How to use Instagram story ads for your business?

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Businesses are seeking out new ways and channels to reach out and entice their younger audiences. Amongst the possible options, social media platforms are unlocking the greatest potential to explore these possibilities.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, are introducing attractive features to accommodate business requirements organically. While Facebook has experienced some amount of saturation, Instagram continues to be a promising destination for enterprises. Earlier this year, Instagram announced the launch of Instagram Story Ads to cash on the advertising opportunities.

What does it mean for businesses? How can one use Instagram Story Ads for sales and growth? We’ve addressed all your queries in the post below. So read on!

What are Instagram Story Ads?

Before we go into Instagram Story Ads, let’s understand what Instagram Stories are in the first place. 

Much like Snapchat stories, Instagram Stories are a photo or a video stream that self-destruct after 24 hours. When a user checks out the stories of the accounts they follow, these stories stream one after the other until the user swipes out or watches all the available stories.

As the name suggests, Instagram Story Ads are full-screen video or photo advertisements that appear between organic Instagram Stories. They come with all the features, such as filters, video effects, text, etc. that regular stories enjoy. Thus, they do an excellent job of camouflaging and soft-advertising without mudding the overall user experience.

Considering that more than 500 million Instagram users view Instagram Stories every day, Instagram Story Ads is a powerful way to propel your business’s growth. You can use it to get your brand seen, boost revenue, and attract traffic to your website. However, you get only 15 seconds to make your mark. Plus, these stories are skippable, which essentially means that your Instagram Story Ads must leave behind a strong impression right off the bat if you wish to achieve the desired results.

How Can Businesses Benefit from Instagram Story Ads?

Naturally, the primary advertising goal is to engage and delight your audiences. However, businesses may also choose to advertise through Instagram Stories to meet specific goals such as drive reach or get more app installs. Accordingly, the advertising strategy is also bound to undergo a few tweaks.


Here are some use cases that can inspire your next Instagram Story ad:

Increase Brand or Product Awareness

Instagram Story Ads is perfect for small and medium businesses that operate on limited advertising budgets. You can run targeted ads to appeal to a wider audience and establish a strong brand presence. For established businesses, Instagram Story Ads can be an excellent way to announce the launch of new products or diversification into a new market.

Announce Special Events

Are you gearing up for sale season? Or are you running a contest or a giveaway for your followers? Use Instagram Story Ads to spread the word! With a captivating CTA, a simple swipe up can redirect the user directly to the sale section or contact form for instant responses.

Initiate a Conversation

Do you want to drive user engagement? Use Instagram Story Ads to start personal or public conversations. It can also turn into an opportunity to gather some social proof through user-generated content. Throw in a challenge, get your audiences thinking, and invite them to participate in live chats or Q&As!

Share Exclusive Scoop

Businesses are working hard to gain a human angle. They want to come off as approachable, and what could be a better way than giving them the inside scoop on all the behind-the-scenes action? Share bloopers or trivia, or offer a backstage sneak peek to keep the interactions lighthearted and fun!

Retarget Customers

With the Facebook-Instagram link, you can use Instagram to retarget users who may have interacted with your ads on Facebook. Retargeting campaigns help in nurturing qualified leads and is bound to offer an impressive ROI!

Specifications for Creating Instagram Story Ads

As you can see from above, Instagram Story Ads can help businesses in several ways. You can choose a single image, a string of photos, a video, or a combination of everything in your ad. However, for its optimum performance, here are the design specifications that you need to bear in mind while designing Instagram Story Ads.


Aspect ratio: 4:5 and 9:16

Maximum file size: 30 MB

Supported image formats: .PNG and .JPG

Minimum resolution: 600 x 1067 pixels

Recommended resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Maximum duration: 5 seconds


Video aspect ratio: 4:5 and 9:16

Maximum file size: 4 GB

Supported video formats: .MP4 and .MOV

Supported CODECS: H.264 and VP8

Video score/audio: Optional

Closed caption: Not available

Video duration: 1 to 15 seconds

Best Practices to Nail Your Instagram Story Ads Strategy

As stated previously, you only get a couple of seconds to make your Instagram Story Ad a roaring success. Here are a few tips and tricks that will earn you a Swipe Up almost every time!

Target Your Audience

Targeting the right audience demographics is the key for registering greater success in every advertising campaign. But first, you need to settle on the ad objective, which could be:

  • Raising brand awareness
  • Increasing reach
  • Getting more video views
  • Converting viewers into customers
  • Getting audiences to install an app
  • Generating and nurturing leads
  • Sending more traffic to your website

Now, you need to filter in the target crowd based on demographic details such as location, age group, gender, interests, etc. Fortunately, identifying your target audience is easy once you link your Instagram account with Facebook’s ad manager. Facebook Pixel does a bulk of the work generate and locate the lookalike audience to find the Instagram accounts of your interest.

Make Every Second Count


Naturally, when you have about 5 to 15 seconds, you need to aim for the maximum impact within this small window. Use an array of high-quality visual elements to aim for wowing your audience within the first second!

Here’s an easy checklist to make each second count:

  • Drive the message home by making it clear right from the first few seconds.
  • Display your brand name and logo prominently within the story.
  • Add sound as it would be a much-needed break from otherwise soundless Instagram Stories.
  • Keep the ad product-centric.
  • Add a clear call-to-action (CTA) button to let the user know what to do.

If you are using videos, you cannot use titles, sales copy, etc. Hence, your video must be clear and self-explanatory by itself.

Create Native Ads

While it may help several brands to steal the spotlight, the best way to avoid swipe throughs is by blending right in. For this reason, your Instagram Story Ad should mimic organic stories. Create something that personifies your everyday Instagram user story to give it a native touch and feel. Hence, modify your advertisement to display it in the vertical orientation with text not exceeding the 190-character mark.

Leverage Human Psychology

Brands typically use two psychological tricks to connect with their audiences:

  1. Make them feel special
  2. Tap into their fear of missing out (FOMO)

Giving a sense of exclusivity will make the viewer feel that they are getting access to something exquisite reserved for only a select few. Alternatively, you could make a tempting offer against a limited period to exploit their impulsivity.

Thus, your Instagram Story Ads must be designed in a way that lets the user know about your product/service that is heavily in demand and is available in limited supply or for a limited period exclusively for them. This act will pique their interest and keep them hooked right from the start.

Get Creative

Advertising has always been about creativity and innovation. However, in recent times, businesses feel the need to dive deeper into their creative oceans to create a unique and memorable experience. 

Think out of the ordinary to create fresh, personalized, and engaging content that can subtly advertise your products in place of blatant marketing. Create stop-motion animation ads or POV (point-of-view) videos to post an advertisement that can pass off as entertainment!

Include Influencers

Upgrade your business’ Instagram Story Ads by incorporating well-known social media faces – influencers. Identify the popular names and faces in your area of operation and make them a part of your advertising campaigns. 


You could photograph them with your line of products or record a clip of the influencer using it. Including the photos or videos of social media influencers in your stories will boost click-through rates.


Instagram Story Ads are opening new and exciting ways for businesses to interact with their existing and potential customers. Its full-screen capabilities eliminate all distractions and give you the unique opportunity of enjoying uninterrupted attention from your prospects. So use it wisely to strike a chord with the viewer. 

While they are of critical importance for your venture’s success, remember to have fun with this feature. Every minute that you spend on exploring and experimenting with Instagram Stories translates into you having a better hold of how to use it to your business’s advantage. 

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