Instagram stories drive a ton of engagement. People see them at the top of the feed as soon as they log in, and users want to check them out before they vanish in 24 hours.
You can certainly reach a lot of people by just publishing organic stories – in fact, a third of the most viewed stories are from businesses. But to scale your organic presence, you need to turn to Instagram story ads.
So, here are some of my top tips for creating Instagram story ads
Don’t Make It Look Like an Ad
People don’t go on Instagram to look at ads, they go there to see posts from their friends and brands they follow. If you create visuals that obviously look like ads, people will just swipe and move to the next story.
To prevent people from skipping your ad, make it look like an organic post.
A proper example is this ad from Huel.
This is an advertisement for an instant mac and cheese that you can just prepare by adding hot water. When most people promote a product like this, they will create an image with a picture of the product, a headline, and a call to action. When people see the image, they spontaneously realize that it is an ad.
But this ad from Huel is made to look like an organic post by sharing a video on how to prepare the meal. They promote the product, but they do it very subtly. Fewer people will skip it.
But Still, Get It To Stand Out
It is crucial to create visuals that look less like ads, but it is also important for you to stand out. Creating ads for Instagram is like creating any other type of content. People will cherry-pick and check out the best content. So, think about various angles you can use to grab your audience’s attention.
A simple way to do this is by using black-and-white videos or images. It’s because most people create visuals in color and those with a black-and-white palette are rare.
Again, this will mainly depend on what your competition is using. So, before you create your ad, visit your feed and Instagram pages of competitors to see what types of content they create for their organic posts and ads. You can also use Instagram analytics tools to see which of your competitors’ posts generated the most engagement. Then brainstorm ways to stand out.
Use More Videos
Instagram videos generate 49% more interactions than images.
Also, a study from Smaato found that video ads have a 7.5X higher click-through rate than static ads.
Videos generally do better than images because something moving in the feed naturally attracts more attention. But to get the most out of video ads, you need to create the right content. Here are 4 top tips.
Keep them short: Story ads are naturally short as they can’t exceed 15 seconds. But you should make them even shorter, as a study from Facebook found that 6 seconds ads generate the best results.
Add subtitles: 92% of people watch videos on mute when using a mobile device. If your ad contains speech, they won’t be able to make sense of it and will skip it. You should add the speech as subtitles to the ad to help them follow along even while on mute.
This is one of the reasons why you will frequently come across ads that have no speech on Instagram. The captions explain the product while some background music plays.
Add thumbnails: Instagram users can turn off autoplay when browsing on mobile data. These people will see a thumbnail instead. This is why you should add a thumbnail to all your video ads.
Create an audience: You can create a custom audience consisting of the people who viewed your story ad. So, before you launch your ad, make sure you set up this audience. You can retarget based on how much of the video they watched. For example, you can create an ad retargeting people who watched your ad till the end while avoiding people who skipped it in the first few seconds.
For an idea on how to create a simple ad, check out this one from Cerave.
It is just a few seconds long, and you can understand the message the ad is painting without needing any audio. You can see the product in the ad, and the CTA shows you how to get it.
Many people shy away from creating videos, but they are pretty easy to make, especially for Instagram ads, as they just need to be 6 seconds long. What’s more, there are video editors like Videoleap that make your job easy.
This easy-to-use mobile app has templates, stickers, filters, effects, and an intuitive editor that makes it possible to transform your product clips into ads that stand out in the feed.
Position Your Text in the Right Areas
On every story ad, Instagram will display your profile image and company name at the top and a call to action at the bottom.
It is important to keep these two areas in mind while creating your image or video. You need to place important details such as the text, illustrations, and branding away from these areas.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to Instagram ads, less is more. This is one of the reasons why 6-second ads perform best. The role of the ad isn’t to generate sales, it is to get people to visit your landing page, which can drive the sale.
Try to include as few details as you can in your story ad. A headline, a short description, one call to action, a picture or illustration, and some branding (such as your logo) are plenty. When you add too many details, it can make your visuals appear crowded.
Always focus on one goal at a time. Too many goals can confuse prospects and lead to the paradox of choice.
Always Test Various Creatives and Copy
No matter how much research you do, it is impossible to create the perfect ad on the first attempt. This is why you should create several ad versions. It is best to create at least ten versions of your ad.
You can start by creating five images and five videos. You should then split-test them for a week or two on a $5 to $10 a-day budget to see which one generates the best results. You can scale the budget for the one that performs best. You can also create new versions of the winner and conduct more experiments with the visuals and the copy.
Using Predis.ai, it’s easy to build out variants of your creative assets. Just enter a web page URL or a few words, and the AI engine spits out everything you need. Plus, it’s all easy to edit before you export the assets for your ad experiments.
While measuring ad performance, always track KPIs such as return on ad spend and cost per acquisition, as these will matter the most to your bottom line. Metrics like clicks and impressions matter, but they don’t always directly correlate to the number of sales.
Accompany With a Mobile Optimized Funnel
Instagram ads only appear on the app. This is why it is essential to ensure your funnel is optimized for mobile devices.
The ad, of course, needs to be mobile-friendly, but on top of that, other elements, such as the landing page, checkout page, and thank you page, need to look good on mobile devices.
Now Create Your Instagram Story Ads
Instagram is one of the top platforms for media buying, especially when you want to reach a warm audience with retargeting ads. Both in-feed ads and story ads will provide great results.
I recommend starting with story ads as the network’s users prefer stories. Also, there’s more space for stories because they take up the whole screen. This allows you to get creative and try out new things.
Now it’s your turn!