How To Run Instagram Story Ads

Reach the perfect new audiences and showcase your brand, business, and products using Instagram Stories. Instagram revealed that at least one in five stories get a direct message from viewers, which in terms of engagement rates are considered really high. Starting to make sense why you shouldn't just be one one platform, right?

Three effective methods to experiment with when you get started with Instagram Ads:

  1. Video
    Video ads play for up to 15 seconds and can be created with Facebook’s Creative Hub, or Ads Manager, or you can design and edit your own ad and uploaded it to Facebook’s Ad Manager.

  2. Photo
    A still image ad will play for 5 seconds. You can create photo ads with Creative Hub or Facebook Ads Manager, or you can upload a file from your own designs.

  3. Carousel
    Carousel ads for stories allows brands to play up to 3 pieces of content (video and photos) within a single ad.

If you're still unsure on how to get started, here are some useful pointers to assist you. Always remember, if you don't get the results you were after, look at the insights you received from your previous ads and alter your future ads accordingly. If you see your engagement rate is higher with audiences aged 18 to 24, consider only targeting that specific age group. Keeping in mind, a younger age group might be less likely to provide a higher conversion rate, depending on your product or service. In which case you might want to consider targeting an older age group.

  • Start Experimenting With Instagram Stories Video Ads
    It is proven that videos hold our attention 5x longer than still images! There’s no denying that our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, especially when we’re thumbing through social media. Integrating video ads into your Instagram Stories ad campaign is one way that you can help overcome this attention deficit!

  • Keep Your Message Short and Straight to the Point for Instagram Stories Ads
    Your key message should be short, sweet and to the point in an Instagram Stories ad. In an Instagram Stories ad, a ‘sponsored’ label appears in the top, right corner of your post and reveals that your post is an ad, and not part of your day-to-day Instagram Stories. Which means that once your viewers realize it’s an ad, they are even more likely to tap or swipe away from your story. If you want to create an Instagram Stories ad that converts, it’s important to have a short and punchy message that is easy to read.

  • Don’t Forget to Include Your Brand Logo in your Instagram Stories Ad
    Adding your branding or logo to an Instagram Stories ad seems like a basic tip, right? Well, if your aim is to improve brand awareness and reach new audiences, posting an Instagram Stories ad with your brand logo is essential. Your Instagram Stories ads aren’t just viewed by your followers, but also the target audience demographics you select when setting up your ad campaign, which means that people watching your ads may have never heard about your brand or products before which is why it's vitally important to include your logo.Without a logo, the only place where a viewer will see your brand name is in the top, right corner where your Instagram handle will be shown. If you’re not showing off your brand in your Instagram Stories ad, you’re running the risk of losing money and having viewers swipe past without noticing who posted the ad!

  • Stay True to Your Brand’s Instagram Aesthetic with Stories Ads
    Making sure your Instagram Stories ads fit seamlessly in with your overall Instagram aesthetic (especially your Instagram Stories style) if you want to keep people engaged and increase brand recognition. Think about your imagery and typography; it should always reflect your brand aesthetics. The easiest way to do this is by using the colors, typeface, and images that are in tune with your brand. Or if you’re using Instagram Stories templates, continue to use them for your ads.
  • Polished Instagram Stories Ads Aren’t Always the Best Ads
    You don’t need to pour blood, sweat, and budget into your Instagram Stories ads to make them successful! In fact, the new trend with Instagram Stories ads is to have them feel more authentic, real and ‘home-cut’. You might have spotted influencers creating Instagram Stories ads that are selfies or videos where they just talk right into the camera. This makes the ads more informal and less sales-driven, resulting in a post that is personable and more likely to keep an audience engaged.
  • Create a Strong Call-to-Action (CTA) with Your Instagram Stories Ads Content
    Nothing encourages an impulse purchase more than a limited-time deal or an exclusive offer! Creating a sense of urgency or FOMO within your Instagram Stories ads is one simple way you can encourage viewers to swipe up and visit your website (and hopefully make a purchase)!

  • Be Strategic With Your Text Positioning in Instagram Stories Ads
    As we’ve mentioned, Instagram users are wary of sponsored posts and Instagram Stories ads. Draw attention away from the ‘sponsored’ tag in the top, right corner of your Instagram Stories ad by placing your main message or graphic in the middle of the screen or closer to your ‘swipe up’ link. Remember: every second counts when it comes to engagement, so if you can catch a viewer’s eye immediately with your message (and not the sponsored tag!), it could make a huge difference to your link open rates in your ads.

  • Use The Carousel Instagram Stories Ad Format for Longer Messages
    Sometimes everything you need to say can’t fit into one 15-second video or still photo. And that’s exactly why Instagram created the carousel format for Instagram Stories ads. Instagram carousel ads, which can be made up of three images or three 15-second videos, let you tell a more “sequenced” story over several parts. However, just like organic Instagram Stories posts, users can tap through, swipe back and forth, or pause the content whenever they like, so it’s still important to be creative and engaging from the get-go!

  • Add Music to Your Instagram Stories Ads
    Instagram recently revealed that 60% of Instagram Stories ads were viewed with the sound on! Having audio, whether it’s a voice over or music can make your Instagram Stories ad more engaging and draw your audience in.

Now that you know what makes an engaging Instagram Stories ad, it’s time to get your first campaign live! Just follow these steps to get set up and publish your first Instagram Stories ad:

  • First, sign in to your Facebook account that is connected to your Instagram business profile. Navigate to the menu bar by tapping on the arrow on the top right corner of the screen and select Manage Ads. This will bring you to your Facebook Ad Manager account where you can monitor past campaigns, and set up new ones.

  • Select your campaign objective from the options Reach or Brand Awareness. And click ‘Set up Ad Account’ once you’ve selected your objective.

  • Next, you need to fill in the information need for your ad account and audience. Then move down to the Ad Placement field.Click ‘Edit Placements’ and navigate to Instagram and then ‘Stories’ option. From here, all you need to do is set a budget.

  • Once you’ve set your budget, you can get creative and decide whether you want to create an Instagram Stories ad that’s a video or a still image. Note: You’ll need to follow Instagram’s image and video requirements to upload a file.

  • Finally, add the link to where you want your Instagram Stories ad to go to, and a call to action. You can now review your ad and once you’re happy with it just click confirm to make it live!

Getting started with Instagram Stories ads is easy, quick, and could make a real difference to your Instagram profile’s growth and business sales.


  • Advertising, Marketing, Instagram Ads, Promotions
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