How to Create Instagram Reels Ads: The Ultimate Guide for Online Businesses

Kristina Mišić
June 19, 2024
May 23, 2024

Let’s face it: creativity sells today.

And that’s exactly what Instagram Reels Ads can offer – the ability to show people what makes your product special and why your audience should buy from you rather than another company offering the same thing.

That means more room for telling your story in a compelling way and, more important, building trust and increasing conversion rates.


  • Introduction to Instagram Reels Ads: Instagram Reels are short-form videos on Instagram, and you can use them as ads to target your desired audience.
  • Don’t overdo creativity: While creativity is great, be mindful of Instagram’s strict advertising policies. Avoid video/face effects, licensed music, GIFs, or media with product tags. Always get permission for copyrighted music.
  • Advertising standards: Ensure your advertising is honest and genuinely represents your product. Authentic storytelling is more effective than over-reliance on special effects.
  • Steps to launch an Instagram Reels ad campaign:
    1. Objective selection: Set your advertising goal – brand awareness, reach, traffic, engagement, lead generation, app promotion, or sales.
    2. Campaign details: Specify budget, schedule, and audience targeting. Adjust your budget based on performance metrics.
    3. Ad placement: Choose between Advantage+ (automatic) placements and manual placements. The former allows broader reach across various platforms.
    4. Primary text and hashtags: The main text is vital, but while hashtags can categorize content, they’re not a necessity for ads.
    5. CTA and target URL: Implement compelling CTAs that create urgency. Direct audiences to specific online destinations using a target URL.
    6. Analyze performance: Use Ads Manager to monitor ad performance, from engagement to cost per engagement.
  • Boosting an existing Reel: If you have a popular Reel, you can boost it for more visibility. This is done by selecting the Reel, setting goals, target audience, budget, and duration, and then clicking ‘Boost’.
  • Conclusion: Instagram Reels Ads are a valuable tool for online businesses. With careful planning and strategy, they can significantly boost visibility and engagement. For tailored strategies, consider a free consultation with inBeat – a performance-based Meta advertising agency.

What are Instagram Reels Ads?

Instagram Reels Ads are a form of advertising on Instagram that appears within the Reels tab, seamlessly integrated with organic Reels content.

These short-form vertical videos capture the attention of users scrolling through Reels.

That means you get a way to promote your products or services in a format that aligns with the engaging, entertaining nature of Reels.



Why use Instagram Reels Ads?

Instagram Reels Ads present a remarkable opportunity to capitalize on the growing popularity of short-form video content.

With the Reels tab becoming a hotspot for discovering engaging and entertaining videos, you can significantly increase their video views by placing ads in Reels.

The IG Reels format seamlessly integrates into users' browsing experiences, so it's an ideal platform for ads.

You can leverage individual Reels and Instagram Story formats to create immersive content that resonates with your audience.

The full-screen format can produce a high impact and lead to higher brand recall, especially if you have a compelling reel.

Pro tip: Use Instagram Reels Insights to gain valuable data on engagement rates and optimize your campaigns for better performance.

Unlike traditional video posts, the organic Reels content doesn't feel like promotional material, but rather it feels natural and appealing to viewers.

That's how you can drive higher engagement rates and even purchase decisions.

Key Elements of an Effective Reels Ads Creative

It’s important to remember that the goal of any advertising or marketing campaign is to get people talking about your brand, product, or service.

Instagram Reels Ads are no different.

With all this in mind, here are four key elements that you need to keep in mind when creating your Instagram Reels Ads:

Choose an engaging video

Instagram is a visual medium.

So, it’s no surprise that the best way to attract and keep an audience engaged throughout the entire duration of the video is with stunning content that looks like a natural part of your Instagram feed.

Instagram UGC (user-generated content) and influencers are two ways you can achieve this goal.

TOK Beauty, a Canadian-based clean beauty brand, makes great use of UGC content and publishes reels with influencers showcasing their newest products and how-to’s.


UGC (user-generated content) refers to photos taken by users of your product or service, as opposed to professional product shots taken by your marketing team.

The key here is that people are taking photos of themselves using your product or service in real-life situations.

This gives a more authentic view of how people use your product or service and what they get out of it.

For example, let’s say you have a clothing brand that sells t-shirts for $30 each.

You could create a reel ad that shows off the different styles of shirts and how they look on different people – men and women of all shapes and sizes – instead of just putting up screenshots of the product page where they’re sold.

