Categories Instagram, Tips

Instagram Story Ads 101: Tips, Tricks, Tools

Instagram is more than just about posting selfies or getting in touch with like-minded people. With 1.22 billion monthly active users, 90% of whom crave communication with brands in-app, it has quickly become the second most popular social network for marketing after Facebook.

Practically every marketer realizes the power of Instagram. When done right, Instagram marketing results in higher brand awareness, customer reach, and more sales.

At the same time, the competition in-app is high: over 25 million businesses expect to make valuable connections on the platform. Running paid social ads is a proven way to stay ahead of your competitors who hope for the attention of the same audience on Instagram.

According to the Data Reportal research, Instagram has a large advertising audience, making it a valuable ad channel for businesses of all sizes and niches.

business goals faster

What is more, 70% of users don’t mind Instagram ads. This means running Instagram ads can help you achieve business goals faster (and easier).

But if you want to make the most out of paid ad campaigns on Instagram and leave your competitors behind, consider using Instagram Story ads.

What are Instagram Story Ads?

Instagram Story ads are vertical ads. It’s a relatively new paid content solution that allows advertisers to reach people watching Stories in-app.

With Instagram Story ads, marketers can set up the right target audience and achieve various goals, which include: increase brand awareness, boost reach, get more video views, drive traffic, generate conversions, or get app installs.

When done right, Instagram Story ads perform better than in-feed ads and drive excellent results for all businesses.

Why Should You Run Instagram Story Ads?

The phenomenon of posting short-lived social media content that disappears after 24 hours isn’t new.

Back in 2016, when Instagram Stories were introduced on the platform, this content type gained popularity. Since most people hold their phones vertically, it’s no wonder that Stories grow 15x faster than feed-based shares, hitting 500M daily users.

As a result, more and more brands utilize Instagram Stories in their Instagram marketing strategies, having a median number of 15-16 IG Stories per month.

Based on Instagram’s data, Stories are extremely popular among users. 58% of people say they become more interested in a brand/product after seeing it in Stories. 45% of users prefer Stories for becoming aware of new trends. Lastly, 50% of people say that they have visited a website to buy a product/service as a result of seeing it in Stories.

Companies creating and running Instagram Story ad campaigns get unbelievable results.

Let’s take GAP, for example.

In honor of its Logo Remix campaign, the company created eye-catching 3-card carousel ads for Instagram Stories.

carousel ads for Instagram Stories

This Instagram Story ad campaign resulted in a 17-point lift in ad recall, a 4-point lift in message association for Instagram Stories, and a 73% higher click-through rate than previous Instagram campaigns.

All in all, Instagram Story ads help advertisers achieve the following goals:

  • Cut through the noise: Since the Instagram algorithm prioritizes content from friends and families, it’s hard for brands to get their posts seen in the news feed. However, Story ads appear when users watch Instagram Stories on the platform, making it easier to cut through the noise and reach the target audience.
  • Reach engaged viewers: With a short lifespan of 24 hours, people are afraid of missing out on something important, so they watch Stories much more than posts. This means using the Instagram Story ad solution gives you a great opportunity to reach engaged viewers ready for interaction.
  • Interact with viewers: Instagram Stories have many features to interact with viewers. From music stickers to polling stickers and geotags, there are a hundred ways to make engaging, creative, and fun content that encourages people to interact.
  • Boost sales: Instagram has features like clickable links and shoppable stickers that improve the in-app shopping experience. To drive more sales, companies can make the most out of these features to influence purchase intent and help interested people buy featured products without leaving the app.

All in all, running Instagram Story ad campaigns can deliver great results for your business.

Best Practices for Instagram Story Ads

When creating Instagram Story ads, there are various ways to integrate this ad type into your advertising strategies. However, learning from gurus can help boost your ads’ effectiveness.

To inspire your next ad campaign on the platform, here are five best practices for using Instagram Story ads, with actionable tips and handy tools that can make the ad-creation process even easier.

1. Implement Storytelling to Deliver Your Brand Message

Storytelling is a powerful marketing tool. Not only does narrative engage viewers, but it also triggers emotions, meaning people are more likely to recall stories than text information.

With a length of 15-60 seconds, Instagram Stories represent the best ad solution for companies that lay a bet on storytelling. Advertisers can give carousel ads a try to combine multiple images or videos in a single ad.

An excellent example of this strategy comes from Grove Collaborative.

When the company decided to reach more potential new customers on Instagram, it experimented with a new ad placement–Instagram Story ads–and Grove Collaborative created a three-segment story.

Story ads

The campaign got the following results:

  • 37% of all new customers came from Instagram Story ads
  • 25% lower cost per acquisition compared to other ad placements
  • 2.1X higher click-through rate than all other placements

2. Keep Viewers Engaged with Instagram Story Video Ads

When creating Instagram Stories, you can either take a photo or go to the next level and record a short yet engaging video.

