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How to Create Instagram Story Ads [FULL Step-by-Step]

With 500 million daily active users, Instagram is an enticing marketing channel and has been for many years. However, with the introduction of Instagram Story ads in January 2018 it’s become even more of asset to businesses. In particular, big brands like Nike, Netflix, and Airbnb have found much success with the platform as a marketing channel to engage with customers and target their potential audience.

The business case for Instagram Story ads is strong. Not only does Instagram’s regular engagement demolish Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn, but statistics show that Instagram Stories are watched and engaged with even more than regular posts or videos that appear in the newsfeed. Overall, brands’ Instagram content outperforms Facebook by a factor of ten.

With the huge popularity of Instagram Stories, it was a natural transition for the platform to introduce a way for brands to create ads that could be inserted between stories. With such an effective way of capturing such a huge audience’s attention, it’s a wonder why more brands aren’t on Instagram.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be one of those brands missing out on Instagram traffic anymore. In this article, I’ll be going over not only how you can create Instagram Story ads, but how you can attract users with strong visuals and clear messaging to encourage the user to take action.  

How you can use Instagram Stories ads

There are many benefits to using Instagram Story ads regardless of your objective. Running ads on this platform can be particularly helpful if you want to:

Drive brand and product awareness – If you’re launching a new product or breaking into a new market, these ads provide a great way for your brand to quickly introduce your product or service to potential customers.

Announce sales or special events – If your company has a special event or sale coming up, you can let your customers know. With calls-to-action enabled on the platform, you can have your customers swipe up to jump straight to your store or website.

Start a public conversation – You can prompt your followers to create and share their own content by starting a dialogue with them through the platform. Ask a question or throw down a challenge—anything to get them talking and sharing your brand with their own followers. You can also prompt your users to open a live Facebook chat with you for more personal conversations.

Promote your accomplishments – Build your brand’s image by putting together a quick video highlight reel. You can show how your brand is impacting the world and build a lifestyle image for yourself.

Retarget customers – As Instagram is linked with Facebook, you are able to use Instagram Story ads to set up retargeting campaigns using behaviors tracked with Facebook Pixel. Retargeting is a great way to boost your marketing ROI and should never be skipped when it’s an option.

How to create Instagram ads

Setting up your account to run ads is very simple, but you need to start off with a Facebook page. To create an Instagram ad you then have to:

  1. Link your Instagram account to your Facebook page
  2. Create an Instagram ad campaign
  3. Create your ad set
  4. Analyze and optimize your Instagram ads

Now, let’s dive into exactly how you can create your first ad on Instagram.

Step 1: Link your Instagram account to your Facebook page

The first step might sound a bit intimidating for anyone who is not technologically inclined. However, linking your Instagram account to your Facebook page is very simple and only involves 2 easy steps.

  1. Visit the “Settings” tab for your Facebook page and click on “Instagram Ads.”
  2. Click “Log In” and fill in your Instagram login credentials. If you don’t already have an Instagram account, you can also create one now.

Step 2: Create an Instagram ad campaign

After you’ve linked your Instagram account to your Facebook page, setting up your ad campaign is very similar to setting up an ad on Facebook. Head over to the “Ads Manager” and create your first campaign.

If you already create Facebook ads, much of this process will be familiar to you. This is one of the reasons why creating Instagram ads is so advantageous, particularly if you’re already familiar with Facebook ads.

In the “Ads Manager,” click on the “Campaigns” tab. You then need to click on “+ Create” near the top left corner of the screen. Choose your campaign objective, which includes:

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • App installs
  • Engagement
  • Video views
  • Conversions
  • Lead generation

Remember, not all objectives are compatible with Instagram Stories ads.

Step 3: Create your Instagram ad set

Once you’ve set your objective, you need to determine what kind of ad you will be doing and then set it up. To set this up, follow these easy steps:

  1. Go to the “Ad Set” page, and then select “Purchase” as the type of conversion you want to optimize for.
  2. You can also choose to add an offer, which will help drive even more conversions on your ad.
  3. Define what users you want to see your ads and how much money you want to spend on the ad. When figuring out how much you want to spend when you advertise on Instagram, start low. You can always increase the budget later if your ad is performing well.
  4. Keep in mind that all the same targeting options are available for Instagram ads as for Facebook ads.
  5. If you have any “Custom Audiences” already created from your Facebook campaigns, you can select them for targeting with your Instagram ad at this point.
  6. Select your “Ad Placements.” You’ll see the option to run your campaign on Instagram, as well as Facebook and Messenger.
  7. When you’re finished choosing who to target, which platforms you want it to run on, and how much to spend, click “Continue” in the bottom right.
  8. On the next screen you’ll see an option to choose your Instagram ad format. Note that the Canvas format is not compatible with Instagram. Once you’ve decided, scroll down to upload your images or videos.
  9. Scroll down further, and you’ll see an option on the left to add text to your ad.
  10. To the right of the text editor, you’ll be able to preview how your ad will look on Instagram.
  11. Once everything looks good, click “Place Order.” If you’re not satisfied with how the preview looks, then you can go back and make changes.

Congratulations! You’ve just completed your first Instagram Story ad campaign. However, getting your ad up and running isn’t quite the final step if you want your campaigns to succeed. There’s still one more step!

Step 4: Monitor and analyze

Once you’ve launched your first Instagram ad campaign, and it’s up and running, you’ll want to monitor its performance. Part of monitoring its performance and making your ads as effective as they can be is to test ideas to find the most effective messaging, creative, and targeting.

Within Ads Manager, you can edit your Instagram ad to incorporate split testing, change the targeting parameters, and view analytics for the performance of your ads. Testing different options is the most vital part of finding success.

Check the analytics associated with your ad and see if it is helping you accomplish your campaign objectives. Make note of what aspects of the ad are bringing in the numbers you want and which ones aren’t, and then make changes accordingly.

Unfortunately, not all campaigns are going to be a hit right off the bat, but you can always tweak your ad to better get the results you need.

How to create effective Instagram Story ads

Now that you know how to set up an Instagram Story ad, you need to know what makes an effective ad so that you’re not wasting your money.

One thing to keep in mind is that viewers’ attention is always being pulled in many directions. That’s why you need to ensure that your ad catches the viewer’s attention right away. Make sure that you only use high-quality media—whether photo or video—in order to create a strong impression quickly.

If you opt for a photo ad, make sure you’re using a bright, bold photo with clear branding and simple messaging. The photo should clearly show who you are, what you do, and quickly show the viewer how you can help them. As per Facebook specifications, your images should be 1080 x 1920 resolution and have a 9:16 aspect ratio.

If you opt for a video ad, make sure that your video is 100% self-explanatory. You aren’t able to use any supporting sales copy, titles, etc, so your messaging needs to be clear in the video itself. The video you create cannot run for longer than 15 seconds, and you won’t be able to crop after uploading. The video has to be at least 720p resolution and must be in MOV, MP4, or GIF format, and must be under 2.3 GB in size.

Due to the nature of the platform, with photo ads lasting only 10 seconds and video ads lasting only 15 seconds, that means you also need to keep your messaging fairly simple. Viewers won’t be able to return to the ads later, so you need to make sure your message is easily understood within the first few seconds so that they can decide to take action or follow up for more information immediately after.

Instagram Story ads are a great way for you to connect with potential customers, as it’s one of the few platforms that gives you the audience’s complete attention. It also comes equipped with Facebook’s awesome demographic data, making it very effective.

If you’re ready to learn more about how you can build and promote your brand, then consider enrolling in our Personal Branding & Influencer Marketing course. You can also follow us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for great content daily, or head to our blog for helpful FREE training.

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