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Instagram stories ads

In this guide, you will get real knowledge about why Instagram Stories are a great tool for driving results and actual tips on how to start creating your first Story Ad.

Yes, this is a new format but with a huge user base that has driven great marketing results. Most of the insights in this article are from my personal experience and the real case usage of the stories by users of our platform for Instagram stories.

Why Instagram Story Ads

The answer to this question is pretty simple. According to the internal Instagram data published in July 2017, Instagram Stories are used by more than 400 million people and 1/3 of the most viewed stories are from businesses.

And one very interesting fact was shared on this year’s Global Facebook Partner Summit,

Sharing through stories is expected to surpass sharing on feed in 2019

instagram stories stats
I took this photo on the GPS event in New York, October 2018

But, it is not just the numbers that will convince you to start with Story Ads.

It is the uniqueness of the story format as well.

What Are Instagram Story Ads

what are Instagram story ads

It is an immersive format that brings businesses’ stories to life. The Instagram story ads appear in between the organic stories posted by users on Instagram. Stories Ads are full screen, vertical and will display for 15 seconds each time they’re served.

These ads are unique, due to the possibility to add links and make them clickable so advertisers can especially drive results for the bottom end of the marketing funnel. These ads are not limited in time duration, like the organic Instagram Stories that only last for 24 hours.

Need a tool for Story Ads?

Instagram Story Ads platform that can boost your Isntagram stories in one click.

Here are more details about the Story Ads platform and the official Story Ads design specifications:

Aspect Ratio: all Instagram feed photo and video dimensions are accepted (from 1:91 to 4:5)

Minimum: 600 x 1067 px
Recommended: 1080 x 1920 px

Video length:
No minimum
Maximum: 15 seconds

Photo content:
Plays for 5 seconds by default

File type:
Video: .mp4 or .mov
Photo: .jpg or .png

Max file size:
Video: 4GB
Photo: 30 MB

Supported codecs:
Video: H.264, VP8
Audio: AAC, Vorbisx

Available objectives: Reach, Brand Awareness, Lead Generation, Video Views, Traffic, Conversions, and App Installs objective

Call-to-Action options: Apply Now, Book Now, Call Now, Contact Us, Download, Get Directions, Learn More, Send Message, Request Time, Save, See Menu, Shop Now, Sign Up, Watch More

Instagram Story Ads Best Practices

best ads in instagram stories

I had the chance to attend a Facebook Blueprint course on the latest Facebook Global Partner summit, and here are the major insights that are recommended and some best practices that every marketer can utilize in order to create highly effective Instagram Story Ads.

1. Use speed as a creative tool

It is a fact that people move on mobile very quickly and your creative needs to quickly explain and show the benefit to the person viewing the story ad. this means, that if you use a video you can creatively show the main message in the first seconds.

2. Multiple scenes work better

According to the Facebook Blueprint insights,

The top-performing stories ads had shorter scenes—on average, 2.8 seconds per scene compared to 4.1 seconds for lower performing ads.

This means that you can get a very effective ad by just breaking down the video into multiple short scenes that can easily capture the attention when showcasing a more complex story.

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3. Sound adds relevance

According to the Facebook Blueprint insights,

60% of video Stories are viewed with sound on.

So, the conclusion is that you should use sound in your Story Ads, and use it to emphasize the experience of the entire ad following the motion of the entire story.

There are interesting examples of story creatives that use stickers or text overlays to explicitly show that there is a sound in the story and viers need to turn on their phone speaker.

4. Call to action Bookends

The last screen or card is a great opportunity to lift your brand recall. The best recommendation is an early exposure of the brand in the ad (as mentioned above in the first seconds) but also a reinforcement of the brand in the last screen, where you can utilize it to place a call to action for the audience that is most engaged and interested, having the chance to move them to the lower funnel of your campaign – achieving conversion-focused goals.

Aside from the 15-second cap for videos, and 5 seconds for still images, there are no real “rules” or formulas for success on stories ads. Experimentation and iterating based on learnings is a great way to figure out what works for your brand and audience.

How to Create Stories Ad

To create Stories ads, you can use your Facebook Ads manager or use a third-party tool that provides Facebook and Instagram advertising.

First, I will show you how to create your stories ads with the Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor.

