How to Make an Instagram Video Ad in Under 2 Minutes

Megan O'Neill


We recently ran tests to find out how Instagram video ads would stack up to carousel ads. We ran tests with three businesses and learned that Instagram video ads outperformed carousel ads in terms of clicks, reach, and cost per click. Check out the full report here.

The videos that we used in our test were created with Animoto in under two minutes–literally–using just five photos. Creating your first video ad is easy and, as you can see from the test results, effective. Here's a quick tutorial on how you can make videos like these on your own.

Step 1: Gather 5 photos

All you’ll need for this project is five photos that represent your business. Because Instagram is a very visual social network, we recommend selecting the most eye-catching photos you’ve got. Here are the photos we selected for the three businesses we worked with for our tests.

Instagram Video Ads with Photos

You’ll notice that the photos showcase a variety of products or people, while still feeling like they are part of a single series. For each business, we chose a final photo that showcases the company’s logo to drive things home and increase brand awareness. No worries if you don't have a photo with your logo in it, we'll show you how to add your logo to the end of your video in this walkthrough.

You’ll also notice that all the photos we selected are square. We recommend creating a square video for Instagram, since square takes up 78 percent more space in the feed and, although you can upload photos and videos that aren’t square, it’s the standard Instagram format. If you don’t have square photos, it’s okay! You’ll be able to crop them once you bring them into Animoto. If you choose any landscape or portrait photos, make sure to select ones that’ll work with a square crop.

Step 2: Create your Instagram video ad

Once you’ve selected your photos, you’re ready to get started.

Start your project

First things first, log into your Animoto account. If you don’t have one yet, you can sign up for a free account now. Once you’re in, click Create to start a new project.

Instead of choosing a pre-built template, click the Start from Scratch button in the top right corner of the page. You’ll be asked to choose a Theme, however, you can this step for your Instagram video ad.

themes selector gif

Next, you'll be prompted to select an aspect ratio. For your Instagram ads you can stick with–you guessed it–square.

Ratio selector, start from scratch

Add your photos

Last step before reaching the workspace, simply drag and drop your five photos plus your brand's logo into the Upload Media box, or click anywhere inside the upload box to browse your files.

Upload media, start from scratch

Weren't able to find five high-quality photos? Feel free to select Use Stock instead to browse our Getty Images stock library featuring over 1 million photos and video clips.

Add a burst block

Time to build your video! Select the + icon on the bottom left of your screen to add a video block. We recommend adding a burst block. Select any of our burst blocks, for this example we're going to use the Scale burst to keep things eye-catching.

Next, drag four of your photos from your Media Library on the right side of the screen into the block–you'll use the last one in the next block. Adjust the burst speed by clicking the icon next to the time and selecting Slower.

Add a logo block

Add one more block to your project. If you have an image with your logo in it, feel free to select a media only block, but if not–or if you'd like to double down on your branding–select one of our logo blocks. Drag and drop your logo into the allotted space, and use your fifth photo as a background image.

Click the T icon on the left side of your project to add text. Here's your chance to add your website URL or a simple call to action to let your viewers know what to do next. Click on the Design button to edit the color and font of your text.

As a final step, we recommend muting the music. You can do this by clicking the Music button and selecting the trash can icon next to the current track. If you do want to include music in your video, you can select a track here too.

Export and publish

Preview your project by clicking the blue play button on the bottom left. If you're satisfied, click Export and you’re good to go! Once your video is produced, you can download it and get it set up as an ad. Learn more in our blog post on how to reach new customers with targeted ads for Facebook and Instagram.

To learn more, check out our complete guide to Instagram video.