Best-practice tactics to engage and convert

Stories are the part of Instagram that isn’t going away. The growth and popularity thunders on, with over 500 million users every day. If that’s not a reason to be running ads through this corner of the platform, I don’t know what is. Here I am going to explain how to create successful Instagram Stories Ads that get you results. 


Start at the beginning

Like all social ads, you need to decide the basics before you begin. What’s your objective? Whether it’s engagement, driving traffic to your website, app installs or lead generation to get mailing list sign-ups, get clear on this so you can develop a creative that fulfils it. Get the dimensions right (I like Sprout Social for the most up-to-date info on dimensions and sizes for optimum visibility) as Stories are unique on this and then get targeting.

Narrowing down your audience is really important because Stories ads only display for a short time. Get really specific and if you can, use lookalike audiences and Facebook Pixel info and retargeting to get in front of warm leads. Lastly, add a compelling call to action to motivate your audience to move. Words like learn, shop, discover etc work well, but this could also be something that you split test to see what messaging gets the best response.

The actual targeting of your Instagram ads is a post in its own right – one which I am happy to do if you’d like to read it? Let me know in the comments – but here I’m going to focus more on the kinds of Stories ads that get results. 


1. Hook your audience in immediately 

Those first few seconds really count; if you captivate your watchers immediately they are less likely to skip. As Instagram is such a visual platform, make a visually appealing post or something with innovative video or graphics. Humour and attention-grabbing images that make you stop and think are also powerful ways to get that all-important swipe up from your customer. Something like a GIF-style looping image can showcase a lot of product in one Story, which is really engaging to an interested audience.



2. Be clear, be brief

There’s not much space for words on a Stories ad: your visuals are most important and reading time is limited. Use text sparingly and make sure your message is punchy and straight to the point. To leverage some extra time and impact, choose video or carousel ads. You’ve got more opportunities to get your point across (more time in which to do it compared to still images).



3. Keep it fun!

Although brands are embracing Stories as a platform to advertise and show added value, this is the more ‘real’ side of Instagram and a lot of user content is still pretty raw. Your audience is used to things looking less polished and that’s not a bad thing for you. I’m not saying don’t make an effort to produce impactful visuals, but do stay away from anything too highly produced – especially if it doesn’t match your brand story. Also, take the chance to have fun with filters, stickers, drawing tools etc. Build them into your creative to give it that Insta look and feel and then upload as a completed files.

Examples of Instagram Stories Ads

Instagram Stories Ads That Work!

4. Stay visible

You want to drive people to your brand and buy your products or services so you need to be clear on who this ad is from. Keep your logo visible, with no design elements obstructing it, and if you have products with your brand name or logo on them put them front and centre. The people seeing your ads may not be followers so this is really important if you want them to notice you.



5. Be strategic with text placement

It’s not just your logo that you don’t want to cover up, you want your messages to stand out too. Keep them short, put text over an opaque background if possible, choose legible fonts and place your main graphic away from the ‘sponsored’ tag at the top of the screen to reduce the chances your audience will skip ahead because its an ad. Try placing text near or drawing attention to the swipe up function to see whether it’s an effective strategy for your brand.



6. Add music to your Stories

While many people listen with the sound off, the majority of Stories (around 60%) are viewed with sound on. I’d recommend creating an engaging ad that assumes people are watching on mute, but adding sound to give it even more impact for anyone listening. This is something that’s worth testing to see whether it improves your click-through rate.



7. Stay on brand

Stories may be the fun, fast-moving, informal side of Instagram but it pays to stay on brand. Your creatives will have much more impact and boost brand awareness more effectively if you keep them in line with your brand aesthetic. Imagery, colours and typography should keep broadly the same look and feel as all of your work, to help people know instantly it’s you.


As always, it’s an opportunity to test what works and refine your ad approach accordingly. With Insta Stories it’s just that bit more playful, so you could really have some fun attracting new followers and converting your audience into customers.



Don’t forget IGTV – it’s doing well for brands currently as it supports well-crafted and engaging content. If you are running a brand awareness campaign, you could do a lot worse than creating Instagram Stories Ads to drive traffic to your IGTV. This could be great for those more in-depth product stories and behind-the-scenes brand content. As IGTV is still in the process of really taking off, you may find that getting involved with this area of Instagram now may be favourable with the algorithm. 


I would love to connect with you on Instagram, so if we are not already Insta friends then please follow the link below and come over to say ‘Hi’!