We recently ran some tests to find out how Instagram video ads would stack up to carousel ads. We ran $1300 worth of 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, created with Animoto in literally under 2 minutes using just 5 photos, were super easy to create and, as you see from the test results, effective. We wanted to share a quick tutorial to show you how you can make these videos on your own.

Step 1: Gather 5 photos

All you’ll need for this project is 5 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 test.

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 for brand awareness.

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 traditional Instagram format. If you don’t have square photos, it’s ok! You’ll be able to crop them once you bring them into Animoto. But if you choose 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. Hold on to your seats, ‘cause this is gonna be quick!

Start your project

First things first, log in to your Animoto account. If you don’t have one yet, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial. Once you’re in, click Create and start an Animoto Marketing project.

Instead of choosing a pre-built storyboard, click the Start from Scratch button in the top right corner of the page. You’ll be asked to choose a video style. You’ll be able to try different styles as you create your video to see which looks best, so for now just be sure to pick a square style.

Animoto Marketing Video Style

Add your photos

Once you’re in your new square video project, add your 5 photos. You can drag and drop photos from your desktop to the Media tray or click the UPLOAD button to search for the files on your computer.

After your photos are added, drag them into the Storyboard section of your project in the order you’d like them to appear. If you are including an image that features your logo, make sure to include it as your last block.

Create Instagram Video Ad Animoto

Adjust timing

Next, adjust the amount of time each image will appear in your video using the timing controls on each of the block. Click on the 3s and then click + or – in order to change the number of seconds each image will appear.

Timing Controls Animoto

For this style of Instagram ad, we found that 1 second per photo worked well with the final branding photo holding for 2 seconds. It resulted in a nice cadence when the video looped, as you can see in the example below.

Try different styles

Once your video is put together, it’s time to see how it looks with different video styles. You can do this by clicking the “Style” icon in the toolbar on the left of your screen. For the Click N Curl video we went with Bold, but there are a variety of styles with different transitions that you can choose from, so find one that looks best with your photos.

Finalize and publish

Once you’ve picked a style, you’re almost ready to go. As a final step, you may choose to mute the music, as it can be distracting with a short looping video. You can do this by clicking the “Music” icon and turning the song volume all the way down. If you do want to include music in your video you can select a track in this same place.

All done? Click PREVIEW and PRODUCE 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.

Want feedback on your video ads? We’re happy to provide it! Join the Animoto Social Video Marketing Community on Facebook and share your videos with us there.