Instagram Story Ads were introduced to the World in March 2019, which caused a lot of excitement among advertisers, as the story format is very engaging. Approximately 50% of brands who use Instagram have made story posts since the feature was introduced. Subsequently, time spent on Instagram rose to approximately 28 minutes when the story format was introduced. Here’s How to Use Instagram Story Ads for Your Business.

How to Use Instagram Story Ads for Your Business

What are Story ads?

Stories are available to Instagram users by clicking a button at the top of their news feed. An Instagram Story Ad displays right alongside ‘regular’ Instagram stories. Usually you see a Story Ad as you are moving from one story to another, and it’s not easy to tell a Story Ad from a ‘normal’ story post. As a result, story ads are well accepted by the Instagram community.

As with all ads on Instagram, a Story Ad will have the word “Sponsored” in the top left corner. So whether you choose an Image Story Ad or a Video Story Ad, both will appear as a full screen ad to the Instagram user, that looks like a ‘regular’ Instagram Story.

There are approximately 500 million Instagram users looking at stories every day, so the marketing potential with this ad format is enormous.

Because all stories disappear from Instagram after 24 hours, Story Ads are best used when you want to promote a limited time offer. You can use a number of different call to action buttons with Story Ads, like:

  • Apply now
  • Book now
  • Call now
  • Contact us
  • Download

When you create a Story Ad you can also create a target audience (or use a previously saved one) and you can specify how often your audience will see your Story Ad. You can also enhance your Story Ads with filters and video effects, and add text to make your ad really attractive.

Stories Image Ad

If you choose to go with an Instagram Stories Image Ad then you’ll be able to add up to 6 images and a swipe up capability that points your viewers to your website or online store. The Instagram Stories Image ad lasts for five seconds.

Instagram Stories Image Ad Specs:

  • The recommended resolution for an Instagram Stories Image Ad is 1080 X 1920 pixels
  • The resolution should be a minimum of 600 X 1067 pixels
  • The correct aspect ratio is 9:16
  • Image format can be either PNG or JPG
  • The maximum size of any one image is 30 MB

One of things that you need to be careful about with Instagram Stories Image Ads, is the amount of text that you overlay on your image. If you add too much text on these images, Instagram will reject your ad.


Stories Video Ad

Nothing captures the Instagram Story browsing eye faster than a video. So one thing you should remember is that when users are viewing stories, they don’t usually turn the sound on. For this reason, you need to be able to deliver your advertising message with or without sound. 

Here are the important specifications for a Instagram Video Image Ad:

  • The recommended resolution for an Instagram Stories Video Ad is 1080 X 1920 pixels
  • The correct aspect ratio is 9:16
  • Use either the MOV or MP4 movie format
  • The minimum resolution of a Stories Video Ad is 720p
  • Video size must not exceed 4GB
  • The video length is 15 seconds.

Avoid These Instagram Ad Mistakes

Lots of businesses are turning to Instagram for new leads and customers. As of 2017, the platform had 1 million businesses advertising on it. Because Instagram is undergoing significant growth, using Instagram Ads is a great way to reach people that other methods just can’t. A lot of people make mistakes with Instagram Ads, so I thought I’d highlight these mistakes for you so that you can avoid them.

Not Aligning with Business Goals

A lot of people learning how to Use Instagram Story Ads for Your Business don’t align their advertising with their business goals. You can create some awesome Instagram Ads, but if there’s no congruency with your business goals, you’re totally wasting your time.


So think about how your Instagram Ads can match up with your overall goals. Do you want to increase awareness of your brand? Do you want to increase the number of followers on your Instagram account? Or is your main goal to drive a lot more traffic to your website, so that you can generate more email marketing leads?

It’s not hard to create goals for your Instagram advertising campaigns and it’s something that you have to do. Take the time to think about what you really want to accomplish with Instagram Ads, and write it down. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What results do I want from my Instagram Ads?
  • Do I want new customers or to create repeat buyers?
  • Do I want to increase traffic to my website?


Not Targeting the Right Audience

It’s not difficult to identify your target audience when you’re using Instagram Ads. But to do this right, you should have a good idea of who your audience is, and what they’re looking for. A lot of Instagram advertisers don’t spend enough time on this part of their marketing strategy, and end up having their advertising efforts fall flat because they targeted the wrong audience.

To figure out who is the right audience for your business, think about the products and services that you sell. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • What needs do your products or services fill for people?
  • What problems do you solve and what pain points do you alleviate?
  • What kind of person would get the most out of your products or services?

