Instagram Explore Ads: How They Work, Ad Specs & How to Convert More Ad Clicks

Instagram Explore Ads: How They Work, Ad Specs & How to Convert More Ad Clicks

Last updated on by Stephanie Mialki in Advertising, Facebook Advertising

Instagram has added a number of ad formats and options since it’s launch, making the social network an increasingly valuable space for advertisers:

Most recently, Instagram Explore ads were added to the mix, making the platform even more of a necessity for advertisers to get in front of their target audience.

What are Instagram Explore ads and why do you need them?

These ads are found under Instagram’s Explore tab, where more than 50% of users go to discover photos and videos related to their specific interests from accounts they may not already follow:

Instagram Explore Ads example

Since users scrolling the Explore section are already in a discovery mindset — and most receptive to advertising — it’s an ideal place for businesses to show their ads.

They also provide advertisers with several unique benefits:

  • The opportunity to be part of what’s culturally relevant and trending, while reaching new audiences actively looking to discover something new.
  • The ability to reuse existing feed ad creative in Explore, with the same people-based targeting.
  • Easy extension of standard feed campaigns using automatic placements with a simple opt-in to reach audiences in Explore.

How do Instagram ads in Explore work?

To understand how these ads work, you must first know that the Explore grid is extremely customized to each user’s individual interests.

According to Facebook, Explore is a discovery surface where Instagram sources content from across the platform based on a person’s interest. For instance, my Explore feed is filled mostly with baby content, home decor, and fitness because that’s what Instagram’s algorithm determines (appropriately) to be valuable and personalized to me:

Instagram Explore Ads targeted feed example

Instagram Explore feed ads don’t appear in the Explore feed, though.

Instead, ads only appear after a user taps an Explore photo or video. That photo or video then expands to full-screen. Next, the user can scroll through another contextual feed of content similar to the post that was tapped on. This feed is where Explore ads appear, in the same format as standard Instagram feed ads:

Instagram Explore Ads feed example

This prevents Explore ads from being intrusive and overwhelming to Instagram users directly in the grid, which is another one of their main benefits.

How to set up Instagram Explore page ads

Explore is not available as a standalone placement, so ads must run in the main feed to appear in the Explore feed. Therefore, the steps to create Instagram Explore ads are the same as creating regular Instagram newsfeed ads:

  1. In Facebook Ads Manager, create a new ad by selecting +Create, or edit an existing ad.
  2. Choose an objective that supports Instagram Explore as an ad placement (all major objectives are supported), and select Continue.
  3. Complete the details for your ad set.
  4. Under Placements, Instagram Explore is available as an Automatic Placement. If you choose Edit Placements, check the box for Explore under Instagram.
  5. Select Continue.

You can preview your ad before submitting for review — and after review, you’ll be notified of its approval or disapproval. If approved, you can see where people are viewing your ad in the results section of Ads Manager.

Instagram Explore ads specs

To ensure you’re creating high-quality Instagram ads, consider the following design recommendations and requirements:

  • Image size: Depends on the ad format you select (Note: When creating your ad, you can use the Crop Image feature to ensure your ad looks the way you prefer)
  • Square: 600 x 500 pixels to 1936 x 1936 pixels
  • Landscape: 600 x 315 pixels to 1936 x 1936 pixels
  • Vertical: 600 x 750 pixels to 1936 x 1936 pixels
  • Video file size: Up to 4 GB
  • Video length: Up to 120 seconds
  • Caption length: Up to 2,200 characters
  • Aspect ratio: Depends on the format
  • Square: 1:1
  • Landscape: 1.91:1
  • Vertical: 4:5
  • Website URLs in captions: Avoid using URLs in your ad text, as they are not clickable

After the ad click

Since Explore ads are highly personalized to each user, it’s important that the post-ad click experience continues that same level of personalization. When the post-click stage doesn’t deliver the same message that the ad introduced, conversion rates suffer the consequences.

Tease your offer with an Instagram Explore ad like Imperfect Foods does:

Instagram Explore Ads example Healthful Radiance

Then, seal the conversion with a post-click landing page that’s equally as segmented and personalized:

Instagram Explore Ads Healthful Radiance page example

By providing prospects with a relevant post-click destination, you ensure a better overall user experience, and therefore increase their chance of a conversion.

Complete your Instagram Explore ads with post-click experiences

Present your ads among customized, culturally relevant, and trending content in Instagram Explore where users are already in a discovery mindset and most receptive to advertising.

To complete your campaign, be sure to segment and personalize beyond the ad. Tell the same story narrative from Explore ad to post-click page, and request an Instapage Enterprise Demo to see how Instapage can help you do that at scale.

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Stephanie Mialki

by Stephanie Mialki

Stephanie Mialki is a Content Writer for Instapage. She is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.

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