This article will discuss Instagram Story Ads and the rules and best practices to help you get results. People are becoming increasingly fascinated with Instagram Stories as a more authentic and less filtered alternative to regular Instagram posts. In January 2019, 500 million people were using Instagram on a daily basis which was a 250% increase since 2017.
In addition, ever since the introduction of Instagram Story ads and full-screen Canvas ads in 2017, the platform has also seen a lot more advertisers promoting their products through Instagram Stories. This means there is more competition for businesses that wish to advertise on the platform.
As an advertiser you want to ensure that your Instagram Stories ads have the desired impact. Rather then using any catalog image of your products in your ad campaign, consider all the Instagram Stories best practices that will aid in creating impactful ads that convert.
Getting Started with Instagram Story ads
Prior to creating ads that convert better, it is essential to understand the basic rules of creating Instagram Stories ads first. Let’s take a look at the basic steps to create ads for Instagram Stories:
1. Consider your objective when creating Instagram Story Ads
What do you hope to accomplish through your ad campaign? You can choose from several objectives for Stories ads including reach, brand awareness, traffic, engagement, app installs, video views, lead generation and conversions.
2. Develop your ad creative when creating Instagram Story Ads
The next step is to create ad content that will fulfill your objective. This could either be images or videos along with other creative elements like an ad headline and copy.
3. Use the recommended dimensions when creating Instagram Story Ads
You cannot use the same ad dimensions across all platforms. Instagram has recommended ad sizes that will ensure optimum visibility for your feed ads and your Stories ads.
For image ads:
-The recommended resolution is 1080 X 1920 pixels
-Maintain a resolution of at least 600 X 1067 pixels
-Maintain an aspect ratio of 9:16
-Use either JPG or PNG format
-Maximum size allowed is 4 GB
-It should have a resolution of at least 720p
4. Set your target audience when creating Instagram Story Ads
Next, you need to narrow down on the audience you wish to target for your Instagram Story ads. You will have the option to target people based on location, gender, language, interests, behaviors and age. You can also narrow down your targeting based on how people are connected with your brand. For example include/exclude everyone who already like your page, target friends of your followers and other options. Since Stories ads display for a shorter amount of time, ensure you get really specific with your audience targeting. Make the most of Facebook pixels, lookalike audiences and retargeting options.
5. Select your ad placement
The next part is choosing your ad placement. Whilst Facebook provides an automatic placement option, it is better to manually choose your preferred placements. Your audience on Facebook may be drastically different from your Instagram audience. Therefore, it may not be wise to display the same ads and offerings to them.
6. Develop a compelling call to action
Just like your ads on other platforms, your Instagram Stories ads should also have a clear and compelling call to action in which motivates the audience to take the desired action. Use action words like learn, see, shop, buy, discover, get etc. You could even test out different CTAs to find out what works best with your audience.
Best Practices for Instagram Story ads
Once you have nailed down the basics, you can refer to the following Instagram Stories best practices to create engaging ads that convert better:
1. Make the first few seconds count
The first few seconds of your Instagram Story ad is crucial for capturing and maintaining your audience’s attention. A study by RivalHQ found that brands are losing about 20% of their audience by the second frame of their Stories. This means that it is crucial that your Story ads stand out even more than organic Stories posts and captivate your audience instantly.
Users are less likely to skip Story ads that are visually appealing right from the start. Experiment with colors, fonts and imagery that would appeal to your target audience.
NUXE France created a short stop-motion video highlighting their products. It used a soft background color to match their product packaging, which created an eye-catching effect. This resulted in 6.2 X return on their ad spend.
2. Create clear and concise messaging
With Instagram Stories ads, you do not have much spare time for text elements because your visual content takes up a majority of your screen space and your audience has limited reading time. If you plan to use text in your ads, ensure you come up with a brief message that is punchy and gets straight to the point. You could even use carousel ads and video ads if you want to tell a longer story.
Overstock launched a video ad that asked the audience a short question about a common brand perception and compelled them to think again. What followed was a series of product photos with two-word messages relaying their value proposition.
3. Maintain brand visibility
The whole purpose of creating Instagram Story ads is to introduce more people to your brand and its products. So it will not make sense if people see your ad but do not know which brand it is from. Ensure your brand logo is prominently visible. This means making sure that no other design elements are obstructing or distracting from the brand logo at the top left hand corner of the screen.
In addition to this, there are a few options to highlight your brand name and ensure better brand visibility in your Instagram Stories ads:
-Overlay your brand name or logo without obstructing other elements
-Focus on your product, especially if it has your brand name and/or logo on it
-Opt for minimal colors, fonts and design elements so that your brand name stands out
4. Position your text strategically
You have very limited space to add text elements in your Instagram Stories ads. While keeping your messages short solves half of this issue, your text positioning is equally vital. You cannot just throw your text around anywhere on the screen and hope for the best. You must make sure it is prominently visible without obstructing other elements. It is best to add your text over white space so people do not miss it. While this is not always possible, ensure you choose highly legible fonts even if you are placing your text over other visual elements. You can add it in the middle of the screen or towards your ‘Swipe Up’ link if you wish to draw people away from the ‘Sponsored’ tag on the top. If you only have white space at the top of the screen, ensure your text is not too close to the ‘Sponsored’ tag.
5. Feature influencers in your ads
Combining your influencer marketing strategy with your advertising campaign can be an efficient way to amplify your efforts. If you have already launched a campaign with influencers, perhaps you could use the sponsored content they created for you in your ad creative. That way, you will be saving a great deal of time and resources in developing ad content. You could also create an entirely new set of ad creative that feature influencers. In addition, you could even involve them in your brainstorming session. Influencers know their own audience deeply so they may have great ideas on how to tell a compelling story through your Instagram Story ads.
These basic rules and best practices can help you get started with successful Instagram Story ads that convert. However, this does not mean you should stop there. Therefore, keep testing and trying out different ad formats, messaging, visuals, targeting options and more to find out what exactly works best for your brand.