Another good thing to do is to take a close look at what your competitors are doing. Who are their customers?

Not knowing your customer demographics. 

This includes:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Education
  • Income
  • Interests

Getting Ad Content Wrong

Even if you really know your audience well (which is better than not) it’s still entirely possible to make mistakes with the content of your ads, and a lot of advertisers do this. 

Your content should accurately reflect your products and services and your brand positioning. Also it’s essential that you don’t over-hype your content and make it too ‘salesy’ or ‘spammy’. Your Instagram advertising goal should be to provide value and inspire Instagram users.

Your Instagram Ads should have persuasive captions. When you’re creating your captions, make sure that they’re suitable for the image in your ad. Make sure that you also use the right hashtags and a convincing call to action.

Ignoring the quality of Images and Videos

Instagram is a visual platform. It’s all about the visuals.

Advertisers know this, but many of them don’t pay enough attention to the quality of their images and videos. There’s no excuse for ignoring or overlooking this because there are plenty of tools available to make your visuals pop.

Pay special attention to the lighting in your images. There are lots of apps available to adjust this feature. Make your videos interesting by providing different perspectives. Take a look at what’s in the background for your images and videos. Make it interesting, but not too distracting.

The Benefits Of Instagram Ads

Instagram now has over one billion active users and the platform is growing at a ridiculous rate. It wasn’t so long ago that the platform announced that they had 700 million active users, and now it’s up over a billion! Instagram is a super popular social platform, and there is no sign that this will change in the near future.

What this means is that there’s a TON of marketing potential with Instagram. It has the highest levels of engagement out of all of the major social platforms at around 4.2%. Facebook and Twitter combined can only get around 0.1% engagement.

Here are the major benefits of advertising on Instagram:

Huge User Base that’s still growing

Instagram is growing at an insane rate, and now has more than a billion active users. The estimates suggest that this growth will continue over the next few years, so the audience potential is massive.

It’s connected to Facebook

Facebook owns Instagram. So targeting your audience a lot easier using Facebook data and tools (this is awesome). It used to be that you could set up everything for your Instagram Ads through Facebook including audience identification, budgeting and ad creation. But now you can also set up your Instagram ad campaign right in the Instagram platform!

This is great for those who have used Facebook Ads before. You already know how awesome the targeting capabilities can be. You don’t have to learn about Instagram advertising from scratch. You can just jump right in and start creating ads.

Be Creative with Your Ads

With the number of apps available to create fantastic graphics right on your smartphone, creativity shouldn’t be an issue. Use image and video graphic design apps to get a leg up on the competition! They extremely simple and fun to use!

Non-Intrusive Ads

Instagram Ads don’t annoy Instagram users the way that ads on other social platforms usually do. They appear seamlessly to the user, which seems to help with the level of audience engagement. For this reason, your ads are less likely to be skipped or overlooked.

Higher Engagement Rate

We know that engagement is everything with social media marketing, and Instagram has the highest levels of engagement for any social media platform. If you create your ads properly, you’ll get comments, likes and shares like you’ve never seen before.

Success through Awareness

With Instagram Ad campaigns, success is measured based on awareness. If your ads are successful, you should see your follower count grow, and you’ll be able to measure the reach that your ads are getting with the level of likes and comments.

Instagram is perfect for Mobile Users

These days everyone has a smartphone with a high quality camera built in. Smartphone users are usually dialed into social media, and Instagram is the number one choice for many of those users. Lots of those people will use their camera phones as amateur photographers and post their pictures on their Instagram accounts.

Getting the best results with Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads generally provide the best results in terms of cost and return on investment (ROI) for businesses who use them. It’s a super effective marketing channel and it’s much quicker and easier to post interesting, compelling ads on Instagram than it is to do so on other social media channels.

If you’re not taking advantage of the marketing that Instagram provides, including Instagram Story Ads, then you absolutely have to start right now. You can set up an Instagram account for free, and converting it to a business account is super easy. 

The Instagram user base is huge, and is only getting bigger. With the “Facebook way” of targeting your audience, you can easily identify your target audience precisely and created ads specifically for them. There are also different types of ads that you can post depending on the needs of your business.

When you know your audience really well, you’ll be much better equipped to provide them with exactly what they’re looking for, using Instagram Ads. The cost per click is also way cheaper than other platforms, so you’ll definitely get the best bang for your buck.


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Debbie Burgin

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