How Do Instagram Story Ads Work? Here’s Everything You Need To Know.

How Do Instagram Story Ads Work

You might be asking yourself, how do Instagram story ads work? The world of marketing has evolved considerably in the past few years. A decade ago, Instagram was a startup, and there were very few brands that made use of Facebook and Google ads.

With so little competition, you can imagine how groundbreaking even a simple video ad would have been at the time. These days however, online ads are a dime a dozen. For your Instagram Marketing campaign to work, you need to consider factors such as ads placement and other technical issues.

If you’re targeting Instagram users, then one of the best ways to approach it is through Instagram stories. It’s a feature where you can share images or video snippets in a slideshow format that’s catchy and extremely effective.

Initially, stories were aimed at Instagram users who wanted to share quick snapshots of their lives. Unlike Instagram posts, stories automatically vanished after 24 hours, which meant far less commitment from the user to crafting a long-term profile.

It was also a way for Instagram to compete with Snapchat, which had a fast-paced user interface that was wildly popular.
After just a few months, several brands saw the potential of these stories. A full-screen ad that blends in with the user’s organic content was too good of a platform to ignore, and both big and small players became interested in the trend.

Feed Stories Ads

How Do Instagram Story Ads Work?

So, how do Instagram story ads work, and what makes it a great platform to advertise your brand?
What ad sets Instagram apart from Google AdSense, YouTube ads, Carousel ad posts, and Facebook Sponsored Ads is the slideshow feature.

Feed ads are easy to identify. Users can spot one without even looking at the post itself. The ad format is a dead giveaway.

Story ads blend naturally with organic material posted by who the user follows. Apart from minutiae like a “sponsored” tag or a “swipe up” button somewhere on the screen, it is indistinguishable.

The manner by which Instagram stories are viewed is simple—Instagram stories continue to play until the user exits the story feature, closes the app, swipes left or right, or clicks on an ad.

Going by that logic, the slideshow reel will continue to play until all stories are exhausted, so there is an excellent chance that your ad will reach your target market.

What Should a Brand Hope to Achieve with an Instagram Story Ad?

The key to making any marketing strategy successful is to have a clear goal. If you’re creating ads with no goal, your ads will not work. You also need to tell the audience what to do with your ads.

Brand Awareness

If your marketing team is gunning for brand awareness, your goal should be to share images or video snippets related to your brand. Do not be too aggressive, though.
For example, if you run a fitness coaching brand, you can share stories about health, nutrition, and exercises to do at home. It is best not to bombard users with client transformation pictures, though.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is ideal for brands that sell high-ticket products. Let’s say you have an online program that teaches people how to create an eCommerce store. You cannot expect clients to sign up and send you hundreds of dollars right off the bat, right? You need to earn their trust. Get the contact information, send regular email updates, and provide free but valuable information. Once the leads have warmed to the brand, you can offer these potential clients your product.

Conversion Rates

Brand awareness is useless unless you can convert readers into paying customers.
Your approach to boosting conversion rates would be more direct. For example, post a story that’s concise and straight to the point, include a call to action button, and then link it to your site.
If you sell shoes, post a story saying you’re holding a 24-hour flash sale. Make sure it’s eye-catching. Then, create a swipe up button at the bottom of the page where the user is redirected to your eCommerce store when they press it.
Once they’re at your site, all that’s left is to close the deal.

How to Create an Instagram Story Ad

So, how do you make one of these effective, brand-friendly Instagram story ads? We’ve given you four easy steps to follow:

Instagram Sign Up

Step 1: Set Up an Instagram Account

Go digital.
Creating ads for Instagram story slideshows is not possible if you’re not on social media. If you’re just setting up your account, we suggest focusing on brand awareness first to accumulate followers.

Facebook Ads Manager Platform

Step 2: Visit the Ads Manager

Go to the ads manager tool and click ‘create.’

You have the option of using either guided creation or quick creation.

Step 3: Fill Out the Details


Select the reach, video views, ads placement, and traffic objective.
You can also choose to include an app install feature. If you turn this on, the user will automatically redirect to the App Store or Google Play Store to download your app.

Pro Tip

Check the edit placements section well. If you choose Manual Placements, your stories will run on Instagram only. Automatic Placements will put your ad onto various other social media sites, too.

Step 4: Finish the Ad

Complete the ad by filling out the rest of the details.
For reference, here are the ad creative specs for Instagram stories:

Video Creatives:

  • You can use either .mp4 or .mov file types.
  • It should have a maximum file size of 4GB and a length of 15 seconds.
  • Instagram stories ad feature supports codecs H.264 and VP8.

Image Creatives:

  • You can use either .jpg or .png file types.
  • It should have a maximum file size of 30MB.

How to Make the Most of Your Instagram Story Ads

The main problem marketers face when creating ads for Instagram story slideshows is reducing the swipe-through rate. It is the ratio at which Instagram users view your ads (versus how many skip over it). There are many strategies to reduce the swipe-through rate, including making your ads more interesting, using fewer words, and creating engaging content.

Among these options, however, the simplest is maximizing your target market. You can customize who will see your stories by using the Custom Audiences feature.
Target the viewers based on:

  • Online engagement
  • Offline activity
  • Lead generation or customer file
  • App activity or brand awareness
  • Website interaction

Go Viral With True North Social Media!

Are you still struggling to make those Instagram and Facebook ad campaigns work? To explore beyond this article of how do Instagram story ads work, reach out to the professionals at True North Social Media.
Contact True North Social Media today.