How to Master Instagram Reels Ad Placements
In case you missed it, Facebook announced recently that Instagram Reels will soon be available as a placement for advertisers. As a Facebook Creative Partner, I’ve had the opportunity to beta test Reels with a handful of my clients and I’m excited to provide you with some insight and creative best practices so you, too, can produce top-notch creatives for your brand or clients and take advantage of this new placement.
How Reels Have Impacted My Clients So Far
“I was excited to see the early results of Reels ads as they produced a lower cost per acquisition than our Instagram story ad. We look forward to refining our Reels creative strategy and scaling our spend on this placement in the second half of this year."
-- Marshall Haas, CEO & Co-Founder, Peel
Peel, the smartphone case manufacturer, measured the impact of running Reels ads on Instagram, and saw 36% more incremental purchases from its Reels ad placements along with a 47% reduction cost per purchase.
Reels Ads Are Much Like TikTok Ads
It’s no surprise that Reels was Facebook’s attempt to keep up with the hype of TikTok. Therefore, the organic side of both platforms are very similar. Creatively you absolutely should leverage any ads you produce for TikTok, for Reels.
Reels (organic and ads) are limited to 30 seconds. While I typically recommend to keep your creatives short and sweet regardless of placement, sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with storytelling and exceed 30 seconds of content.
Avoid or remove the TikTok watermark on your videos. While I personally don’t have any proof of this affecting impressions or reach on my Reels ads, it has been said that any creative with the watermark will “not be favored” by the algorithm. The same goes for the ads side of TikTok, any ads featuring the watermark will not be approved.
Know the creative safe zones for important elements in your ad. On both Reels and TikTok ads, the caption and CTA button are natively overlaid on the lower 360px and on the right side, you’ll find the like, comment, and share buttons. Keep these elements in mind when filming and designing any elements in post production.
While both Reels and Stories should be in mobile-first, vertical format, unlike Stories placement, the call to action for Reels is not swipe up but rather to tap the button element such as Shop Now, Learn More, etc. which can be selected in the ad setup level.
How Can I Know What Works?
Be a student of the platform! Spend some intentional, allotted time out of your day to watch Reels on Instagram and consume the content relevant to your audiences. It’s easy to get stuck so set a timer or find inspiration from brands/creators that are putting out engaging TikTok and Reels content.
Test, test, test! Try long-form (30 seconds) vs. short-form (under 10 seconds), hand-held selfie style videos vs. staged tri-pod videos, voiceovers vs. music, try different opening hooks, and calls-to-action.
Use UGC and understand the native elements of organic content on the platform… AKA: make your Reels ads using Reels on your phone. Use the text treatments you would find in the Instagram (or TikTok) app. One thing that Reels currently lacks is a commercial, non-copyrighted audio library. If you choose to use a soundtrack, you’ll have to do that in post-production.
Always use captions when using voice overs. Although Reels and TikTok are mostly sound-on, it’s always smart to include captions for accessibility and in the case someone is watching with sound off. This is something I always prioritize in any creative.
3 Creative Ideas to Make For Reels
This can be framed as a life-hack, a favorite buy you’ve “found on the internet”, and include a product overview. Engaging Reels should start off with hook like “This _____ transformed my home” or “I can’t believe I waited this long to try ______” for example.
Things you didn’t know you needed
What problem does your product or service solve? Start your video off with a common gripe someone would have with ______, then go into why your product/service is the perfect solution to that. My client The Essence Vault, sells alternatives to expensive designer perfumes that smell identical. The problem they solve is offering affordable options for something familiar to anyone interested in fragrances.
The most obvious creative you can make is simply your product or service in use. If you have an apparel brand, do a try-on haul using transitions like spinning/jumping/snapping or covering and revealing the camera with your hand or shoe.
Need more creative inspo?
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I work with all types of e-commerce businesses to help them expand their brand by the way of Snapchat, TikTok, Facebook and Google ads. If you want to work together on your digital ad strategy or if you have any questions or feedback for me, contact me here!