How to Use Instagram Story Ads (and Three Tips to Make Sure They Perform)

Every social media platform has its own standards and recommended practices. Here are a few to help you make Instagram Stories ads that stand out.

Every day, over 500 million people use Instagram Stories. 

That kind of user base is almost unheard of. Since their release in 2017, Instagram Stories Ads have seen a meteoric rise in engagement.

Their popularity is no surprise. Instagram Stories ads are immersive and seamlessly blend into the user experience. 

Initially, the only goal you could set with these ads was “reach.” Now, there are many more options and metrics available. This article offers a few great tips to make the most of Instagram Stories ads.  

How Are Instagram Stories Ads Different?

Instagram Stories have shown much better user engagement than regular posts. They have a built-in sense of urgency because they don’t stick around. Unless the uploader turns them into highlights, they’re gone after someone views them. 

There are many ways in which Instagram makes Stories easy to find. A highlight circle appears around new stories, prompting engagement. They’re also separate from photo and video posts. 

Stories are more difficult to simply ignore because they are a full-screen display. 

All this makes a fertile environment for ad placement. When users are watching Stories, ads are smoothly integrated into the feed. They act like other stories and disappear after viewing. This makes it crucial to make Stories ads engaging and impressive.

Stories also allow for the creation of a little more context. As the name implies, you can tell a story rather than just show a photo with a link. 

Creating Instagram Stories That Perform

Instagram Stories gives you a lot of options for creating ads. The ad format has five potential objectives. 

Reach was already touched on earlier. The others are video views, conversions, traffic, and mobile app installs. These give you a lot more flexibility in designing content. 

Stories can now link directly to your site, whereas initially only a flat ad was available. This makes a world of difference and makes it all the more important to invest in Stories ads that deliver conversions.

If you’re not sure about where to start, take a look at these tips. 

 Tip #1 – Pick an Aesthetic and Stick to It

Branding is key when it comes to effective Stories ads.

Marketers that are working with a developed social media presence should keep this in mind. Stories ads are best used to drive clicks rather than create awareness. As such, the familiar elements of a brand should remain consistent. 

Even if a brand doesn’t have great recognition, a consistent approach is best. 

In practice, this will mean a few different things. For starters, typography is a big part of a brand’s image. Think Coca-Cola. Choose a typeface that represents the brand while being Instagram friendly. 

It also extends to images and colours. Referring back to the previous example, Coca-Cola would always use some red in the company’s Stories ads. Similar pictures and colours help to create a cohesive brand image. 

Another element is Stories templates. If you choose to use templates for your ads, it’s a good idea to stick to one or two. It’s another way to help viewers recognize your brand at a glance.

This type of branding also creates opportunities. Strategic departures from the aesthetic are a great way to surprise viewers. 

 Tip #2 – Optimize Video Content

Videos are much more common in Stories and they should meet certain expectations.

The Ads Manager has built-in tools that you can use to create well-structured videos. First of all, consider the video orientation. Stories are in portrait so make sure to crop correctly.

If the video isn’t oriented properly, you won’t make efficient use of the space. Every bit of that space is an expense. 

Long intros are usually a mistake in Stores ads. You’ve only got a few seconds to capture a viewer’s attention. Use that time wisely by cutting intros down to the bare minimum. 

In fact, it’s a good rule of thumb to trim as much fat as possible from your videos. Only keep the vital elements to get your message across.

If you don’t have a video, make one. Even if you’re working with images, it’s not a good idea to use them directly. Stories are a dynamic medium and people expect on-screen movement. If you must use images, use one of Instagram’s templates to compile them into a slideshow.

Since Stories are so temporary, give viewers a chance to act. If they’re too engaged with the story, it might end before they’ve swiped. It’s a good idea to end Stories with a few seconds of a solid screen.

 Tip #3 – Use Ad Copy Correctly

Never use the same ad copy across all media platforms. 

This is especially true for Stories. Text that is too long will look out of place and compacted. Copy recycled from other platforms could be obvious. Instead, make the ad copy specifically for each story and make sure that it looks right.

Keep it short. Really Short.

Stories ads need to be remarkably digestible and on-message. As soon as viewers see that the story is sponsored, they are likely to swipe it away. That gives you only a few seconds to capture their attention.

This also extends to your CTA. If you’re looking to convert viewers, every offer should feel urgent and impossible to refuse. A limited time to act and limited stock or availability are great ways to convert through Stories.

The Final Word

This isn’t a comprehensive list of ways to improve Stories ads. However, it should be a great start toward successful Stories marketing. 

Don’t stray too far from your brand’s aesthetic. Otherwise, you might confuse viewers. Make sure video content stays focused and as short as possible. And, when you write copy, it should be concise and to the point. 

If you’re ready to get started with Instagram Stories ads, sign up for your Free Tailored Ad Strategy Session To 3X Your Growth In 90 Days (Valued at $500) today.