That way, viewers will see exactly how great the products are before they even click on them!

Influencers have a huge effect on branded content.

In fact, 78% of consumers say that creators are influential in helping them to discover new brands.

By pairing influencers with UGC, you’ll create even stronger connections with your audience while adding more value to your offerings.

If someone has thousands of followers on Instagram and posts about your brand, their followers will see it in their feed and may be inspired to check out what you’re doing!

Leticia Esparza in Native campaign by inBeat
Leticia Esparza in Native campaign by inBeat

This is certainly not an easy task for someone new to the world of influencer marketing. Even if you have experience with this type of advertising, you know how time-consuming it can be.

Luckily, you can delegate this task to an Instagram influencer marketing agency like inBeat that can help you find relevant influencers for your target audience on many social media platforms – no matter your niche.

Stick to video ad specs

We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the best practices for Instagram Reels Ads, and we’ve found some important details to keep in mind when designing your reel ad. Here are our recommendations:

  • Don’t let a blurry ad ruin your Instagram Reel: Make sure the footage (MP4 or MOV) you’re using in your Instagram Reel is 9:16, and the ideal size is at least 500×888 pixels. Uploading files that don’t fit this bill can result in blurry or awkwardly cropped Reels ads that will just look sloppy and unprofessional.
  • Officially, Instagram Reels can be from 0 seconds to 15 minutes long
  • Instagram Reel with music makes your audience engaged: Keep in mind you have to use original audio or royalty-free music because ads with other audio may be subject to copyright claims.
  • Not all reels can be boosted: You can’t include any copyrighted music, media with product tags, face and camera filters, or interactive stickers. If an aspect of your video has been posted to Facebook before, it will also be ineligible for boosting.

Add audio and video captions

If you’re using Instagram videos to promote your business or brand, you can’t ignore the power of audio.

It’s so easy to overlook this aspect of video, but it can make a huge difference in how people perceive your brand.

You know how some songs just make you want to get up and dance? Well, it turns out that the same thing can happen when you’re watching an Instagram reel.

The right music can help your reel ad stand out and get more views. A good song can really make a video pop, and it’s not hard to find one that fits your brand.

Like so:


Here are some tips on how to choose the right music for your Instagram reel ad:

  • Choose music that fits the mood of your reel. If it’s powerful, choose powerful music. Add audio to video that is upbeat and positive, and don’t use any songs with lyrics that might make people feel uncomfortable or sad about themselves (e.g., “I’m just not good enough”).
  • Choose music with lyrics that match what is going on in the video. If there’s something happening in your video that seems relevant to what’s going on in the song, then it’s probably going to work well together.
  • Make sure the song isn’t too loud or quiet – you want people to hear it clearly without needing to turn up their volume all the way up on their phone.
  • Original audio is always best. It’s not enough to just upload a video with your own voice over the top. You can use original audio – like an interview with someone from your company or a video from an influencer that explains what products or services you offer. Don’t use something too generic or too much like an ad! That won’t give people any reason to engage with what you have to say.

Your Instagram Reels Ads are a big deal, and you want to make sure that it’s as effective as possible.

The first step? Subtitles.

While we recommend adding sound, Instagram is a visual medium, so it’s important to keep in mind that users may choose to mute the sound on this platform.

Subtitles can be a great way to convey more information about your business and products or services in just a few seconds without interrupting the flow of the video.

It tells your audience what is happening in the video so they can follow along and understand what they’re watching.

They also give the viewer more time to process what they are seeing – which can improve their retention rate.

They’re also an excellent tool for emphasizing key points or emphasizing important keywords like “free shipping” or “30-day return policy“. This way, you are catering to more people and showing that your brand is inclusive to the entire audience.

Don’t overdo it with creativity

We know you’re excited to show off your creative side with Instagram Reels Ads. And we get it – it can be really fun to create your own content.

However, it’s important to note that some types of media are explicitly not allowed in Instagram Reels Ads:

Instagram’s advertising policies are strict, and they don’t want you to use video/face effects in your reel ads, licensed music, GIFs, or media with product tags.

So, if you decide to use music for your Instagram Reels Ads, make sure you have permission from the copyright holder before boosting your Reel.

You can request permission by contacting them directly or through legal channels like YouTube’s Content ID system.

If they refuse – don’t use their content. It might be worth paying for a license instead of risking being sued.

