13 of the Best Instagram Ads We’ve Ever Seen

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As I was writing this post, I reached out to coworkers and friends to screenshot their favorite Instagram ads. The responses were, unfortunately, lacking to non-existent.  When I kept bugging them, most responded saying that they either only saw terrible ads, or none at all. Which got me thinking…

The best Instagram ads don’t look like ads at all.

They look like Instagram photos. Kind of like the best movies we see are those that we can relate to—the best acting mimics real life!

Instagram Ads

What we noticed? As social media platforms push consumers toward video, businesses are taking advantage of the opportunity. We also saw a lot of cool carousel ads, creative boomerangs, and high-quality photos.

Welcome to the Oscars of Instagram Ads. It’s going to be a star-studded post. Even better, we’ll take you behind the scenes and show you just how to duplicate their award-winning looks.

Best Actor

Let’s hit this red carpet running! Look at that adorable face. You just know he had to pose 12 different ways with his ears getting tugged to produce this adorable ad. This creative gets right to the point—it’s a grooming service marketing itself to you by showing a picture of a groomed puppy. Sometimes, the best way to get your result is a straight line. Congratulations, Krisers Pets!

Best Instagram Ads

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • Cute animals will stop your prospects in their tracks
  • The “Call now” CTA makes it easy to take action

Best Picture

Look. At. That. Cheesy. Goodness.

Hats off to you, Domino’s. You know what draws hungry college kids coming home from the bars, posting late night Instagrams: cheap—yet delicious—pizza.

More than just the gorgeous picture of a pie, food pictures are huge on Instagram right now. (And did you know that the #1 most Instagrammed food is pizza?) These kinds of ads blend in and stand out appropriately; no one is going to get annoyed that you’re showing up, and they might just be intrigued enough to place a delivery order or head into the store.

Dominos Instagram Ad

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • It looks “native” (like an organic Instagram post)
  • Emojis in the ad text are a nice touch to resonate with hungry millennials

Best Director

This artistic ad from Dance and Beyond is slightly mind-bending, like looking at an illusion on your phone screen. Props for some awesome photography skills—you know the photographer (director) had to rearrange these legs 10,000 different times and take 10,000 shots to get this exactly right.

Don’t be afraid to up the ante on Instagram. If you have an amateur photographer on staff—or if you run a photography studio—show off your skills! Everyone is always looking for the perfect angles. Capture your audience!

Dance Direction

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • Eye-catching, artsy photography begs to be “liked”

Best Original Screenplay

This Chik-fil-a Instagram won the show with a pregnancy announcement. To be honest, I thoroughly enjoyed the play on the typical bun-in-the-oven announcement but I truly identified with Dad. He was upset that there was only one mini chicken sandwich in his box! The emotions were so real!

To create an Instagram ad like Chik-fil-a’s, think about how your brand or product can unexpectedly be involved in the personal milestones of your customers. Everyone loves a great success story; do you run a boutique where your salesperson had a meet-cute with a customer? Do you have a restaurant that hosted a surprise birthday party recently? Tell your story through a video ad! 

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • Uses self-deprecating humor—exactly what you’re looking for from a fast food restaurant
  • Tells a complete story quickly

Best Animated Feature

This adorable Haagen-Dazs ad combined a very real-looking ice cream cone with some very animated bumble bees to celebrate Free Cone Day. They even included a nice play on the “busy bee” idiom in the caption!

This advertisement isn’t too flashy or cartoonish, but draws awareness to the endangered honey bee population and the free cone event in a cute way. You know that they considered featuring real bumble bees, then immediately realized it would be a terrible idea. Way to go, Haagen-Dazs!

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • Latches onto a popular event and a popular environmental issue
  • Creative use of hashtags

Best Adapted Screenplay

Though this might be a stretch for an ad, the popular show 13 Reasons Why is based on a book, and was adapted for television by Netflix. This carousel ad features the show’s main characters with some dramatic overlay quotes.

