3 Steps to Creating Effective Ads With Instagram Stories

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Whether you’ve been advertising on Instagram for a while and you want to explore the option to advertising in the Stories format, or you want to get started with Instagram advertising for the first time, I’ve written this guide for you.

 

Ads in Stories vs. Standard Instagram Ads

Instagram Stories ads display between stories and make use of the entire screen, for a more immersive experience. In January 2017, Instagram started testing their story ads with 30 select brands. The results were so positive, they opened up the ad format to everyone just a few months later.

Stories ads are the first ad type that allows full screen visuals. The ads are skippable, but allow for a seamless transition between stories. They are clearly labeled “sponsored” so as not to confuse viewers, and allow for a single image, or a video clip up to 15 seconds long.

Standard Instagram ads allow for more objectives. You can choose to boost your posts, send people to your website, increase conversions on your website, get installs of your apps, increase engagement in your app, or get video views. The process for building the ads is much the same as you’ll see in step two below, but you have more objectives to choose from. If you want to do more than increase your Instagram reach, you’ll need to choose a standard ad.

 

Step One: Designing Your Ad

Because users have the option to skip your ad, your image or video needs to catch their attention immediately. If you have it in your budget, you can hire a professional graphic designer to assist you, or you can use a platform like Canva to design the image yourself.

Whatever you do, make sure the image you choose for your ad is of high quality, and then keep the text simple. Your image ad will only run for 10 seconds, so text needs to be to the point, and your message needs to be clear. Use the text to say what your business does, and what you can do for them.

Facebook says you should use an image with an aspect ratio of 9:16, and 1080 x 1920 px. Any text on your photo should not exceed more than 20% of the image, and you shouldn’t layer any buttons onto the media.

If you’d rather use a video, you are limited to .MP4, .MOV, or .GIF formats. Your clip cannot be longer than 15 seconds, and your file size cannot be larger than 2.3 GB. The resolution should be at least 720p. The video format does not allow for standalone text to be included.

Once you’ve created the image or video you want to use as your ad, you’re ready to create your campaign.

 

Step Two: Creating Your Ad

Instagram ads are managed from within the Facebook Ads Manager, since Facebook owns Instagram. If you’ve never advertised on Instagram before, you’ll need to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook page.

To do this from your mobile device:

Android:

Go to your Instagram profile and tap the three dots in the top right. Scroll down and tap “Linked Accounts” and then choose “Facebook.” Enter your Facebook login information if you haven’t already.

Your Instagram account will automatically link to your personal Facebook timeline, so to link to page instead, you’ll need to go back and tap Facebook again, then choose a page that you manage.

iPhone or Windows phone:

Go to your Instagram profile, and tap the settings wheel in the top right. Scroll down and tap “Linked Accounts” and then choose “Facebook.” Enter your Facebook login information if you haven’t already.

Your Instagram account will automatically link to your personal Facebook timeline, so to link to page instead, you’ll need to go back and tap Facebook again, then choose a page that you manage.

To do this from your computer:

Go to your Facebook page. Click “Settings” on the top right of your page. Click “Instagram ads”. Next, click “Add an account.” Follow the steps on screen to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook page.

When you create your ad, you’ll first choose a campaign objective. Right now, the only objective you can use for this ad type is reach. Facebook plans to add additional objectives to this ad format in the future.Now, name your campaign, so you can keep up with it in the middle of any other ad campaigns you may be running.

At this point you’re read to define the audience for your campaign. You can target people based on location, demographics like age, gender, and language, interests, behaviors, and more. You can use custom audiences, by uploading a list of email addresses or phone numbers from contacts you already have, or create a lookalike audience similar to your current customers. If you’re not sure of the best targeting approach for your audience, you can take advantage of automated targeting. With this strategy, Instagram helps you quickly create an audience who may be interested in what you have to offer based on a variety of signals.

Once this is on done, click “Placements” and choose the “Edit placements” option. Look for Instagram, and then choose “stories”. You won’t be able to choose any other option since you cannot run an Instagram Stories ad for other placements.

Next, setup your advertising budget and scheduling. Then, you’ll design your ad here, choosing between image or video. Make your selection, and then upload the file you created in step one. If you’re creating a video ad, you’ll get the option to choose a preview image for it once the upload is finished.

Once the media is uploaded, you’ll be given the option to track or enter tags for your campaign to make it easier to track your ROI. When that’s finished, you’re ready to launch your campaign.

 

Step Three: Run Your Ad and Watch What Happens

All that’s left to do now is to launch the campaign, watch, and wait. It will be at little while before the campaign goes live since Facebook will review it. This only happens once for each ad in a campaign. When you start to see the results, you can decide if it’s performing the way you’d like. If not, you can create a variation of the ad, and then run it. Split testing your ads helps you see which version your audience responds to better, which allows you to focus more of your efforts on the ads that are getting their attention, rather than wasting money on ads that aren’t.

 

Instagram Stories Ads

If you want to expand your Instagram reach, Instagram Stories ads are a great way to get it done. More than 200 million people use the platform every day, so it’s a useful tool for engaging with your followers and increasing brand awareness. With creative ads, you can stay at the forefront of your customer’s minds while also building more fans for your Instagram account.

Do you watch Instagram Stories? Are you using them for your business? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear more about your experiences.

SEO virtuoso, CEO @Sachs Marketing Group. Focused on being of service to business owners – helping to better position them in the eyes of their audiences.

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