Everything You Need to Know About Creating Great Instagram Hooks

Updated on: June 7, 2024

Meta has declared that someone who lingers on your content for merely three seconds or more counts as a “view”. Because Instagram users typically make snap judgments in under two seconds while scrolling through their feed. Most of the time, your social media content will receive only a brief glance.

For this reason, a great hook is arguably the most crucial first step in a social media manager’s toolkit. Whether you’re crafting content for TikTok or Instagram reels, the ability to convince audiences to stop scrolling is the primary driver of your social campaign’s success.

How to make effective hooks for social media

A well-crafted Instagram hook idea integrates all essential elements—the title, imagery or video, overall vibe, call-to-action, caption, and any accompanying audio. By finding the perfect blend of these components, you can capture your audience’s limited attention span just long enough for your message to resonate.

Stop the scroll by Going For Strong Emotional Response Upfront

Hoka Instagram


Want to capture Instagram users’ attention while they’re mid-scroll? Hook them with content that evokes powerful emotional reactions, whether that be excitement, wistfulness, nostalgia, suspense, or fear of missing out. 

Fanpage Karma conducted a study that found emotion-inducing reels received 4X greater reach than those with weak emotions, and that content that focused on joy and similarly uplifting emotions received significantly better responses than those that dwelled on negative reactions.

Think outside the box and test ways that help capture someone’s attention in the first 3 seconds by hyperbolizing extreme problems or situations.

Chart from Fanpage Karma

Relatability Grabs The Attention of Your Audience

There was a time in which popular social media content could be described as “aspirational,” but behavioral shifts now favor relatability above all else. Depending on your brand and audience, your most effective instagram hooks may highlight “real people” telling their personal stories through UGC videos.

Cotopaxi Instagram

Deploy Proven Instagram Caption Hook Techniques

Below are effective Instagram reel hook examples and their underpinning strategies: 

  • Ask them to imagine a scenarioJust imagine, stilettos that don’t hurt your feet
  • Ask them a hypothetical question — Where would you go if you could fly for free?
  • Promise them insider or secret tips Here’s 6 little-known ways to get your dog to behave
  • Dispel commonly held beliefs Stop using your fabric softener–here’s why 🤫
  • Imply a taste of risk and spontaneity My toddler picked out my clothes for today
  • Use bold language to convey controversial opinions  I’m never drinking lattes again
  • Promise humor Oops, I cut my bangs waaaay too short 😄
  • Promise an immediate payoff Learn the best way to peel potatoes in 90 seconds
  • Pique their curiosity 80% of people get this riddle wrong
  • Frame the headline and caption in first-person or second-person My biggest mistake when visiting Hanoi
  • Incorporate numbers 8 things I wish I knew before getting a cat
Chewy Instagram

Hook Scrollers With Strategic Visuals


Vibrant colors, striking compositions, and aesthetically pleasing visuals can help your content stand out amidst the sea of posts flooding social media users’ feeds. More specifically:


  • Choose your video thumbnail carefully. For instance, when presenting a process unfolding—like a makeup tutorial, recipe creation, or craft project—unveil a glimpse of the stunning end product before showing the initial first step.
  • Don’t bury the lead. Similar to the above talking point, don’t wait until the end of your Instagram reel to wow audiences. Craft your video to be short, sweet, and attention-grabbing from start-to-finish.
  • Include text within the video or picture but be mindful of the length and positioning. Text can add depth and meaning to imagery, but make sure it doesn’t interrupt the visual flow or require too much time to process. 
  • Find the right video speed. If “action” drags on, you’ll lose viewers’ interest. If it’s too sped-up or has too many choppy jump cuts, it can be confusing and off-putting. 
  • Spotlighting the right content creators. People like to engage with content to which they can relate, so hook your Instagram audiences with carefully chosen brand ambassadors and user-generated content (UGC) creators.


These are only some of the tactics you can deploy to improve the quality of your Instagram hook and overall visuals. For additional insights, check out these Instagram imagery tips from Mojo.


