6 brands that are getting Instagram video ads right

Facebook may still have a lead when it comes to brands pushing out video ads on the platform, but its visual social network Instagram is slowly catching up.

From December 2015 to March of this year, video ad impressions on Instagram jumped from 30 to 65 percent, according to a study by Brand Networks.

Instagram has been making efforts to court advertisers. In February, it unveiled 60-second video ads and also started counting views on videos, giving marketers a better idea of how many people watch their clips. And earlier this month, it extended its carousel ad format, allowing marketers to post videos that users can swipe through.

“There has been a sharp increase of video ads on Instagram for a few reasons,” said Frank Esposito, social media manager at Huge. “Firstly, Instagram’s API is open. Another reason is cost-efficiency. And thirdly, since videos are a new addition to the carousel format, brands are jumping on it to be first movers.”

With Instagram’s recent algorithm changes favoring video, marketers will likely need to prioritize paid marketing behind the posts on the platform even more. Here are six brands that are using the platform creatively:

Banana Republic
Banana Republic was one of Instagram’s first video advertisers when it used the platform in 2014 to promote its latest collection. The retailer developed videos using a time-lapse technique that showed how its sketches came to life and resulted in its winter collection.

Shades of blue #thenewBR

A video posted by Banana Republic (@bananarepublic) on

Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club frequently uses sponsored ads to reach its target audience on Instagram, such as this 15-second clip warning what can happen when you shave with an old blade. Instagram’s video ads autoplay as users scroll through their feeds, and this clip recognizes that: It provides a storyline that can be easily followed without sound.

Things get creepy when you have to shave with an old blade. Enjoy a fresh Dollar Shave Club blade anytime for just a few bucks.

A video posted by Dollar Shave Club (@dollarshaveclub) on

The home improvement retailer has a DIY theme running through all of its social platforms, including Instagram. The brand organically posts several DIY videos using the hyperlapse format and also puts paid support behind several of them. It’s also been trying a format that it calls “Flipside.” It slices the frame into two to show users two different scenarios that they must flip their phones to see what happens when you use a product versus when you don’t.

“It’s not highlighting a product, but an experience enabled by a product,” said Tal Chalozin, co-founder and chief technology officer at Innovid.

Flip your phone to learn how to clean your home’s air filters. Keep it right side up to find out what happens if you don’t. #lowesflipside

A video posted by Lowe’s Home Improvement (@loweshomeimprovement) on

Taco Bell
Taco Bell showed its playful side with three Instagram video ads in March to highlight its new $1 breakfast menus. The ads mocked the video style popularized by BuzzFeed Tasty and Tastemade, suggesting people try its $1 breakfast items instead.

“Our creative challenge is to nail that thumb-stopping moment to capture viewer interest and then serve up relevant and entertaining content,” said Ryan Rimsnider, senior manager of social strategy at Taco Bell. “We don’t have a ton of time to grab their attention — so we’re always thinking about how to maximize the moments fans are spending with us.”

Airbnb last week released the second phase of its global “Live There” campaign that encourages travelers to not just visit a destination but live there. The multiplatform campaign includes three 30-second films focusing on three of its most popular cities: Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles.

Dunkin’ Donuts
Dunkin’ Donuts’ Instagram feed shows how coffee (and cookies) are incorporated into daily-life activities. The brand is also a fan of time-lapse videos, such as this one.

Yes, they’re warm. Yes, they’re gooey. Yes, they’re delicious. Our new chocolate chip cookie is here! A video posted by dunkindonuts (@dunkindonuts) on

“Video ads on Instagram work well for us because our focus on fun, real-life moments and appetite appeal resonates well with users of the platform and their expectations of Instagram content,” said Nick Dunham, director of media at Dunkin’ Donuts.


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