Did you know that Instagram story ad formats are one of the fastest-growing ad inventory placements on Facebook and Instagram?
So if you’re not maximizing these placements now, it’s time to get good at them.
Let’s get started.
After spending a lot of time, specifically in the Instagram story placements,
I’ve noticed what makes them work and what makes them fail.
Today I want to explain to you through some of the differences between story ads and feed ads.
Make sure you stick around till the end where I will explain about the three most common problems
I see with brands that try and maximize Instagram story ads.
So the first thing that’s important to know is where you even pick story ads as a placement.
We’re pretty much going to manage all of it through the ads manager.
So let’s have a look.
When you create a new ad set, it is going to automatically pick all of the placements that Facebook has.
This is a good thing and a bad thing. So let’s go into edit placements and take a look a little more closely at where these ad placements are.
So the first groups are feeds, which is probably what you’re used to using.
That’s what traditionally we’ve run on Facebook and Instagram.
If you scroll down, this is where you’re going to see that stories are.
So you can choose to run stories in all available story placements, which are Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.
For the purposes of this exercise, we’re just talking about Instagram today.
Bad things happen when you decide to bundle all these placements together when it comes to your creativity.
What Facebook is going to try and do is take the creative you made and just make it an Instagram story ad.
The results are usually not fabulous.
So let’s take a look at what happens when it does that.
When you go into your ad creative, it’s going to display a preview for you.
It defaults to the Facebook feed so everything looks nice, everything looks clean, it’s centered perfectly, it all looks wonderful.
But, here’s where you have to look at things a little more critically.
If you go over to the left, you’re going to see this margin area.
And there’s an area specifically for Instagram.
If you click on that, you’re going to see that you can preview this creative when it’s in these placements.
And this is where things get interesting.
If you click on an Instagram feed, you’re going to see it still looks nice.
It looks pretty much like what you see on Facebook except there’s no headline.
But, if you click on Instagram stories, it butchers your creativity.
So it doesn’t use the entire screen, it still squishes this down, and now you have all of this real estate at the bottom.
And what it’s doing is it’s taking that wonderful ad copy that you made and it’s shoving it down here into a kind of ugly background with a standard font and it cuts it off.
It’s definitely not optimal user experience.
And it’s certainly not an optimal representation of your brand.
So let’s talk about the differences between being a user that sees a story and being a user that’s just hanging out in the feed.
Stories are a full-screen experience.
So when a user’s looking at it, that’s all they see.
There’s very little distraction.
Something like a feed, they can scroll, look at the cat meme above it, there are some more distractions.
What that means for your story creative, is it needs to be pretty captivating.
Stories will automatically cycle through if you do nothing, versus a feed which doesn’t move, it just kind of sits there until you do something with it.
So stories are very fast-paced, and you need to keep that in mind when you’re making your creative.
So obviously there’s a really big difference between when you run something that’s meant to be an Instagram story and when you don’t.
Now that you’ve seen an example of what clearly did not look like it was meant to be an Instagram story.
So let’s have a look at an ad that we wrote specifically, so we created this specifically to be an ad and what we actually did was we used still images.
While the video is something you definitely want to focus on when it comes to Instagram stories,
I wanted to use this example to show it doesn’t have to be overly complicated.
But there are a couple of things that were done right with this ad that I want to point out.
So the first is, we are using all of the real estate.
Unlike the example we looked at before, where there’s just kind of blocks of ugly color and really awkward text, this was done knowing that we don’t have body text.
So we have to tell the story in the text that’s on the video. There are bright colors and we also made sure that we used native tools so that it looks natural.
When someone’s going through stories and they see kind of grainy, more amateur-looking stories and then all of a sudden there’s this beautifully gorgeous image that’s created with all these high-quality graphics, while it might look really good in theory, it sticks out like a sore thumb in the stories feed.
It’s very obviously an ad.
And so a lot of times users are just going to discount it and immediately lose interest.
So one of the things that we tried to make sure we did was to use things that would make it feel like it’s supposed to be a part of the stories.
So when we’re talking about Instagram story creative, there are a couple rules to keep in mind.
The first is, that pesky little 20 percent rule about text that they have in Facebook ads does not apply to Instagram stories.
So you can load up that text in there.
Keep in mind that it’s moving pretty quickly for people.
But you’re not going to want it to move so fast they can’t read it and you don’t want to use a font that’s so small that they can’t see it.
When you tell the story using text, do it minimally so that what is there makes the greatest amount of impact and people actually have the time to read it.
With story creative, it’s only 15 seconds long.
And a lot of us are preconditioned to the classic way of storytelling which is there’s a nice big intro wind-up, there’s the crescendo in the middle, and there’s the pay-off at the end.
Social creativity is actually the opposite.
What you want to do is show the hook first.
You have to show why or why they should care.
You’re going to make sure that you check out our other video on this because that’ll go into some big specifics about how you can do that effectively.
The more native you can make your video look to Instagram stories, the better off it’s going to perform even if they aren’t necessarily the graphics and things that you would choose as a brand.
So as promised, now that we know how and when
Instagram story ads work,
let’s talk about when they don’t.
The first is, not being conscious of the medium you’re in.
Again, stories are very different than ads.
They move quickly and they have to look like they belong there.
They can’t look like a commercial that just sticks out.
The second is that because these things are very different, their ad creative is very different.
It’s a full-screen experience in stories so lot of times when they’re struggling, it’s because they’re not using that full-screen.
It’s doing that weird thing where it mashes-up this little itty bitty creative with really awkward text that gets cut-off.
Those are the things you want to avoid.
Make your creative for the placement that you’re using.
And third, Facebook doesn’t necessarily always do the best job at allocating your spending and your money.
They will tell you that they do but stories are a little tricky for them because it’s not the largest part of their inventory.
There’s really a case to be made to break-out stories into its own ad set where it’s not bundled.
And this really does two things.
It gives you maximum control over how your budgets allocated.
So if it’s doing well, you can just shove all that money into that placement and maximize it.
And then if it’s not doing well, if might help you fine-tune it a little bit more.
It gives you a little bit more flexibility than just auto-applying everything for all placements to the stories’ ad if you see that it behaves differently.
So that’s another opportunity that we really frequently see brands not take advantage of but you should definitely look into it.
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