Advertising Standards
Meta Business Help Center

We know it’s tempting to want to try out all of the new face or camera effects for your ad, but we want to encourage you to keep it real.

If you’re going to advertise, you should be able to stand by your product 100%.

You should be proud of it, and you should have a story that’s real and honest.

Your audience doesn’t want to be sold to – they want to hear about the real people who made this thing happen.

You can use all the fancy effects you want, but if the viewer doesn’t understand what they’re looking at, it’s not going to do any good.

Get the most out of your Instagram Reels Ads with inBeat’s Meta Ads Agency

7 Steps to Launch an Instagram Reels Ad Campaign

1. Go to Ads Manager and choose an objective

What’s your reason for placing an ad on Instagram Reels?

Are you trying to find new followers, build credibility, or increase awareness? Reels ads on Instagram give you access to six advertising campaign goals:

Brand awareness

A brand awareness campaign is used when you want to get people talking about your brand so that they remember it and consider it when they’re making purchasing decisions. You can use these campaigns to introduce a new product or service to the public or to remind people of your brand’s existence.


Reach objectives are the most common type of objective the vast majority of brands select when creating an ad. Reach objectives measure the number of people who see your ads. Reach objectives are useful when you’re trying to get new customers (or users) to learn about your brand or service.


Set traffic as a Reels campaign goal when you want to reach a large number of people and drive them to your website. This would help you meet your goal of getting potential customers to click on your ad so they can learn more about what you have to offer.


Engagement ad objectives are great if you want to get more people to interact with your ads.


Lead Generation ad objectives offer a unique way to collect leads for your business right within the Instagram platform. Once your user has watched your Instagram Reel ads and followed your CTA, your ad will lead users to a dedicated landing page that yields opt-in, sign-up and sales for your brand.

App promotion

If you have an app, you can promote it on Instagram. You can create an app promotion campaign when you want to get more people to install your app, optimize for app events, or attract your highest-value customers.


Instagram Reels Ads' sales objectives are great, for example, for ecommerce stores that want to enhance sales. To use this sales objective, you must first upload your product catalog to Instagram.

Ads Manager Options
Meta Business

2. Specify campaign details (budget, schedule, audience targeting)

Setting campaign details is important because it helps you get the most out of your ads.

For example, you can set your ideal customer so you can be sure to reach them with the right products.

That way, you’re making the most out of your marketing budget.

After all, the cost of Instagram Reels Ads depends on the total budget, duration, and objectives you’ve set for your ad or campaign. So invest your time wisely and think carefully about the importance of these advertising details.

You should also think about the average amount you’re willing to spend on your ad every day.

When you’re not sure your paid ads are working, take a look at your performance.

When things start to look up, you might be tempted to double or triple the budget so you can take advantage of the ad set’s success.

Although it’s best to avoid making drastic changes all at once, you can certainly increase the budget over time.

Bumble in-feed ad

Audience targeting on Instagram reels is the ability for brands to target specific audiences with their ads.

It’s a powerful tool that lets you reach people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to say and more likely to convert into customers.

The more specific you are about what you want, the better your chances of getting it.

With Instagram Reels Ads, you can target people based on their gender, age, location, and other interests.

Now you just have to choose when your campaign – and you are ready to take the next step.

3. Pick the Instagram Reels Ads placement

The places where you can run your Instagram Reels Ads are called Placements. There are two options:

  • Advantage+ Placements (formerly known as automatic placements)
  • Manual Placements

Advantage + placements allow your ad to be seen on all placements available for your settings on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Meta Audience Network.

Since audience targeting works the same across all available placements, this option often provides a wider reach and better conversion.

Instagram Reels ads Placement

Manually selecting ad placement means you can choose specifically where your ad will appear (and not appear).

For example, you want your ad to be shown on Instagram but not on Facebook, etc.

If you want to use Instagram ads on your Instagram reels, you’ll need to follow the technical specifications for each placement.

As you can see below, this option allows you to choose all Instagram-based locations under the “Manual placements” section.

Do you know where your audience is? If not, this is a great opportunity to test and see.

Bumble in-feed ad

4. Add the primary text with hashtags

The main body text (Primary Text) is the first two lines of your ad.

Use these lines to summarize what you offer and why it’s valuable to customers. Just remember to keep it short!

These two lines of your primary text will be immediately displayed on Instagram. The rest will be cut off and not visible to users unless they click on it.

