Instagram Hooks: Why & How to Create Them (w/ Useful Tips)

Manu Sheen
Manu Sheen
Customer Success Manager at Insense

You already know how important it is to create content for your social media… 

…and you’re aware that if it’s done right, social content can increase your brand awareness and drive conversions

But here is the challenge; the digital marketing space has become highly competitive and people are dividing their attention. 

So, what can you do?

Enter: engaging content!

It offers people different perspectives with a few laughs, inspiration, knowledge, entertainment, and assistance.

How do you create engaging content?

There are several ways to do this but using hooks is something you should consider. 

In this guide, we will discuss in detail:

  • What a hook means
  • How to create one for your ad creatives
  • Tips to ensure it’s effective

That said, let’s jump right in!

What Is a Hook on Instagram & Why Does it Matter?

An Instagram hook is an angle used in content that captures the attention of your audience, sparks interest, and gets them to engage.

It’s a powerful piece in your Instagram posts that stops your audience in their scroll.

In other words, they don’t just view your content and pass, they get to interact with it too.

You can think of hooks as an appetizer.

An appetizer is not the main meal; it has only one purpose: to stimulate your appetite before the main dish arrives. 

You’d agree that if the appetizer is great, it can leave you wanting more. 

That’s kind of the same deal with a hook; it’s not the main dish but it can get people two feet in the door craving for what comes next. 

So it’s safe to say that the content that follows must be as captivating as the hook and vice versa.

Your hook needs to appeal and speak to the audience.

A successful hook ensures the content performs better.

Now that’s settled, let’s move on to the fun part—how to create strong hooks.

5 Strong Hooks for Instagram Ad Creatives

Instagram is one of the top social platforms in the world right now with over 1.2 billion people using it every month. 

Believe it or not, reports have shown that it’s still gen Z’s favorite social media platform.

Also, 1 in 2 people have said they use Instagram to find new brands. 


The possibilities are endless and the competition among brands that want to increase Instagram engagement is high.

As such you need strong hooks for your brand’s ad creatives that can convert and win the Instagram algorithm. 

1. Start with the problem you’re trying to solve

The first element to creating a strong hook is to identify and outline the problem you want to solve

Everyone wants to talk about how beneficial their brand’s product or service is, but the truth is that people aren’t really concerned with that. 


Because from that angle it doesn’t connect with the audience. They’re unable to relate to it. 

Here’s an illustration to help you understand better:

Imagine you were driving on your way to work for a presentation and suddenly had a flat tire—a very frustrating situation. 

While you’re still trying to figure out how you would replace it, someone comes up to you and says they have an efficient and affordable puncture-proof tire that could last for years and doesn’t require any tools to install it. 

You need the product but the approach they took may not make you interested in it.


Well, they’re not addressing your main problem and circumstances around you: a flat tire. 

Not now would most likely be your response. 

Your product should be solving a problem and your hook can be that problem.

So, what should they have done?

Begin the conversation by acknowledging the problem at hand…Oh, I’m sorry you have a flat tire.

Because this is something you’re dealing with in this scenario, it’s easy for you to reply (relate and engage with them). 

In a nutshell, start with the pain point your customer is dealing with

2. Ask a question about the problem

Another great idea for a strong hook is to ask questions about their pain point. This means you put yourself in your audience’s shoes. 

Asking questions helps you do a few things effortlessly:

  • Connect with your audience
  • Engage with them
  • Signal to your audience that they’ve found the right resource

In their minds, they’re thinking, “how did they know?

That sparks curiosity which makes them want to know more about what you’ve got to offer. 

What kind of questions can you ask?

Well, they can be personal or intriguing

Personal questions connect to people emotionally because they can relate to them.  Here’s an example: Do you love road trips but get car sick?

Intriguing questions, on the other hand, get people curious about what’s coming next. For example, can you travel the world for only $500?

Please don’t wait for an answer, it’s just an example. If you find the answer before us let us know so we can all meet in Barbados :). 

For either question, it’s important you’ve researched your audience well.  

3. Make a list

Top 10 lists and similar listicles aren’t just for articles or blog posts, they can be a good hook for your social media content

Here you get to highlight the solutions your product would offer and by doing so, get people fascinated about your ad. 

Making a list shows there are several solutions to a problem your audience are facing. 

For example; 5 proven ways to increase your follower count on social media

This tells your target audience, who are probably having a hard time growing their follower base, that there is more than one way to do that. 

4. Start with the product 

This skincare product is trending on Instagram 

That is a pretty good hook to capture people’s attention. 

Using this type of hook gives your audience the notion that other people are getting results from using your product.

What else? 

People love to follow what’s trending. 

That’s probably one of the reasons products like the iPhone and Samsung are so popular. 

Starting with the product is basically like leveraging on user-generated content

…and you also know what consumers say about that?

About 66% of consumers in a 2015 report claim they trust the opinions of their peers posted online. 

In other words, if people are already using the product, it can get more people’s attention.

5. Solve the problem

Let’s use a similar example from the previous section…

…This skincare product gives you clear skin and gets rid of acne.

If you know what problem your audience is dealing with, don’t hesitate to solve it—that right there is a hook.

