Not all ads are equal. Today, all social media platforms offer advertising options, but that doesn’t mean you should be putting your money on all of them. If your audience is young and you’re interested in increasing brand awareness, you should be spending your advertising budget where your audience is more likely to engage – Instagram Stories Ads. Your organization can get a surprisingly big payoff from your advertising budget compared to more traditional advertisements on other social media platforms – if you know how to make a social media ad on Instagram Stories.

The dawn of social media meant a free resource for brands, an easy win to gain brand awareness from a multitude of consumers. The social landscape has never looked the same since. Constant algorithm changes mean that audiences are becoming increasingly pickier about the organic content on their feeds. That means that the followers you’ve worked to get are seeing more content from their friends and family, and less of yours.

What Are Instagram Stories Ads?

If you’re a newbie to Instagram or Instagram Stories, you should know a little about the basics. Instagram is a social media platform similar to Facebook, but based on images that users share. Users can post photos and videos that can be commented on, but not to the extent of Facebook. Further, Instagram Stories are another, relatively new user feature that is now being monetized with Instagram Stories Ads.

What an Instagram Story Is

Users are now using Instagram Stories, which are user-created photos or videos that last for 24 hours then disappear. The Instagram Stories feature is a separate feature from the standard Instagram post, which is an image, images or video that remains accessible to the user and the rest of Instagram indefinitely. 70% of IG users use Stories, with 500 million people using IG Stories every day. Brands that know how to make an social media ad on Instagram now have the potential to reach a huge audience through ads that play in between users’ Instagram Stories.

What an Instagram Stories Ad Is

An Instagram Stories Ad is an ad within an Instagram story. It can be a single photo or a video, but the video must not be more than 15 seconds long. Your Instagram Stories Ad will last for 24-hours, just like an Instagram Story. Instagram Stories Ads are placed in between users’ stories.

In order to make creating Instagram Stories Ads that follow Instagram’s guidelines more understandable, Instagram has created a step-by-step guide to buying and launching Instagram Stories Ads. This tutorial also does a great job of explaining what Instagram Stories are, with lots of examples.

Three screenshots of an Instagram Stories Ad for Converse One Star shoes, meant as an example of how to make a social media ad on Instagram. The shoes are pastel purple suede, yellow suede and tan suede from the Golf le Fleur Collection.

Image Source: Convince & Convert

Why IG Stories?

The engagement rate of Instagram is a wake-up call. Consumers are 58 times more likely to engage with branded content on Instagram than on Facebook, and 120 times more than on Twitter. The same is true against email, referral traffic, and paid acquisition.

The nature of IG Stories makes them the ideal format for breaking the barrier between brand and users. With one photo or video appearing on your screen right after the after, IG Stories ads can flow seamlessly with the user’s organic content. With face filters, video effects, and text displays, brands can showcase their creativity and personality in fun promotions that look and feel just like the content of the audience’s inner circles.

Some younger audiences are even embracing this interaction with brands, with 25% of millennials and Gen Z users using IG Stories to search for products and services they’d be interested in. Brands are getting on board and learning to make a social media ad that will reach their target audience. on Instagram. 50% of businesses on Instagram have created at least one story and 1/3 of the most viewed IG Stories come from businesses.

Developing an Instagram Stories Ad Strategy

Developing an Instagram Stories Ad begins should involve the following elements:

  • Knowledge of your target audience
  • A unique concept to market the brand or product
  • An eye-catching, memorable image or video showcasing the brand or product
  • A call-to-action
  • Links to your homepage or a relevant page on your website

When creating your IG Stories Ads content, here are a few basic tips to keep in mind:

Add Video

51% of brands use videos in IG Stories Ads and have better retention rates than with photos. It’s simple: videos get more time than pictures. Instead of 5 seconds, you can get 120 seconds to get the user’s attention and communicate your brand.However, users can still click past your video. So keep your videos short and entertaining. The video ad has to convey your business’s brand but also relate to the user. Videos are more authentic in general. Stick with the authenticity of your business and how consumers can benefit from it.

Be Memorable

IG Stories are about short, fast-paced content on-the-go. Grab the user’s attention with powerful imagery, easy-to-read content, and a strong call-to-action. Don’t forget to include your brand name!

In 2016, 15-25% of people swiped up on links in branded IG Stories. In 2020, the swipe-through rates are definitely much higher. Your CTA should effectively direct the user where to go, a landing page, your newest blog, etc. Know your business objective—brand awareness, reach, conversions, lead generation, or website traffic—then build your story. And don’t be afraid to let your personality shine! Only lasting 24 hours, IG Stories is the perfect place to let loose and experiment with different messaging.

51% of brands use videos in IG Stories and have better retention rates than with photos. It’s simple: videos get more time than pictures. Instead of 5 seconds, you can get 120 seconds to get the user’s attention and communicate your brand.

However, users can still click past your video. So keep your videos short and entertaining. The video ad has to convey your business’s brand but also relate to the user. Videos are more authentic in general. Stick with the authenticity of your business and how consumers can benefit from it.

A three panel example of how to make a social media ad with Instagram using Starbucks Red Cup Contest as an example. The first panel shows a woman in yellow rain boots holding a Starbucks cup with a the caption "Mountains, rivers, kayaks and falls. Here's some #RedCupContest adventures (we're loving 'em all). The second panel shows a black gloved hand releasing a red Starbucks cup into the air, so it looks suspended, against a black and white snowscape with large trees in the background. The third panel shows a and holding a red Starbucks cup with the caption "Only a few more days to submit your adventure-themed pics! #RedCupContest".

Source: EMGI Group

Utilize Instagram Stories Ads Features

Take advantage of Instagram’s interactive elements. The coffee and donut chain Dunkin’ found that adding the polling sticker to their video add drove a 20% lower cost per video view. In addition, 20% of people who watched the ad voted in the poll. Ads don’t always have to be so serious, especially on Instagram Stories Ads. Ask your audience if donuts or fries are better! Keep your ad mix fresh and make your target audience want to engage with you. Build your brand and let people know about the faces behind it!

Sharing Your Story

As Instagram Stories have evolved with the modern social media user, brands are embracing this new connection to their audiences as a powerful advertising tool. Powered by the algorithms and wealth of user information available to the Facebook parent company, Instagram Stories Ads allow a brand to market to their specific audience and more intelligently utilize their advertising budget. Stories drive results. Make the most of your advertising dollars this year by incorporating IG Stories Ads into your strategy.