Like most ads on Instagram, the process is very similar and you will only need to specify the ad placement to Stories.

Please note that using the Facebook Ads Manager has some limitations in terms of choosing an already created story. This means, that you can upload new ad creative, or use the current Instagram story, but you do not have an archive of the previous stories that you might re-use as an ad.

Having that said, let’s create an Instagram Story Ad with the Facebook Ads Manager.

  1. Go to your Ads Manager account
  2. Choose the objective
    choose facebook ad objective
  3. In Placements, make sure that Stories is checked
    story placement
  4. In Identity, choose your business’s Instagram username in the drop-down menu.
  5. Choose the format you want—preferably image or video. You can upload a new image or video, or choose one that you already uploaded. To select the active Instagram Story, click on the Instagram Tab.
    image for story ad
  6. Click Review and Confirm to finish your campaign.

If you are uploading your own ad image, take into an account the recommended image specs:

  • Recommended image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1.91:1
  • To maximize ad delivery, use an image that contains little or no overlaid text

As I mentioned above the Facebook Ads manager is very good if you want to create a new ad from a new image/video creative.

But if you want to re-use the stories that you’ve already published and just boost them into an ad, then the Facebook ads manager currently will not provide you with this functionality.

Most of the Facebook and Instagram Ad tools are aimed at experienced digital marketers, and if you are a content creator who is perfectly comfortable to use the actual Instagram native story tools than you will need a tool that will simply boost the already created stories and help you increase the reach of your awesome content.

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The good news is, that boosting Instagram stories is possible if you try EmbedStories the platform for Instagram Stories.

Continue reading below to find out in more details on how you can use this tool to boost Instagram stories.

How to Boost Instagram Story Ad

EmbedStories is a platform that generates Instagram stories from multiple Instagram accounts, and help you distribute and publish these stories on any website. The best feature of the platform is the ability to download Instagram stories in one single web-based software that can help analyze and reuse the stories for ads or display them on your website.

In addition, the platform provides you with the option to create Story Ads.

With EmbedStories you will have all stories in one place, and if you want to create an ad, you will literally need to click on a button.

To boost your Instagram stories, you will only need to click a few buttons.

First, log in to your EmbedStories account:

  1. Go to Profiles to add your Facebook advertising account
  2. Click Add Account and choose Facebook advertising account
    add advertising account
  3. Once the system connects with your Ad account, go to All Stories, where are all your stories from the day you’ve created the EmbedStories account
  4. Click Boost next to the story you want to promote
    boost instagram story
  5. In the popup add destination link, budget and click Create Ad
    boost Instagram story

That’s it.

Your ad will be created in your Facebook Ads Manager and you will have all the flexibility to manage, edit, or just change the status of the ad.

Insights for ads in Instagram Stories

stories ads business results

Once you’ve published your ads, analytics and insights are one of the key stages of the process that you will need to monitor every day in order to make sure that you are on the right track on achieving your goals.

Due to the specificity of the format, you will need to make sure to understand the major KPIs related to the performance of the Instagram Story Ads.

And here are the official definitions:

  • Impressions – Total number of times your story was seen
  • Reach – Number of unique accounts who saw your story
  • Replies – Number of times people send messages through the Send Message option on your story
  • Exits – The number of times someone swiped from one of your stories to someone else’s story or returned to their Feed

To check the insights of your Instagram story ad, just open to your Facebook Ads Manager and click the chart icon next to the story ad.

instagram story ads insights

Make sure to view the KPI’s that are mentioned above, with a focus on the reach for brand awareness campaigns and clicks for conversion objective campaigns.


If you look at the objectives that you can achieve with the Instagram Story Ads – Reach, Brand Awareness, Traffic, App Installs, Lead Generation, Video Views, Conversions you will notice that this format is not just driving results for building a brand awareness but also is suitable for the lower end of your sales funnel that leads to achieving great conversion results.

If you have any experience with Story Ads, we would love to hear from you. So, feel free to chat with us.

Instagram Stories Platform

Generate, analyze and embed Instagram stories on any website.

Avatar for Nikola Bojkov
Nikola Bojkov

CEO of EmbedSocial | Facebook ads craftsmen | Previous founder of a Facebook Partner Company | Lena's Dad.