Frame Your Messaging Around Your Audience’s Needs

A powerful Instagram hook speaks directly to your intended audience’s needs, desires, and pain points. In turn, this requires an in-depth familiarity with your target demographics. 

After all, let’s say you want to promote Ocean City, Maryland as a travel destination on Instagram; the motivations for a group of Gen Z friends, a young family, and a retired couple to visit would vary significantly. 


Stay Fresh and Original

If you stick to the same Instagram reel hooks and social media ideas for an extended period, you may experience diminishing returns regardless of how well they originally tested with audiences. 

You risk boring your followers with repetitive messaging and getting lost in a sea of similar competitor posts rather than grabbing attention with the unexpected. Moreover, your audience’s tastes and priorities are fluid, so your social media hooks and messaging should respond accordingly.

Test Your Hypotheses to Evolve Your Instagram Hook Strategies

You might have Instagram hooks that yield respectable engagement rates, but are they truly maximizing your potential? Perhaps they are, but without collecting data, analyzing, forming hypotheses, and conducting further tests, you won’t know for sure.

Test hooks across platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts

Instagram reels and tiktok are more similar than not when it comes to attention grabbing videos. YouTube shorts increasingly fall into this category too as three of the major social platforms learn and borrow from each other consistently. 

What works on Instagram won’t always work on TikTok, but letting your platform strategies improve and iterate on each other will decrease your time to success and insights.

Craft the Rest of Your Message

The hook gets them in the door, but the rest of the video has to deliver your message to communicate and craft effective messaging. 

CIPIO.ai has tested our formula through hundreds of thousands of media dollars over decades of making ads. After you’ve found the perfect hooks, here are the next three steps to converting your video watcher into a potential customer.


Refine and optimize your pitch

The goal is to deliver crucial information efficiently to inspire intrigue and prompt action from the user. For a compelling narrative follow this data-supported flow:

  • State the problem
  • State your solution
  • Show authority
  • Overcome common objections

Back your claims and hooks with social proof

As the age-old adage goes, “show, don’t tell,” your Instagram ad shouldn’t rely solely on bland  descriptions and overly posed photos. After all, why should viewers trust you, the brand, at face value? Instead, hook Instagram users with social proof from relatable peers through user-generated content and testimonials. Is your food processor easy to clean? Show someone at home actively using it. Do kids adore your glow-in-the-dark jump rope? Let social proof do the talking!

Another way to underscore your offering’s positive results is with statistics and data. 85% of users report clearer skin within two weeks. Our dryer is proven to dry clothes 2X faster than the leading brands. Pair these kinds of reporting with eye-catching UGC, and you have nothing short of Instagram ad magic.

Strategically Craft Your Calls-to-Action

Every Instagram reel and social media post should include a clear and compelling call-to-action (CTA) prompting users to take desired actions. Whether it’s liking, commenting, sharing, or visiting your website, align your CTAs with your campaign objectives to drive engagement and achieve your goals. 

  • Exactly what to do next
  • Exactly what to expect

Looking for someone to help you craft better messages for your ads? CIPIO.ai is offering 3 free UGC ads for a limited time.

Launch the best Instagram hooks for your brand with CIPIO.ai

CIPIO.ai puts at your fingertips all the tools you need to craft and perfect your Instagram hooks. Software features and benefits include:

  • Our ultra-advance marketplace search capabilities that let you find the right UGC creator to represent your brand’s offerings based on diverse criteria
  • AI-powered video editing that automates content configuration and optimization to best engage with audiences, from the initial social media hook to the final call-to-action
  • Automated data collection and analysis fuel machine learning to further refine your video ad configuration and provide strategic insights
  • Pre-existing legal contracts that you can leverage (rather than having to draw up your own) that provide you with  full ownership of all content 

We give you the necessary tools to easily scale UGC video management and utilization within ads so you can maximize your brand’s reach and ROI. Furthermore, Managed Service clients can pair our software with expert insights from the CIPIO.ai team. 

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