If you want to learn how you can get results like this…
…grab your coffee, grab your favorite pen and notebook, and join us on the inside.
We’ve worked with small businesses to run ads on the internet for… we’ll say a while.
And one of our favorite things about running ads is trying new placements, platforms, and strategies.
It keeps our job interesting and we feel good helping small businesses see growth and make money.
That’s why today, we’re teaching you how to create and optimize Instagram Story ads.
Because you can build powerful ads for your business that can change your life. They don’t have to be expensive.
- Stories are vertical videos or images that show up full-screen on your phone and are only visible for 24 hours and then disappear.
- When advertising on IG Stories, you want to go into it with a strategy so you’re not just throwing money around.
- Use one of the engagement stickers to make the most of the time spent on your Story.
About Instagram Stories
Before we go and teach you how to optimize Instagram Story ads, let’s define it first.
Stories is the best feature on Instagram at the moment, hands-down.
Unlike the feed, you need to open Stories intentionally, and millions of users do just that every day.
What Is A Story & How Does It Work?
If you have the Instagram app, you can make Stories.
They’re vertical videos or images that show up full-screen on your phone. They’re separate from your post feed.
Stories are visible for 24-hours and then disappear. You can save Stories to Highlights on your profile so they can be viewed after 24-hours.
Stats On Instagram Stories
It’s impossible for a small business to do everything if you don’t have a lot of resources (like time, money, or employees).
So when new features come out or new advertising platforms, it’s hard to figure out whether you want to take the time to pursue that option.
So, we’ve collected some powerful stats from around the internet to show you why Stories is a great idea for your business.
- There are over 500 million active daily Stories users.
- U.S. marketers allocate around 31% of their Instagram budget for ads on Stories.
- 61% of users posted Support Small Business Sticker in their stories in just a month.
- Approximately 86.6% of Instagram’s users post stories every day.
- Roughly 60% of millennials publish or watch Instagram Stories.
- Over 130 million users each month tap to view IG shopping tags.
Before we get into strategy on how to optimize Instagram Story ads, just a quick reminder to check out our new social media ads training course.
It’s out now, and it has lots of useful information to help you master the art of social advertising.
Strategy On How To Optimize Instagram Story Ads
When advertising on IG Stories, you want to go into it with a strategy so you’re not just throwing money around, this isn’t us buying books.
You have 7 goals to choose from when setting up your Story ads.
- Video Views
- Mobile App Installs
- Lead Generation
When and how you use these goals will depend on your business, your audience, your content, and a bunch of other factors.
However, you can follow some general strategies that work for most new businesses.
You have to build a solid advertising foundation and those steps look similar for most businesses.
Here’s what we do for most of the small businesses we start working with, at least at the beginning:
- Use the Brand Awareness goal to introduce your brand, product, or service to new audiences.
- Send interested parties to a link to your website, product, or have your CTA be something else that’s valuable to your business.
- Set up retargeting ads to users who clicked through to your website (or other CTA).
Setup of Instagram Story Ads
We’re going to show you how to set up these ads from your app.
You can also set these up in the Facebook Ads Manager when you set up your Facebook ads.
If you’re running ads on both platforms, we recommend setting them up at the same time there.
We recently did a tutorial on how to create Instagram Story ads so be sure to check that out after you read this.
Let’s now set up your ad from the Instagram app.
- Open your app and log in to your account, if you’re not already.
- Click on Promotions.
- Click Choose a Post.
- Choose Media for either a Post or Story.
- Tap Next.
- Select one of four promotions:
- Reach new people
- More profile visits
- More website visits
- More messages
We will go with “Reach new people”.
- Tap Create Promotion.
- Now select your goal. We’ll go with profile visits. Tap Next.
- Select your special categories, create an audience, or use Instagram’s suggested audience, and tap Next.
- Select your budget and how long your ad will run. Notice the total amount you’ll spend and expected results adjust as you move the slider.
Select Next when you’re happy with your selections.
- Review your Story Ad (Promotion) for accuracy and tap the Create Promotion button. This will go live after it’s reviewed by Instagram.
How To Optimize Instagram Story Ads
Optimization matters for all ads.
So, let’s look at how you can optimize Instagram Story ads before we get into best practices.
a. Create a separate version for IG Stories.
You’ll have the option to run your square or nearly-square IG feed post or video as a Story.
We don’t recommend this option unless you’ve redesigned your ad to fit the full vertical screen.
The feed ad looks fine. Great, even. But as a Story? Bleh.
We have the perfect on how to design Instagram ads that you can read next.
b. Keep your IG Stories ads in a separate ad set.
This way, you can run A/B tests, set up independent budgets, and see what works best.
c. Use stickers for engagement.
We will discuss more of this in best practices.
But the key takeaway here is that using stickers increases time spent on Stories 3x in 90% of ads tested by IG.
5 Best Practices On Creating & Optimizing Instagram Story Ads
You can follow some best practices to help your IG ads perform better.
These best practices apply not only to your paid ads, but to your organic posting as well.
Improving one will help improve the other, so we recommend working on both strategies at the same time.
1. Capture Attention in the First 2 to 3 Seconds
Users can tap or swipe the right of their screens to skip your Stories.
And in 2020, the tap forward rate for Instagram Stories was 68%.
So here are some attention-grabbing tactics that make users stop tapping forward:
- Use Stickers – They increase engagement and help people stick around.
We like to use engagement stickers like Polls, Q&A, Message, Quiz, and Countdowns. Speaking of countdowns…
- Use Countdowns – These stickers allow you to choose any date and time within the next year for your countdown.
Users who see it can click the countdown and ask for a reminder.
2. Use A/B Testing to Find the Best Graphics & Audiences
We start A/B testing ads immediately, even with brand new businesses.
It’s really the fastest, most cost-effective way to figure out the winning combination of creative, targeting, and placements.
We recently did an in-depth post on Facebook ad testing. We recommend you read that next so you can get the most out of your budget.
3. Use Video (and Feature Influencers When Possible)
Video is taking over everything. It’s a fact now, we just have to live with it and adjust. That means making more videos.
Start doing that in your Stories and watch your ads fly like the healthy baby birds they are.
Influencers help, and you can find an influencer for your budget. Go for nano or micro-influencers.
4. Make Use of Engagement Stickers
Folks use the engagement stickers in Stories. Ask a question, take a poll, give a pop quiz, share a song or link to your website.
Use one of the engagement stickers to make the most of the time spent on your Story.
For ads, you can set up an interactive poll while you’re creating the ad.
You can also check out this post for more Instagram engagement hacks.
5. Keep Your Brand Front & Center
It’s a full-screen experience, and your username and profile picture will show in the upper left of your Story.
But, you still need to make your brand front-and-center…
…and keep reminding folks who it is they’re living for right now (hint: your business).
Show your logo again, keep your colors branded, and more.
And that’s how you optimize Instagram Story ads!
If you need more help with your IG ads, work with our Instagram advertising company today!