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • Eye-catching carousel without being a full-blown trailer
  • Intrigues your audience, drives subscription conversions

Best Cinematography

This ad must have been filmed with a high-def, fisheye drone (or something like that, I’m not a photography expert). The footage is amazing! It makes the viewer feel as though they are in the crowd with the best seats in the house. And it never gets boring, with quick action shots, clips of an excited audience, and sporadic camera flashes.

Have Go Pro, will travel? This type of ad is great for travel agencies, car share companies, boutique hotels, or any business that assists their customers getting from point A to point B. Make your audience fight the FOMO with some fast and slow video compilations.

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • Incredibly well-taken video
  • Makes the audience feel present but not as though they are being swindled

Best Costume

This adorable Starbucks ad wins best costume for that great camouflage! On top of the adorable factor, it has all the makings of a great Instagram on a personal account. Don’t kid yourself, one of your more photography-inclined friends could have captured this for a ludicrous amount of likes.

Take advantage of scenery! If you have an especially cool mural or view around your business, take photos of it—maybe with your products strategically placed in the shot.

Starbucks Best Instagram Ad

Why this Instagram ad works:

Best Makeup and Hair

Just looking at this ad from Glossier brings the great, classic song to mind, “My lip gloss is poppin’, my lip gloss is cool!” Glossier has a series of strong ads featuring their products, which closely resemble make-up tutorials that you would find on Instagram organically. This advertisement draws your eye with the enhanced sparkles, and can provide swift gratification with a click of a button to order the same gloss.

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • Like so many of the best Instagram ads, it mimics a great organic ‘gram
  • Clever copywriting is the icing on the cake

Best Comedy

Who doesn’t love a good pet-shaming? Not only does this Instagram ad blend in with the rest of my feed full of naughty puppies and silly cats, it includes a plot twist! This naughty goat head-butting a car door is the perfect advertisement for car insurance—because who knows when a trip to the petting zoo could go awry.

Want to make an ad like this? Simply find a way to incorporate cute animals into your business proposition. Works like a charm.

Insurance Agency

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • Great repurposing of the pet-shaming meme
  • Copy and CTA both reinforce the next step: Calling for help

Best Set Design

Mrs. Meyer’s subtle boomerang ad could be from any parent’s Instagram—spilled milk on some cookies that you know left the kitchen covered in flour and sprinkles. The real eye-catcher is the great title, “Perfect is Boring” that steals the show.

Face it, good cleaning products aren’t the most thrilling selling point. If your product is similarly sleep-inducing, try putting a fun twist on it! Sell cat litter? Pictures of silly kittens. Paper products? Find some way to work The Office into the conversation. You got this.

Boomerang Mrs. Meyer's

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • Perfectly paired image and caption
  • Blends in with an Instagram newsfeed, but is eye-catching enough to create pause

Best Dance

Shout out to Brooklinen for having the best boomerang jump-into-bed dance that everyone can identify with. #BedGoals, am I right? This Instagram ad features (what I can only assume is) a sweet Brooklyn loft, a beautifully made bed, and a satisfying “poof” when that attractive man somersaults into it.

As so many Instagram models can tell you, being scantily clad goes a long way (ahem, every Kardashian, ahem). However, I would recommend duplicating the relatable satisfaction displayed in this ad—the bed jump—like pulling a cheesy slice of pizza or perfectly landing a water bottle flip.

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • Boomerangs are always effective at drawing attention
  • The caption boasts a sale!

Humanitarian Award

Last, but absolutely not least, our Humanitarian Award goes to Donate Life America! Doesn’t that sweet face stop your scroll in its tracks? This simple and to-the-point ad is for a great cause, too.

Humanitarian Award 

Why this Instagram ad works:

  • Well-taken photo for a good cause

Congratulations to all our winners! Did we miss an outstanding Instagram ad that you’ve seen? Send it our way!

MORE: We Analyzed 612 of the Best Ads. Here Are 9 Things We Learned

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Comments

Agen Bola
May 23, 2017

thanks for good posting, instagram ads very worderfull

Gemma Koponen
May 23, 2017

thanks to you for writing this article, I spent to much for a small amount of ROI. Now I may be able to scale up my earnings

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