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November 4, 2020 - By Hawke Media

Get Creative, Gain an Audience through Instagram Stories Ads

Since its release in 2016, Instagram Stories has attracted hundreds of millions of users – redefining how they share and consume content. With this, businesses have viewed Stories as an opportunity to offer a more organic form of advertising. And it seems like it’s working out pretty well. As of January 2019, there was a 250% increase in Instagram Stories users from 2017 – around 500 million on a daily basis.

Instagram then launched full-screen ads for its Stories a year after it was released to the public. And with its format wedged between Stories in a seamless transition, the ads seemed more organic, and thus, immersive to many of the Instagram Stories users.

The challenge for businesses now is to create Instagram Stories Ads that are eye-catching and attractive to Instagram Stories’ hundreds of millions of daily users. And the best way to do this is by getting creative.


1. Sensory Appeal

The first frame is vital. Captivating the users in the first 2-3 seconds is necessary to pique their curiosity. The goal is for users to finish your ad within the 15-second time frame and stop them from skipping onto the next frame. Visual appeal is a major factor here whether it’s a photo or video. Everything in the composition needs to be attention-grabbing. Experiment with colors, space, font, imagery and even sound. Catchy music is also an important factor in making users stop and go through the entire Instagram Stories ad.

Take a look at this ad of Swiggy, India’s largest food order and delivery platform. Using close up shots of appetizing food imagery, bright colors, and bold fonts, the app also offered a 33% off incentive and an “Install Now” call to action. After three months of running the ad, Swiggy’s app installs increased by 17%, lowered the cost per install by 30%, and increased website traffic by 30%.

Source: Swiggy India’s mouth-watering Instagram Stories Ad


2. Direct Message

Make sure the message you want to deliver right from the very start is simple, concise, and clear. Users are prospective customers so it’s important to tell them what you are selling. Don’t hesitate to showcase your product as the main star. Deliver your message through font type using Instasize’s stylized text for a greater impact on your audience.

Beats by Dre is a great example. Their product-centric ads on Instagram Stories get straight to the point, paired with catchy visuals and audio, their campaign was a huge success. The ad was able to achieve an 11x increase in website traffic, a 16x increase in unique user engagement, a 29% increase in purchase lift, and a 15% higher click-through rate.


Source: One of many Beats by Dre’s product-centric Instagram Stories Ads


3. Conversation Starters

While Instagram Stories Ads are a quick-hit way to showcase products, it also acts as a venue to spark conversation. Get your audience talking through a call to action. One way is to engage users to send user-generated content to the brand.

This can be done by introducing hashtags or asking users to tag the brand’s Instagram account. The New Yorker constantly involves its followers through interactive contests like their Caption Contest which uses their hashtag and tagging their brand’s Instagram account.

Source: New Yorker magazine’s interactive Caption Contest


Or open with a question. Instagram Stories’ polling sticker feature is a great way to get users to interact with the brand. Dunkin’ Donuts used this approach and found that 20% of people who watched the ad voted in the poll while achieving a 20% lower cost per video view for its ads featuring the polling sticker compared to ads without it.

Source: Dunkin’ Donuts’ polling sticker feature for their donut fries


4. Brand Visibility

When showing off your product, having the brand name front and center is also an effective strategy to drive home a point. Brand recognition is key in such a short span of time but it also needs to be done in a creative way. Showcase company culture or behind the scenes as a way to instigate user interest.

M.Gemi, an Italian shoe company makes the most of its 15 seconds to offer a sneak peek of how it adheres to the traditional manufacturing method in creating its shoes.

Source: M.Gemi’s sneak peek into their traditional shoemaking method


5. Macro vs Micro-Influencers

It’s a no-brainer. Using influencers to fuel your brand or product’s campaign is one of the most effective ways to catch attention – especially on Instagram Stories Ads. Using a celebrity influencer works well with natural content that’s already ripe on Instagram Stories. Placing an ad featuring an influencer in the mix of it all may even seem natural.

There are types of influencers, however. Macro-influencers like big-time celebrities may have a further reach but will definitely cost a lot more to bring on board. One strategy that is becoming effective is involving the influencer or celebrity in the creative collaborative process. Converse took Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown to create her own rubber shoe line for the brand and reached out to an already massive fan base through her own Instagram Stories.

Source: Millie Bobby Brown for Converse


Recently, many brands are turning to micro-influencers (10,000 to 50,000 followers) for endorsement. While it may not reach the majority of users, it does focus and target a niche audience. Top Shop has partnered with a number of micro-influencers, offering them credit for spending in return for features of their products. This, in turn, allows micro-influencers to have full creativity behind their Instagram posts and stories when featuring the product.

Source: Top Shop turned to micro-influencer @oliviarosesmithx who has 54K followers


The key to winning over an audience with Instagram Stories Ads is seamlessness and of course, creativity. Eye-catching, attention-grabbing are only a few words to describe what else is needed. As long as the content is natural, then users won’t be too keen on swiping to the next panel.