Ads in Reels

Without the right hashtags, your IG reels will get fewer eyeballs. If you are not familiar with hashtags yet, these are keywords or phrases used to categorize content and make it easier for people to find.

When a user posts a photo with a relevant hashtag, their post will appear in the search results of anyone who searches for that hashtag.

But do we need them when we create Instagram Reels Ads?

To be honest, many brands just don’t bother using them.

While this can be tempting if you want to reach as many users as possible, it’s important to remember that your audience won’t necessarily see your Instagram Reel in their feeds.

That’s because it won’t show up in searches like regular posts. You’re already paying for increased visibility, so although it won’t hurt your ad performance, it’s definitely not necessary.

5. Choose a CTA and a target URL

A compelling call to action (or CTA) is an essential part of any ad campaign.

It’s a phrase or statement that tells your audience what to do next – whether that’s buying your product, visiting your website, or downloading a free ebook.

In order for your ad to be effective, it needs to stand out and grab the attention of potential customers.

The only way you can do this is by creating a sense of urgency by showing why now is the best time for them to buy your product or service.

For example, if you’re selling a subscription box, then you could say something like, “Subscribe now and get 10% off your first box!” or “Subscribe today and receive 25% off your first shipment!”

Ad Campaign CTA

A target URL is a link that you can include in your ad to send people to a specific website.

This can be a landing page, product page, or any other location on the web where you want visitors to go.

6. Add Interactive Elements

When creating Instagram Reels Ads, you should consider adding interactive elements to enhance engagement and make your ad more compelling. Here are some interactive elements to include and why:

1. Polls and Questions: Incorporate polls or questions to encourage viewers to participate actively. This not only increases engagement but also provides valuable insights into your audience's preferences and opinions.

2. Clickable Links: Add clickable links within your Reels ads to direct viewers to your website, product page, or any other relevant destination. This makes it easy for interested users to take immediate action, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

3. Call-to-Action (CTA) Buttons: Use clear and compelling CTA buttons, such as "Shop Now," "Learn More," or "Sign Up." These prompts guide viewers on what to do next and can significantly boost your ad’s effectiveness in driving desired actions.

4. Stickers and Emojis: Integrate fun stickers and emoji sliders to make your ad more visually appealing and relatable. These elements can capture viewers' attention and convey your message in a light-hearted, engaging manner.

5. Swipe-Up Feature: If you have access to the swipe-up feature (available for accounts with 10k+ followers), use it to provide a seamless transition for viewers to explore more content or make a purchase directly from your ad.

7. Analyze your Reel’s performance

The key to a successful Instagram advertising campaign is knowing what’s working and what’s not.

Track how many people like each ad, how many people engage with each one, and how much each one costs per engagement (CPC). This will help you determine which ad performs best and what kind of engagement you’re getting.

  1. In the Ads Manager tab, click on the name of the campaign you want to analyze.
  2. Click on ‘Ads’ in the top right corner of the screen; this will open up your Ad Reel.
  3. Click on ‘Performance’, then select ‘View’. This will take you to a page where you can see all of your ad reels for that campaign listed below each other with information about their performance over time, including budget spent, impressions, clicks, and cost per click (CPC).
Bumble in-feed ad
Bumble in-feed ad

Pro tip: Boost an existing Reel

What is it about this existing piece of content that will make it worth sharing?

Surely, there is a reel that you have already created and have high hopes for.

It may have a solid engagement from your audience – and logically, now you want it to be seen by more people. That’s where boosting the Instagram Reel option comes in.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Choose the Reel you want to boost.
  3. Tap Boost Reel.
  4. Set your goal.
  5. Set your target audience.
  6. Set your budget and duration.
  7. Click Boost.

That was easy, right? Your boosted reel will begin running after it’s been reviewed and approved.


If you’re an online business owner thinking about putting together an Instagram reels ad campaign, it’s worth it to take advantage of the opportunity.

What’s more, making high-quality Instagram Reels Ads isn’t as difficult as it seems on the surface – just make sure you have a great script to work with and a good idea of what sort of effect you want to achieve.

With our tips and advice, you’ll be running brilliant Instagram Reels Ads campaigns in no time at all.

Also, don’t hesitate to book a free strategy call with inBeat’s team, and we’ll help you get most of Reels ads!

Want more examples of successful Instagram Reels ads? Check out case studies of our performance-based UGC agency!

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