What Are Instagram Story Ads? A Marketer’s Guide

Are you using Instagram Story Ads? Maybe you’ve not come across them before, or you didn’t realize that they’re even an option. Compared with other types of Instagram ads, they can provide a better ROI: one study by Agorapulse suggested that Instagram Story ads had a 23% higher conversion rate than Instagram Feed ads.

What Are Instagram Story Ads? A Marketer's Guide

If you’re not already familiar with Instagram Stories, here’s what you need to know:

  • Instagram Stories appear in a bar at the top of your feed.
  • When you watch Instagram Stories, they’re full screen. That means that they’re more engaging than posts in the Instagram Feed, where you can just keep scrolling… and scrolling.
  • Instagram Stories are only available for 24 hours. You can post them from a user account or a brand account. 
  • Instagram Stories will auto-play – or you can swipe through them. 
  • You can’t “like” or comment on Instagram Stories in the way you can on normal posts.

So where do Instagram Story ads come in?

Instagram Story ads don’t look much different from regular Story posts, though they have some crucial extra features, like the ability to include a CTA link within your post (even if your Instagram account isn’t verified or has fewer than 10,000 followers). 

To make them effective, you want them to stand out and grab attention … but you also want them to fit into the usual format that Instagram users will expect from Stories. You can use an image or video for your Story ads, or you can create a “Carousel” that has up to three images or three short (up to 15 seconds) videos.

You can create Instagram Story Ads through Ad Manager (just like other ads), but it’s probably a good idea to have a go at creating an organic Story for your business before you jump in and start creating ads. 

Best Practices for Instagram Story Ads

Best Practices for Instagram Story Ads

To create effective Instagram Story ads that get results, follow these tips and best practices.

#1: Make Sure They’re Visually Appealing

Whether you’re creating an organic Instagram Story or an Ad, you want it to be as engaging as possible… right from the start. As RivalIQ explains, on average, brands lose about 20% of their audience between the first and second frame of their story. In other words, yours needs to grab attention straight away.

#2: Keep Text Clear and Concise

Because Instagram Stories are full-screen, you don’t have much space for text (there isn’t a space beneath the images for text to appear). So, it’s crucial to keep any wording on your images themselves to a minimum – make every word count. Instagram users aren’t going to want to read whole paragraphs or even whole sentences in your Story.

#3: Use a Carousel Ad

You can use Carousel ads for Instagram Stories, giving you the chance to include three panels rather than one. Each panel can have up to 15 seconds of video (or a single image) – and they also allow you to link to a different landing page from each panel. Check out these tips for effective Facebook Carousel Ads for some best practices that apply to Instagram Carousel ads, too.

#4: Include Your Brand Prominently

Although your ad will include your account name and logo at the top left, this isn’t especially prominent. It’s a good idea to also include your brand name and/or logo within the first few seconds of your Story ad.

#5: Stick With Your Brand’s Colors and Fonts

Don’t get too creative with your Instagram Story Ads… you still want them to look recognizable as something created by your company. That means sticking with things like your brand’s standard colors and fonts, and having the same tone or style for your ads as for the other content you create online. 

#6: Consider Including Influencers in Your Story Ads

If you’re working with Instagram influencers, it’s definitely worth considering how that could tie into creating Story ads. As SproutSocial explains, “Influencers know their own audience deeply so they might have great ideas on how to tell a compelling story through your Instagram Story ads.”

#7: Consider Using an Interactive Poll

When you set up your Story ad, you can choose to “Add an interactive poll.” As well as being a way to get feedback from the people viewing your ad, this can help boost engagement and keep people paying attention to your ad. Social Media Examiner explains that, “While interactive polls can feel a little labor-intensive to set up, they’re a great way to interact with your customers, get their opinions on what you should give them next, and pretty much anything else you can think of”

It’s definitely worth giving Story Ads a try: they’re not particularly difficult to set up, and you might well find that they have a better ROI than your other ads – especially if you follow the best practices above. 

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