Here’s What It Takes to Succeed At Instagram Story Ads

Do you know what Instagram Stories are?

That’s a question every PPC marketer should be able to answer with a confident “yes”.

But do you know the best strategies for marketing through Instagram Story ads?

One of the reasons this is one of the best social media marketing tools is that Instagram Stories exploded in popularity since it was first introduced in August, 2016.

By the end of 2017, it had over 300 million daily active users, surpassing the 173 million DAUs of its main competitor, Snapchat.

Instagram is also considered the number one platform for engagement.

A recent study of social media influencers with a large following of daily engaged users found that 60% of them identified Instagram as the top platform for engagement.

Of the 300 million Instagram Stories accounts, a third of the most viewed stories come from businesses.

An additional one in five stories earns a direct message from viewers.

The good news is that setting up your Instagram Story advertising strategy is incredibly simple.

This is thanks to the fact that it’s integrated directly into Facebook’s Business Manager.

Instagram Story ads

Despite all of these advantages for advertising on Instagram Stories, it’s still a platform under-utilized by many Facebook marketers.

In this article, we’re consulting with Instagram Story ad expert and Taktical Paid Media Account Manager, Haley Preininger, for her Instagram marketing tips.

To do this, we’re taking a look at specific examples of great Instagram Story ads.

We’re looking at why their Instagram marketing strategy works for their target audience given the objectives they’ve set out.

With these tips in mind, you can approach Instagram Story ads with the knowledge of what works best on this platform.

Then you can leverage the app for all the benefits it offers for engagement, loyalty, and sales. 

How to Tackle Instagram Marketing Head-On With Story Ads

As mentioned before, many PPC marketers shy away from Instagram Story ads.

One reason for this is that the ad creative specs require different dimensions (1080×1920) than the standard needed for single image ads (1200×628) and carousel ads (600×600).

Also, there is less creative freedom since there’s no ability to add any headlines or text within Business Manager, unlike with other ad placements.

In fact, your creative strategy must be entirely adjusted for advertising on Instagram.

It all comes down to this: With Instagram Story ads, you only have a second to get your point across before someone clicks through to the next story.

These users are savvy, and Instagram ads are quickly identified as promotional content then swiped through.

This is partially due to the fact that Instagram Stories are the highest form of organic, real-time content.

As a result, this area within the app is not nearly as flooded with ads as a newsfeed.

For Instagram advertisers, this is a disadvantage & advantage.

  • Disadvantage: People are more likely to recognize your content is an Instagram ad and quickly tap through.
  • Advantage: You have a consumer’s undivided attention, since the advertisement takes up the entire screen

Instagram Story ads - Instagram live

Take into consideration this Instagram advertising tip from the pros: Evaluate your target demographic and decide which creative format will be the most successful to capture their attention.

There are multiple types of Instagram ad objectives that will dictate what kind of creative will be most successful:

  • brand awareness
  • product engagement
  • sale promotions

Let’s take a look at how to succeed with each.

Build Brand Awareness Through Instagram Ads By Telling a Story

If your product or service has an interesting story to be told, using a video as an Instagram Story ad for brand awareness is an excellent strategy.

In this case, a photo will not suffice because you are trying to tell an entire story.

This type of brand awareness works better on the Instagram Story platform than any other social media.

The reasons for this is that millions of people go to the app each day to literally “watch a story”.

And with over half of Instagram users following a brand, it’s pretty likely the story they’ll be watching is related to a business.

However, for an Instagram advertising strategy to be successful in achieving brand awareness, you need to start at the basics: with an engaging video.

This comes in the form of clear and aesthetically pleasing visuals with engaging subtitles, like the example above.

Achieve Greater Product Engagement By Targeting the Right Audience

Taktical client, Peepers, offers quality reading glasses at affordable prices.

They cater to an older, female demographic (women 45+).

Sure, their target demographic is older and not traditionally considered to be active on Instagram.

However, this placement is still worth testing since the competition is lower.

With the target demographic in mind, it is important to approach the creative strategy for Instagram marketing differently to achieve greater product engagement.

For Peepers Eyewear, Haley kept this in mind to produce compelling Instagram Story ads that she knew would resonate with the audience.

As she puts it, “The creative strategy was to clearly showcase the unique type of glasses (Focus eyewear, which is good for looking at screens all day), while outlining a short value prop at the top of the Instagram ad.”

Instagram Stories advertising

In the case of Peepers, the older demographic does not need the Instagram Story ad content to be as organic.

This is not the younger, more suspicious audience that’s viewing it.

Instead, her Instagram marketing strategy was structured around the fact that the creative can be very simple and to the point.

There’s no desire to hide that this is an ad for reading glasses.

Here’s the proof this strategy works, based on how the Peepers Instagram Story ad performed:

  • $0.20 CPC
  • $0.25 per website content view
  • 2.06% CTR
  • $1,945.41 in sales
  • 5.22 ROAS (1-day click attribution window)

The lesson here is that you can’t make assumptions about performance when advertising on Instagram Stories.

Instead, you must always test first.

This is true regardless of your target audience and demographic.

Promote More Sales By Tapping Into Audience Preferences on Instagram

Chinese Laundry is another successful company (and Taktical client) that has enjoyed the benefit of more sales from  Instagram Story ads.

The target demographic of Chinese Laundry is primarily younger.

Therefore, the content cannot be as simple as Peepers since the younger demographic is more resistant to advertisements.

Instead, it needs to look as organic as possible.

Boomerangs are the best option for this objective.

Boomerangs are a type of video format exclusive to Instagram.

They’re ingenious to use when advertising on Instagram because the style helps disguise the fact that the ad does not belong in a user’s feed. 

As we’ve mentioned, younger Instagram users are wary of ads in their feeds. 

As a result, they’re more likely to scroll right past them without viewing if they are too obviously promotional.

This Chinese Laundry Instagram Story ad successfully utilizes the boomerang format to hide that it’s sponsored content.

Just how successful was this Instagram marketing strategy at boosting sales?

Let’s break it down by the numbers:

  • $0.19 per click
  • 2.02% CTR
  • $0.14 per content view
  • $0.99 per add to cart
  • 64 purchases
  • $6,415.88 in sales
  • 5.57 ROAS

Pretty impressive performance on just one platform.

Another Instagram advertising tip to keep in mind: Branded text overlay should not be used in boomerang ads.

This would flag it as an advertisement and therefore negate the effect of using this format.

Instead, you should use the text overlay provided by Instagram when you post a boomerang.

You can do this by uploading the boomerang into your Instagram account, adding the text, and then re-downloading the ad.

To make the text aesthetically pleasing (which is a big factor for the younger demographic), you can customize the highlight behind the text, like in this Chinese Laundry Instagram Story ad.

This also makes your text stand out.

Stop Fearing the Instagram Story Ad

Considering the fact that many PPC marketers still haven’t leveraged the benefits of advertising on Instagram Stories, you have an opportunity to get ahead of the pack.

Using the insights and examples above, you can develop Instagram marketing strategies that appeal to your target audience, no matter who they are.

As we’ve made clear, Instagram Stories are a platform that can appeal to any range of demographics and user types.

The key is to tap into what type of content and creative resonates best with your audience.

Then, you need to test and optimize until you can create an Instagram Story ad that fulfills your objective.

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