When someone is battling acne, they care less about its composition or the benefits of the materials used. 

They have only one question in mind: can it deal with my acne so I can have clear skin?

If it’s a resounding yes, rest assured they’re hooked and ready to be pulled up to the surface. 

Next, we look at the top tips for an effective ad creative.  

6 Tips for Effective Meta (FB & IG) Ad Creatives 

Getting the hook right is just one part of your campaign.

You need them to get people hyped up about what comes next—your ad creatives. 

Creatives are basically videos or images used for your campaign. 

You want to ensure that both the hook and creatives are effective. 


With the right creatives, your ads can drive the kind of results you’ll want to see. 

Below are some tips you will find helpful. 

Tip #1: Use text overlays

Text overlays mean adding a text element over a video so that it appears while users watch the video. 

It’s like a movie subtitle but in this case, it only highlights the important messages you want to pass across.

Your audience on Meta platforms scan quickly; as such, you want to shorten the text to be used for the overlay. 

This way your content is user-friendly.

We know you plan on working with a creator who has an amazing voice for your content, but here’s why using text overlays is important for your Meta ad creatives:

Your audience is most likely watching the content on different devices. Some are watching it on TV and others on a mobile device or PC. In several cases, they might be watching with the sound off… 

…and enter text overlays!

In other words, this enhances the sound-off experience for your audience. 

Here are some tips to guide how you use text in your video ad:

  • Leave texts long enough to be read
  • Keep to a low word count
  • Make it unique
  • Let the text match your overall design

Tip #2: Formats and placements

Another tip to consider is the format your creative will be in and where it will be placed. 

When running a campaign on Meta, your ads can be placed in any of the following places on the platform:

  • Facebook/Instagram Feeds
  • Facebook /Instagram Stories 
  • Facebook In-Stream Videos 
  • Facebook Search Results 
  • Messenger Sponsored Messages 
  • Facebook Instant Articles 
  • Apps

Each of them has different formats your content needs to be in for it to be effective as recommended by Facebook.

By using the right format and placement, you can advertise your creatives with confidence. 

Does it mean you have to create different content for each creative?

Far from it!

Actually, brands collaborating with creators from Insense can repurpose the content that’s created to suit diverse formats and placements.

Tip #3: Experiment with captions

Captions are pieces of text placed under a creative that describes what's happening in the picture or video.

Its main goal is to provide context to the creative.

Why do you need captions if you're already using text overlays?

First off, text overlays work only on Facebook meaning its sister platform needs captions.

You can experiment with different captions by trying various fonts, colors, and even placements. 

Plus, combining captions and text overlays can make the post even more engaging.

You can use short or long captions, emojis, hashtags, and tags. 

What should you keep in mind when coming up with Instagram captions to engage Instagram users?

  • Ensure they are easy to read (avoid tiny letters and faint colors)
  • The character limit is 330 words which is about 2,200 characters
  • Ensure the style of your caption is consistent with your brand voice and Instagram’s informal communication style

… and how do you write an effective caption that increases your engagement rate?

  • Tell stories: everyone loves a good story, but keep it interesting
  • Use long-form content: depending on your brand’s product or service, try and use up all the word count
  • Include a call to action (CTA): try and compel people to take action after viewing your creative

Tip #4: Tweak your hooks and repurpose content

What we mean by this is take existing content and reuse it somewhere else—just like recycling. 

You take content that has already been used and turn it into a new post. 

But people will know it’s old content, I want to post new content every time. 

Well,  that’s why you need to tweak your hook.

We outlined different ways you could create a hook in the previous section. Feel free to use any of them and your content would be as good as new!

There’s something you should note before we move on; repurposing is better on websites, or select social media platforms like Snapchat. 

Tip #5: Make sure your video content is not too long

Our next tip is pretty direct: keep the length of your video content and reels short. 

While Instagram allows videos for up to 15 minutes (even more for Facebook), it’s best if you only use 9–15 seconds from that time.

Or 60 seconds if you can’t help it. 

We’re not just saying that! 

Actually, Facebook recommends videos less than a minute for viral content. 

Does this mean long-form videos perform poorly?

Not at all. 

What we mean is that if you truly want to capture your audience’s attention and engage them, you need to be economical with those seconds. 

Also, remember to include the CTA!

Tip #6: Experiment and test, test, test

Test ad creatives?

Yes, this is actually one of the most important tips on our shortlist. 

It means combining different text overlays, hooks, CTAs, and Instagram content against different target audiences to see which of them is performing best.

Why do you need to experiment or test?

  • It provides you with data to back up future decisions you’ll make concerning your campaign
  • There is room for improvement
  • Find out which combination is working for what audience

 Also, creative ad testing saves you from spending a lot of time and money on ads once you figure out what's working. 

It’s time to wrap this up!

Now Over to You

Is it just us or did you want this piece to continue too?

Well, we have to stop so you can begin creating hooks for your next campaign. 

Bothered about what to do next?

Feel free to book a demo with Insense.

We’ve got creators waiting to help you get started.

Thanks for reading and we wish you luck with your social media marketing campaign. 

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Manu Sheen

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