The Ultimate Guide To Instagram Story Ads In 2023

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Instagram Story advertising has exploded in popularity over the last few years. With over 1 billion daily active users on Instagram Stories, it has become too big for brands to ignore.

But how can you make sure your Instagram Story ads stand out and deliver results in 2023?

In this ultimate guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know, from what Instagram Story ads are to step-by-step instructions for creating effective ads that convert.

The Rising Importance of Instagram Stories

Stories have become a central part of the Instagram experience. Over 500 million Instagrammers use Stories every single day.

And brands are taking notice.

66% of US advertisers plan to increase their Instagram Story ad budgets in 2023 according to Socialinsider.

As more organic content shifts to Stories, adopting compelling video ad formats in-stream offers immense potential for awareness and conversions.

We‘ve seen stunning success from early Snapchat and Instagram Stories adopters. For example, Benefit Cosmetics attributed an 2.7x increase in reach directly to launching Instagram Story campaigns.

With the average user spending 30+ minutes per day in Stories, it‘s prime real estate for advertisers. But standing out takes strategy and understanding what makes Stories work.

What Are Instagram Story Ads?

Instagram Story ads appear between users‘ organic Stories feeds. They are vertical, full-screen ads clearly labeled "Sponsored" to distinguish them from regular posts.

Some key features that set Instagram Story ads apart include:

  • Full Screen Format: They utilize the entire phone screen to capture attention. Optimal dimensions are 1080 x 1920 pixels.
  • Video or Images: Story ads can be single photos, videos up to 15 seconds or multi-image carousels.
  • Call-to-Action Button: They have a clickable CTA button to drive clicks to your site or app.
  • Non-Follower Reach: You can target Instagram users who don‘t already follow your brand.

This premium placement makes Instagram Story ads useful for driving:

  • Brand awareness rapidly through impressions
  • Video views from scroll-stopping motion
  • Clicks and conversions via CTAs

Now let‘s look at why you should be using Instagram Story ads.

Why Instagram Stories Need To Be Part Of Your Strategy

Here are some of the key objectives and benefits of investing in Instagram Story ads:

Stories enable brands to be part of daily sharing rituals. Rather than obstructive ads, they can offer value and entertainment organically interwoven into the reel.

Even at short 5-15 durations, that repeated visibility pays dividends. 90%+ completion rates help multiply impressions rapidly.

Personalized Messaging at Scale

The casual, in-the-moment nature of Stories allows brands to connect more authentically. Storytelling feels more genuine coming from ‘real people‘ rather than corporate accounts.

In a survey by Instagram, 68% of users agreed Stories let brands seem more "relatable and authentic". Tapping into that perception builds meaningful relationships.

Fuel More Meaningful Connections

Stories thrive on reactions and responses. The seamlessly integrated polling stickers, questions, quizzes all turn content into two-way conversations.

These create perfect springboards for driving engaged communities rather than one-off eyeballs. Your most passionate brand advocates live and breathe on Stories. Give them a reason to get involved and shape ideas.

Expand Beyond Feed Algorithms

While getting onto visitors feeds takes strategic hashtagging or geotagging, Stories largely sidesteps that jostling. Through ads or organic content, you can surface brand updates day in day out.

That means more touchpoints to nurture newcomers into loyal brand advocates. Consistent visibility pays off over time by compounding familiarity.

Drive Conversions At Critical Moments

Clickable elements within Stories lower the barrier right to conversion goals. While someone might just ‘Like‘ a feed post, that CTA button prompts visitors to shop, sign up or take action then and there.

In fact, Stories generate a 6x higher CTR than feed posts according to Instagram‘s internal data. Short videos lend themselves perfectly to limited-time promotions or special offers.

In summary, incorporating Instagram‘s most used feature into marketing expands reach and engagement – no matter your positioning or vertical. Let‘s explore exactly how to bring that strategy to life.