In fact, 92% of all internet users watch online videos. For a variety of reasons, people love video content. Not only do videos keep viewers hooked and engaged, but they also inspire and entertain.

To increase your chances of getting your brand message delivered, it’s a great idea to create Instagram Story video ads that keep the audience engaged.

Let’s take a look at a case study from Glamnetic.

To boost brand awareness and get in touch with like-minded people, the co-founder of Glamnetic, Ann, decided to shoot herself in her living room and talk about the products. This approach helped to create a genuine and relatable video for Instagram story ads.

Instagram story ads

This ad campaign resulted in:

  • 10.5% lift in purchase conversions
  • 1.5X lift in return on ad spend for Q3
  • 24-point lift in ad recall
  • 16-point lift in brand awareness
  • 6.4X lift in action intent

To create such engaging videos you can consider using an all-in-one video editor like Videoleap. Here browse a collection of ready-to-use templates from other creators and remake them for your needs.

3. Invite Niche Influencers to Increase Brand Loyalty and Trust

Looking for effective engagement tips for your ad campaign? Consider working with niche influencers!

With the rise of Instagram influencers, when users trust opinion leaders as much as their real-world friends, influencer marketing has become an extremely effective tactic for advertisers.

When featuring popular influencers within your community, you can increase brand loyalty and trust as people pay close attention to recommendations from opinion leaders they love and follow.

Case in point:

To promote its new seasonal clothing line, Reserved invited TV star Kendall Jenner to be the face of its ad campaign and created an interactive Instagram Story ad. The ad had a polling sticker and a CTA that guided viewers to choose which items from the new winter range Jenner should wear.

Kendall Jenner

Compared to a standard ad on IG Stories, this creative ad campaign got the following results:

  • 1.5X lift in brand awareness with ads using interactive polling sticker
  • 12X lift in brand awareness with ads using interactive polling stickers and call-to-action copy

4. Include a Time-Sensitive Offer that Affects Purchase Intent

It’s no secret that every advertiser wants to increase conversions with Instagram ads. But if you want to drive more sales, your ad campaign should encourage your target audience to purchase.


Include a time-sensitive offer!

By being limited in time, these offers create a sense of urgency that positively affects purchase intent and encourages interested viewers to buy from you. For instance, you can give a discount, brand freebie, or additional service.

To generate more leads and turn them later into paying customers, you can learn from Appsee and create an Instagram Story ad campaign that offers viewers a free trial. An important element is to make this offer limited in time.

Story ad campaign

The ad mentioned above resulted in:

  • 3.4x increase in its click-through rate
  • 2x decreased cost per click
  • lowered its cost per qualified lead by 25%

When using this tactic, you can expect to get a high volume of questions about your product or company, as interested users are more likely to learn more about the product before making the purchase.

To help your social media team handle customer inquiries, it’s better to use a social media management tool like SocialPilot. With its Social Inbox feature, teams can manage all interactions from one place, dealing with all DMs and comments.

social media inbox

5. Enhance Instagram Story Ads with Cool Music or Sound Effects

Most advertisers believe that modern users watch videos with sound off on social media, but one research shows that 75% of people still watch videos with sound on in private places.

Music evokes powerful emotional responses, and how advertisers use it in ad campaigns can also enhance the viewer’s memory. When music and ads go hand in hand, they can bring wonderful results.

For example, when Norwegian Air decided to raise awareness about its long-haul flights from Europe, the company created Instagram Story ads and made them rich in audio. To make airline customers want to fly to New Year, the company made “only in New York” scenes for its ad campaign and added the distinctive sounds of a city.


The campaign got wonderful results:

  • It reached 2.8 million people in the UK and achieved a 95% increase in brand awareness
  • It reached 1.6 million people in Spain and got a 79% increase in brand awareness
  • 58,000 additional people in Spain and UK indicated that they would fly Norwegian to New York in the future

How to Get Started with Instagram Story Ads

Big brands have great results with Instagram Story ad campaigns.

Today, more and more companies want to market their products or services with Instagram Story ads. This full-screen ad format allows advertisers to show off their creativity and keep the audience engaged.

Pretty good, right?

But if you’re new to advertising your business on Instagram, you first want to ensure you know how to get started with Instagram Story ads.

With all this said, here are five steps you should take to get started with Instagram Story ads that bring results.

1. Choose the Right Instagram Story Ad Objectives

First and foremost, you should know what goal you want to accomplish with the ad campaign. In other words, setting the right marketing objective for your Instagram Story ad campaign is vital.

From boosting brand awareness to getting more app installs or driving store traffic, there are different marketing objectives for customer journey phases.

Instagram Story Ad Objectives

Tip: Rather than using the same ad objective repeatedly, change your campaign goals as your business grows.

