the ability to post regular videos to give an extra push to Instagram Reels. To encourage brands even further, Instagram has introduced a way to boost existing Reels by turning them into ads.

Instagram fast facts:

What are Instagram Reels ads

Reels ads are like ads in Stories. They are short videos – up to 30 seconds – that offer a lot of opportunity to be creative. You can add audio — such as music and viral sound clips — as well as text and stickers. The ads are full screen and vertical, and appear between Reels. Just like regular Reels content, Reels ads can loop, and viewers can comment, like, view, save and share them. They show up between regular Reels that users are watching and can be displayed in the Reels tab, on the Explore page and in the Instagram feed, as noted above.

How to create Instagram Reels ads

  1. To get started, you’ll need a business Instagram account linked to a Facebook business page that also has an ad account.
  2. Go to Meta Ads Manager and click create an ad.
  3. Choose your objective. There are six options for Reels: reach, brand awareness, traffic, video views, app installs and conversions.
  4. Once you’ve chosen a goal, it’s time to name your campaign and fill in your campaign details, such as budget, schedule and target audience. You can target by age, gender, location, interests and behaviours.
  5. Under the placements tab choose manual placements. Then select Instagram Reels as your format.
  6. Create a call to action based on your objectives. If your goal is to get viewers to visit your website, make sure you are leading them to an optimized landing page.
  7. Name your ad, confirm the Instagram account and Facebook page your ad is running from and select the Reel you want to use. If you’ve already published it, click select post. If you’ve just created it for Reels, click create post. That’s it. The Instagram Reels ad is ready to go.

How to turn existing Instagram Reels into Reels Ads

Boosting your existing Instagram Reels into ads will help drive traffic to your website, increase sales, and promote your product and service to people who have never heard of you.

To be boosted, Reels must meet certain specifications:

  • They must be less than 60 seconds.
  • They must be filmed vertically in a full-screen format and have a 9:16 aspect ratio.
  • They must be free of any third-party intellectual property, such as copyrighted music.
  • They cannot have been shared to Facebook.
  • Instagram recommends not using Reels published before October 15, 2021.
  • The media you use should not contain face and camera effects, GIFs or product tags.

Once you’ve identified Reels that meet these criteria, find the ones you want to boost in the grid in your Instagram profile and tap boost post.

Once your Reels ad is up and running, check the insights to understand which ads are resonating with viewers.

To help new potential customers find you, boosted Reels will appear in Stories, the Reels tab and the explore page.

Four best practices to get the most out of Instagram Reels ads

1.   Create a content strategy

The key is to deliver fun, engaging content that will capture your target audience’s attention within 30 seconds or less. Research what leading brands are doing and look at trending content on Instagram and other video-focused social channels. Take inventory of your existing content and see how you can leverage and adapt it to fit the Instagram Reels ads format.

Build Instagram Reels ads into your social media content calendar and post at least once a week to get started.

Tip: Nearly 60 per cent of consumers on social media are looking for posts that will teach them something. Tutorial videos are among the most shared videos on social media. Make sure they are easy to follow, start with the most important takeaways and end with a clear call to action.

2.   Make sure your Instagram Reels ads stand out

Use a dynamic cover image to entice viewers to click. Add audio, like music and voiceovers, and write descriptive video captions. This will help drive engagement by people who are listening and those who aren’t. You can add as many as 30 hashtags per Reel – another good opportunity to capture viewers’ interest.

Tip: Instagram’s music library is a great resource for royalty-free music and audio from other Reels.

3.   Think mobile

Design your Reels ads with mobile users top of mind. Publish vertical videos with a 9:16 ratio. The best file size for Instagram is 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels. If the sizing isn’t right, the videos won’t fit and may be blurry. Keep Reels short, between 15 and 30 seconds, with the most important takeaways appearing early. End with a call to action.

4.   Maximize data and analytics

Tap into Instagram Reels insights to better understand how your regular Reels are performing. You can see plays, accounts reached, likes, comments, saves and shares. Use this information to create Instagram Reels ads that will resonate with your target audience.

Instagram Reels ads offer an important opportunity to take your Instagram marketing strategy to the next level. They can increase your reach, and get your existing and new audiences excited about and interacting with your brand on the platform.