Types of Instagram Story Ad Formats

You have a few options when it comes to the type of creative asset for your Instagram Story ads. Each format has distinct purposes. Let‘s compare them:

1. Image Ads

Single image ads that run for up to 5 seconds work well for:


  • Promoting products, events or offers using visual hooks
  • Drawing focus to concise text-heavy messages
  • Lower production barrier vs. video


  • Harder to stand out from video-first Stories ecosystem
  • Very short 5 second canvas to convey messages

2. Video Ads

Bring your product or service to life in up to 15 seconds of video. This ad format helps with:


  • Delivering impactful first impressions rapidly
  • Adding motion to capture attention as users scroll
  • Using sound for engagement and recall


  • More expensive media production costs
  • Limited 15 seconds makes conveying complex messages difficult

Tell a deeper story across up to 10 images or 3 videos in one ad experience. Benefits include:


  • Extended canvas for explanatory narratives
  • Combining products, infographics, captions and videos
  • Allowing self-paced viewing reducing cognitive load


  • Viewer attrition as they swipe through frames
  • Supplying compelling assets for every slide

Now let‘s explore how to actually create and implement these Instagram Story ad formats.

How To Create Instagram Story Ads

You have two options to set up Instagram Story ads – directly through Facebook Ad Manager or by working with influencers on a platform like Ainfluencer.

Option 1: Self-Serve Ad Creation via Facebook

Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, their backend infrastructure handles all Instagram Story ad building, optimization and analytics.

Here is an overview of the 7 step process:

Facebook Ads Manager Campaign Creation Workflow

Step 1: Access Facebook Ad Manager

You need a Facebook Business page connected to an Instagram business profile. Within Ads Manager, click "+ Create" to make a new campaign.

Pro Tip: Setup Facebook Pixel tracking on your website first so you can track conversions from ads.

Step 2: Set Campaign Objective & Audiences

Determine what goal you want your Instagram Story ad to achieve. Common objectives include:

  • Traffic
  • Conversions
  • Video views
  • Reach
  • App installs

Then use Facebook‘s detailed targeting tools to zone in on your ideal customers. You can target lookalike audiences modeled off pixel data or loyal email subscriber segments.

Step 3. Dial In Ad Placements

Choose "Automatic Placements" and Facebook will optimize delivery across placements like feed and Stories.

But you can also select "Edit Placements" to manually only target Instagram Stories for more focused testing.

Step 4. Set Budgets & Launch Timelines

Define your daily budget and total campaign duration in the next step. Schedule start and end dates or opt to run ads continuously.

Pro Tip: Consider running ads for short 3-5 day bursts to align with promotions vs. ongoing always-on campaigns.

Step 5. Create Compelling Ad Creative

This is where the rubber meets the road. Upload your creative photo, video or carousel assets. Ensure a clear brand consistent look and feel.

Keep captions succinct – like social posts. End each visual with a clear, direct CTA like "Shop Now" to prompt actions.

Step 6. Monitor Performance & Iterate

Review reporting on an ongoing basis to understand delivery pacing, engagement rates and conversions. Don‘t just set and forget!

Based on results, tweak targeting parameters or try variations on your ad formats and captions. Continually A/B test into what optimizes best.

Step 7. Scale & Diversify Campaigns

If you have winning formats dialed in, slowly increase budgets to expand reach. Or launch entirely new campaigns tailored to other objectives like app installs, video views etc.

While self-serve ads provide meticulous control, influencing rising stars on the platform offers another route to explore.

Option 2: Activate a Network of Influencers

Beyond advertising directly through Instagram‘s self-serve tools, brands can sponsor influencer creators to produce branded video and Stories.

These partnerships pay popular Instagram personalities to showcase products or services through their own accounts.

Sponsored influencer Instagram Stories appear in native Stories feeds, delivering a personalized endorsement direct from taste makers their audience already knows and trusts.

Platforms like Ainfluencer streamline discovery and entire collaboration process – from identifying relevant influencers to facilitating successful sponsored campaigns at scale.

Unique Advantages

Compared to self-serve ads, influencer collaborations unlock:

๐Ÿ“ˆ Hyper-Targeted Audiences: Work with niche influencers laser-focused on your exact customer demographic

๐Ÿ” Pre-Built Trust & Affinity: Influencer audiences emotionally invest because they relate with the creator‘s personality and areas of passion

๐Ÿค Mutually Beneficial Relationships: Compelling brands and sponsorships become part of an influencer‘s success story

๐ŸŽฅ Authentic & Interactive Content: Creators craft sponsored posts that blend with their organic content style – driving higher perceived value

For medium or large businesses, developing an ongoing influencer partnership program running in parallel to owned ad campaigns provides immense upside – extending reach and conversions.

