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Instagram Tips & Resources

9 Tips for Creating Instagram Stories Ads That Convert

Updated on August 31, 2018
11 minute read

Are you running Instagram Stories ads? We've got nine hot tips to help you drive more traffic and make more sales.

Published August 31, 2018

Are you running Instagram Stories ads yet? They could be your ticket to boosting brand awareness, gaining more followers, and improving your sales!

A lot of companies are only just starting to think about Instagram Stories ads, which leaves you in a great position to get ahead of the competition.

And why wouldn’t you? There are 400 million people using Instagram Stories every day, and a third of the most viewed stories are from brands and businesses.

So if you’re not already tapping into Instagram Stories ads and building them into your marketing strategy, now’s the time!

Here’s everything you need to know about creating Instagram Stories ads that convert:

Why You Should Start Running Instagram Stories Ads

Instagram Stories ads are the perfect way to reach new audiences and showcase your brand, business, and products to an already engaged audience.

Engagement rates for Instagram Stories are already high, with Instagram revealing one in five stories gets a direct message from viewers.

“Using Instagram Stories ads means you can reach out to, and share your message with an audience that’s already actively watching and engaging,” says WeWork Social Media Manager (UK, Ireland & Australia), Chloe Fagence.

For Chloe, Instagram Stories ads are an essential part of an Instagram marketing strategy. “You can be so creative with how you share your message through ads on Instagram Stories – if you’re doing stories and seeing a positive engagement from them, there’s no reason not to try Instagram Stories ads too!”

The options for creating ads in Instagram Stories are limitless, with videos, photos and Carousel ad formats to try out:

But if you’re starting from scratch and looking for inspiration, or just simple ways to turn your Instagram Stories ads into sales, these 9 tips will help get you started!

Want to learn how to grow your business with Instagram Stories? Our free 45-minute video course covers everything from attracting more of your ideal audience to boosting your engagement and even making more sales with Instagram Stories!

#1: Start Experimenting With Instagram Stories Video Ads

Did you know 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!

Later’s Paid Acquisition Lead, Vivian Wu explains: “As our attention span declines, the first 3 seconds of your Instagram Stories ad has to be eye-catching and memorable.”

One brand that’s really using video to their advantage is @tijneyewear. In just a short 15-second clip, they’ve showcased up to 8 products through a GIF-style looping image. It’s a simple but effective way to get multiple products in front of the right people while building brand awareness.

“The impact a video can make in 3 seconds can be so much stronger than a still image — it’s definitely worth trying out!” says Vivian.

#2: 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.

Vivian backs this up: “Make sure that the content on your Instagram Stories ad is simple and easily digestible — that means no essays!”

Take a look at @casetify’s Instagram Stories ad — it’s quick, simple and delivers its core message with pop-up text on the video.

#3: 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.

“If you’re reaching out to an audience that’s unaware of your brand, including your brand logo is key!” says Vivian.

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!

#4: Stay True to Your Brand’s Instagram Aesthetic with Stories Ads

“When it comes to designing Instagram Stories ads, it’s so important to keep in mind your branding,” says Later’s Communications Designer, Chin Tan.

Making sure that 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.

“The aim is to create recognition and attract attention, even if it’s just for a few seconds,” explains Chin.

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.

A great example of this is @happysocks — they created an Instagram Stories ad video that is perfectly aligned with their product branding and their Instagram aesthetic. It’s bright, colorful and shows off the products in a lighthearted, fun way.

#5: 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’.

“Instagram users are wise to sponsored posts”, says Later’s Head of Marketing, Taylor Loren.

“People are used to watching casual Instagram Stories content from their friends. If they see a highly produced video pop up in their stories, it can come across like a commercial, and they will naturally swipe away.”

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.

Consider using Instagram Stories features like fonts or GIFs to keep your ad in line with your usual style.

We chatted to Bob Wolfley, Social Media Manager at MeUndies about their approach to Instagram Stories ads. Wolfley agrees that for Instagram Stories, when ads feel overproduced or overly animated, a user’s immediate reaction will be to swipe away and move on to the next’s account’s post.

In our free Instagram Stories for Business course, we talk about how to build an authentic and natural Instagram Stories ad for your brand. Check out the video below to learn more about how @MeUndies taps into this ‘unpolished’ trend to get more sales.

#6: 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)!

Brands like @gemma.bonhamcarter@nextvacay, and @cali.tiger have all used strong CTAs in their ads in order to drive people to swipe up to visit the website and learn more.

It’s simple but highly effective!

#7: 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.

#8: 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!

One of the first brands to use the carousel feature for their Instagram Stories Ads was @gap. They incorporated some of Instagram Stories native elements, like drawing tools along with videos and animated text to create the 45-second carousel ad. 

As part of a case study for Instagram, Gap revealed that they saw a 73% higher click-through rate than previous Instagram campaign with their carousel ad!

Another brand using the Instagram Stories carousel ads to their advantage is @hello.shakr. They’ve created a three-part video series that showcases how to make Instagram ads through their app. The ad lets people tap through to the next part to learn more. It’s a fun ad that merges useful information and brand awareness in three, quick video snippets.

#9: 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.

Brands like @calm, @juicycouture and @vichyuki are all including sound effects, voice-overs, and music, for their Instagram Stories ads! Try it out next time.

How to Create Instagram Stories Ads

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 review your ad and once you’re happy with it just click confirm to set 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.

Use some of your top tips and start experimenting with different Instagram Stories ads formats and styles and see which resonate with your audience the most!

If you want to learn more about growing your business with stories, sign up for our free Instagram Stories for Business course!

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