2. Focus on One Brand Message

No matter what you want to achieve with your Instagram Story ad campaign, whether you want to reach a broader audience of potential customers or convert interested leads into customers, communicating the right brand message is a must.

Not only does it lead to business growth, but it also plays a fundamental role in building trustful and long-lasting relationships with your audience.

However, an ideal ad campaign should have just one brand message, an idea an advertiser wants to communicate to their target audience.

Tip: To create the right brand message for your ad campaign that allows you to reach the right audience, identify your customers’ pain points.

3. Take Care of Your Ad Design

As a visual platform, Instagram has a strong emphasis on visual content.

Most people are visual learners who pay close attention to visual content and perceive information better through images or videos, so great ad design is crucial.

It’s no wonder that big brands like Dunkin pay close attention to ad design. With the popularity of animated ads, Dunkin created eye-grabbing Instagram Story ads with a polling sticker and caught the attention of its audience.


Whether you show off your product line, invite influencers for brand endorsements, or create stop-motion ads, good ad design matters. A good Instagram Story ad uses the correct dimensions (1080px by 1920px, an aspect ratio of 9:16), high-quality visuals, and eye-catching design.

Tip: If you don’t have an in-house team of professional designers, you can use graphic design tools to customize ready-to-use templates and take care of your ad design easily.

4. Make the Most Out of the Clickable Link

One of the best things for businesses that run Instagram Story ads is the swipe-up feature that allows users to add a clickable link.

With this in-app feature, it’s easier for companies to redirect users to their website and boost traffic, generate more inbound leads, or even get more sales.

When starting your Instagram Story ad, always think about making the most of the clickable link.

Whether you want to redirect users to your website or provide viewers with additional information, make sure to add a link to improve the customer experience.

Tip: To draw viewers’ attention to the clickable link and encourage them to tap on it, include a relevant call-to-action phrase or even add an animated GIF sticker that points at the link.

5. Analyze Instagram Story Ad Performance

Having the most creative and unique Instagram Story ad means nothing unless it achieves results. If your ad isn’t going well, you may want to cancel your ad campaign. And if your ad is doing well, you may want to increase the ad budget.

All in all, analyzing ad performance data is a must.

If you have tried other ad placements on Instagram, like in-feed or IGTV ads, you might know how to analyze ad performance data. But when it comes to Instagram Stories, its ad data is different.

Instagram offers its Story analytics, where you can analyze the following categories:

  • Navigation (forward/back/next or exit taps)
  • Discovery (reach, impressions)
  • Engagement (profile visits, replies, shares, stickers taps, etc.)

But if you want to get in-depth ad performance data, it’s better to rely on pre-made reports you can find in Ads manager.

Ads manager

Tip: By running ad campaigns via Facebook Ads manager, you can customize reports and keep track of ad performance data that matters to you.


Doubtless, Instagram Story ads help marketers reach and engage with the target audience, leaving competitors who don’t invest in paid ads behind.

With a short lifespan, IG Stories create a sense of urgency that keeps viewers engaged, allowing your business to deliver its brand message to the hooked audience.

Moreover, a wide array of features make it even easier for advertisers to create ad campaigns that drive results.

Take your chance to cut through the noise and interact with your target audience; use the tips mentioned above to get started with Instagram Story ads and bring your Instagram presence to the next level.

Frequently Asked Questions

🌟 What are the design requirements for Instagram Story ads?

No matter what type of Instagram Story ads you plan to run, whether images or videos, the aspect ratio is 9:16, and the recommended resolution is 1080 x 1080 pixels. However, there are differences in design requirements for visual Instagram Story ads and Instagram Story video ads. Regarding visual ads, formats should be either JPG or PNG with a max image size of 30MB, while video ads support MP4 or MOV formats with a max duration of two minutes and a max video size of 4MB.

🌟 How much do Instagram Story ads cost?

There's no fixed price for Instagram Story ads. However, an average Instagram Story ad cost varies from $0.20 to $6.70, depending on the bidding model. There are three bidding models: CPC (cost-per-click), CPM (cost-per-impressions), and CPE (cost-per-engagement).

Most advertisers agree that they pay an average of $0.20 to $2 per click, $6.70 per 1000 impressions, and $0.01 to $0.05 per engagement.

🌟 What are you not allowed to promote on Instagram?

Not all products or services can be promoted on Instagram. According to Meta's Advertising Standards, users can't promote the following things on the platform: alcohol, firearms, online gambling, dating services, etc. Before creating your ad campaign, learn more about Instagram's community guidelines to ensure your promotion doesn't violate company restrictions.

Author: Val Razo

Val Razo is a freelance SMM consultant who helps small and medium businesses establish and maintain a social media presence. With the love for writing, Val also contributes to digital marketing blogs to share her knowledge and get in touch with like-minded people.