instagram stories

What is Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories appear above user’s Instagram feeds and can only be viewed for 24 hours. Stories play continuously – i.e. they advance from one user’s story to the next in a slideshow format. Instagram Stories ads appear between users’ Stories and can only be seen on mobiles – they don’t appear on desktop. Instagram Stories is surpassing Snapchat Stories in terms of popularity, users and advertising potential – for more information, see Battle of the Platforms: Snapchat Versus Instagram Stories.

Why Advertise on Instagram Stories?

airbnb instagram stories

Instagram Stories advertising allows businesses to deliver full screen ads to a highly targeted audience. Stories ads are skippable, which means advertising content needs to be composed, bold, interesting and unique enough to make people stop and pay attention. Instagram Stories ads are unobtrusive but unavoidable – they provide a great platform for increasing your reach without annoying potential customers.

Another benefit of using Instagram Stories advertising is that the ads you create can also be shared on your brand’s Facebook News Feed. If you’re already spending money on Facebook, it’s easy to start using Instagram advertising, as the platform is under the Facebook umbrella.

Around 200 million people use Instagram Stories every day. According to The Verge, Instagram Stories have surpassed Snapchat Stories in terms of users, so the potential for spreading your brand awareness is vast.

Unlike Snapchat Stories, which have to be shot on a phone, Instagram Stories can be filmed with professional cameras and sound equipment and then uploaded to the platform. This means you can create high quality and more curated content. This is well suited to product-based businesses, who can use the app to showcase inventory in a visually appealing and compelling way.

Tips for Engaging Instagram Story Campaigns

The main disadvantage of Instagram Stories ads is that they are truly ephemeral –  they cannot be rewound or watched again, so you need to make sure that your content is sufficiently engaging. Here are some tips for creating successful Instagram Story ads:

  • Keep your ads simple but make sure they’re compelling. Viewers need to be hooked & get the message with one viewing. Below is an example from Asos, where bold font, bright colours and simple but effective brand messaging are used to great effect:

instagram stories

  • Provide prominent brand information and obvious calls to action (CTA). Clear and large branding will get your point across quickly and make sure people know how to take action after viewing your ad.
  • Make the most of fullscreen – your ad won’t be cropped like a regular Instagram post, so use this extra space wisely (e.g. for your brand information and CTA).
  • Do call-outs for User Generated Content (UGC). According to Neil Patel, 92% of consumers trust user-generated content. So, think of creative ways to incorporate UGC in your ad campaigns. Below is an example from Target, where users are encouraged to directly engage with the brand:

instagram stories advertising

  • Announce discounts and special offers. Nothing grabs attention like sales and specials, and announcing them with an Instagram Stories ad can provide motivation for users to head to your site and convert.
  • Create ads that mimic the content found in users’ Instagram Stories. Most Stories feature food, landscapes, friends hanging out or people doing exciting things. Featuring content like this in your ads can make them seem more natural and increase audience-appeal.
  • Share exclusive content that only people on Instagram will see. This increases brand loyalty.
  • Have some fun and engage your audience through ‘games,’ like Betches have done below:

instagram stories advertising

Want more examples of great Instagram Stories advertising? Check out more examples here, here and here.

Convinced? Find out how to get started at Facebook Business and check out Neil Patel’s 5 tips for launching your first paid Instagram marketing campaign.