April 10, 2017

What You Need to Know About Instagram Story Ads


I used to have the notion that there are two types of people in this world: those who have posted an Instagram Story and those who have not. But today, Instagram Stories have become so prevalent that most of us have probably posted a super kewl boomerang to our Story by now. If you haven’t yet, you totally should. Instagram Stories—a very similar alternative to Snapchat’s My Story—are becoming more and more commonplace, so marketers should study up on how brands and consumers are using them.

If you work with Facebook’s Business Manager, you even have the option to serve ads through this channel. If you don’t have time to study up on Instagram Stories, here is what you need to know if you are in the digital marketing space.

Defining Instagram Stories

As I mentioned, an Instagram Story is an almost identical feature to Snapchat’s My Story. If you want to fill your followers in on your fun weekend itinerary, you can post short videos and photos to your Story without going through the process of editing and adding filters. The main differences are that Stories are full-screen on your mobile device and disappears after 24 hours. Think of it like this: Stories should support your normal Instagram content and not be the centerpiece of your content strategy (at least not yet). For example, brands typically use this channel for influencer takeovers and behind-the-scenes content.

The Nuts and Bolts

In Business Manager, you will only be able to create Instagram Story Ads through campaigns with the reach objective. These ads will need to be full screen and sized to a 16:9 aspect ratio, or a pixel resolution of 1080 by 1920. Photos will appear for 5 seconds while videos or GIFs can be a maximum length of 15 seconds. A “Sponsored” label will display at the bottom of your ad, while your profile picture and username will appear in the top-left corner. So avoid these two areas with your most relevant text and content.

Capture the Moment

Unlike ads with Instagram Feed Placement, Story Ads can only be seen for a moment. Users will be served your ad as they view other Stories. This means you only have a few seconds—assuming they will probably swipe past it—to make an impact on your audience. Don’t waste time or your digital marketing budget serving ads that won’t stop a user in their tracks.

The Results

At the moment, Story Ads offer limited engagement metrics through Business Manager. With that said, there are several ways you can measure the success of these campaigns. Video or GIF content will allow you to see several relevant ad metrics such as average video view time, percentage of users that viewed your video to completion and cost per 3-second video view.

I encourage you to experiment with Instagram Story ad campaigns and share your results with us.