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The Different Types of Instagram Ads


The different types of ads that you can run on Instagram are fairly similar to that of Facebook, which is unsurprising considering Instagram is owned by Facebook! That said, there are some differences, and understanding each ad type is a crucial to any marketing campaign on Instagram.

Types of Instagram Ads

There are currently 6 different types of instagram ads, with 2 of these applying to Instagram ‘stories’, and 4 applying to ads in the main ‘feed’.

Instagram stories allow people to share photos or videos that disappear after 24 hours. Instagram feed refers to just the normal feed in Instagram.

1. Image Ads (feed)

Image ads that appear in the Instagram feed are the most common and simplest ad type.

These ads include just 1 image, that’s it!

The benefit of this Instagram ad type is that they look very much like a normal Instagram post, not an ad. This is great for user experience, and perhaps one of the reasons why Instagram has some of the highest ad engagement levels of all social media platforms.

  • Maximum text – 2,200 (you will want to be much lower than this, aim for under 100 characters if possible).
  • Image – JPEG or PNG, and with a max size of 30 MB
  • Hashtags – Up to 30

2. Carousel Ads (feed)

This ad type is essentially a collection of multiple images or videos that viewers can swipe through. Each image/video can have its own link attached if clicked.

Carousel ads are great for showing off multiple products or different features of the same product/service. Because of this, they can a good Instagram ad type to test for many businesses.

  • Maximum number of images/video – 10
  • Video – Any video featured must be 60 seconds or less
  • Maximum text – 2,200 (again, you’ll want this to be under 100 though, as people don’t often want to read an essay on an advert)
  • Image – As before, JPEG or PNG, max size 30 MB
  • Hashtags – Up to 30

3. Video Ads (feed)

This is a video, up to 60 seconds in length that appears in viewer’s Instagram feed.

Due to the potential complexity and/or cost involved in creating high quality video content, if you have access to video material you should of course be using it in your ad campaign.

Make sure your video is square (eg. 1080 x 1080 pixels) and high quality for Instagram.

  • Video length – 60 seconds or less
  • Max size – 4 GB
  • Text – Again try to stick to under 100 characters if possible
  • Hashtags – Up to 30

Types of Instagram Ads for Stories

4. Image Ads (stories)

Just one image that appears in Instagram stories.

Slightly different in terms of optimal size to feed image ads – You’ll want your ad to be vertical, as when people view Instagram stories it takes up their entire phone screen. A ratio of around 9:16 is optimal.

It’s worth testing both feed and story image ads and seeing which one works better for your business.

5. Video Ads (stories)

The same difference as with image feed vs story ads. Again though, you’ll want to make sure your video ad is uses a vertical aspect ratio so that it take up all of the allotted space on viewer’s phone screens.

Video story ads on Instagram can often perform better than in the feed because the majority of content on Instagram stories is video content. It’s where people tend to post short videos of themselves or their day for their friends and family. Therefore, having your video ad slipped in between some other videos can appear less invasive.

  • Video length – Up to 15 secs
  • Video size – Up to 4GB

6. Canvas Ads (stories)

These are the newest and most advanced type of Instagram ads. While Canvas ads are no doubt powerful tools in the hands of experienced marketers and creators, they are perhaps less well suited to people starting out with Instagram marketing.

This ad type allow you to create fully customised VR experiences within Instagram stories.

And that’s it!

The right Instagram ad type for you depends on the level of ad creatives that you have access to and your actual business. That said, many brands will run multiple Instagram ad types at the same time to test which one(s) work best for them, or to provide a more diverse stream of leads. If you’re unsure which ad type to start with, we would recommend that you do exactly that.

Final note: If you’re looking to run Instagram ads, you can do this through the Facebook ads platform. Because of this, it could be a good idea to test running ads on Facebook as well as Instagram. We have free training content for getting started with Facebook marketing, starting with the different types of Facebook ads.

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