Here is an overview of getting started:

Step 1: Discover Relevant Influencers

Filter by niche, demographic optics and engagement metrics like likes or comments per post. Assess historical content for brand affinity.

Step 2: Recruit Influencers

Reach out directly via platforms like Ainfluencer to gauge initial interest working with your brand. Share partnership terms upfront building trust.

Step 3: Brief Campaign Goals

Provide influencers clear guidance on your brand mission, style guidelines, mandatory assets/CTAs and performance expectations.

But also give them creative liberty customizing sponsored posts to match their personal tone. Finding that balance drives authenticity with purpose.

Step 4: Track Performance

Look beyond vanity metrics like views or likes alone. Assess actual traffic, conversions and sales driven by creators. Tie payouts to performance for mutual accountability.

Step 5: Maintain Relationships

Proactively check in with creators to monitor workload and sentiment. Offer added support whether providing more assets or optimizing guidelines. Happy influencers become partners invested in your brand vs. one-off contractors.

Sustaining multiple symbiotic influencer partnerships keeps content innovative and conversations thriving across devoted communities.

Now that we‘ve covered the what, why and how – let‘s switch gears to crafting visually striking Instagram Story ads.

Best Practices For High-Converting Instagram Story Ads

There is no one universally effective Instagram Stories ad template guaranteed to work for every business. But these proven tips set a strong strategic foundation:

Hook Attention Rapidly

Every element should work together to immediately capture notice against fleeting scrolls. Bold colors, contrasting graphics, branded sounds or striking cinematography – claim space instantly within those crucial first 3 seconds after which drop-off shoots up.

Spotlight Your Brand Style

Consistent branding builds subconscious familiarity over campaigns. Work in core visual identity like logos, fonts, color schemes or audio cues on transitions to remind viewers who the sponsor is without overtly saying it.

Reinforce With Text

Well-placed text can hammer home CTA directions or punchy taglines. But avoid paragraph blocks that won‘t retain reading focus. Use key captions to direct eyes to focal points.

Example of a clean, text reinforced Instagram Story ad with strong CTA

Make CTAs Clear Callouts

Every Instagram Story ad should lead eyes directly to clicking or swiping up. Capitalize CTA commands, sharp contrasting colors and prominent placements leave zero ambiguity about intended actions.

Align To Your Audience Interests

Rather than generic corporate hype copy, cater messaging to the motivations of your target viewers. What frustrates or excites them? Speak to those needs visually and contextually. Education trumps empty sales pitches.

Test Iteratively

With so many variable creative elements, the key is persistanly testing and optimizing. Start by formulating hypotheses around designs, captions or calls to action you think will perform best, launch A/B experiments then double down on what delivers results.

Optimizing Instagram Story Ad Spend

Determining the right Instagram Story ad budget depends on broader campaign objectives, industry benchmarks and meticulous testing.

On average, Instagram Story ads cost:

  • CPM: $6.70 per 1,000 impressions
  • CPC: $0.20 to $2 per click
  • Overall: $100 to $500+ per day depending on audiences

I recommend starting on the lower end around $25 per day initially, monitoring performance then increasing spend if you achieve positive ROI.

Since ad auctions run in real-time, also consider setting specific schedules – like weekdays during lunch breaks when you know your audiences are most actively scrolling. Dayparting budgets this way bolsters exposure when timing matters most.

But most importantly – make sure Facebook Pixel tracking is implemented first so you accurately attribute conversions generated by Instagram Story ads. If you‘re optimizing blindly, profitability suffers and budgets bloat focusing on vanity metrics like impressions alone.

Key Takeaways

Hopefully this extensive guide has provided a 360 degree view into unlocking Instagram Stories‘ immense potential.

Here are some key conclusions to guide your brand‘s video and advertising results in 2023:

๐Ÿ”ผ Prioritize Attention-Grabbing Story Ad Formats

  • Short video ads deliver the highest noticeability and conversions

๐Ÿ“ฑ Complement Feed Content Pillars

  • Maintain visual continuity from Instagram grid posts

๐ŸŽฏ Target Lookalike Audiences

  • Use pixel data to find your ideal customers

๐Ÿ’ฐ Track ROI Diligently Before Scaling Spend

  • Impressions must drive measurable business outcomes

๐Ÿค Explore Influencer Partnerships

  • Leverage existing creator audiences for authentic reach

Stay tuned for more Instagram marketing tips and examples right here!

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