8 Tips for Instagram Stories Ads
Instagram has recently confirmed reports that they are testing back-to-back ads in Stories on a small percentage of their users, suggesting that they are focusing on creating more advertising space on the platform.
This could mean a number of things for businesses using Instagram in their social media marketing strategy. If you are like most brands, you are using Instagram to:
• Visually promote your products
• Engage with your fans
• Increase brand awareness
Instagram has been a much kinder network to marketers than Facebook, placing less need on paid-for posts to reach their audiences. However, it looks as though this could be about to change.
If we look back at Facebook’s shift towards being more ad-focused, we see that it was precluded by a reduction in organic reach for brands. Facebook announced that they wanted to improve user experience by reducing the amount of marketing content intruding on people’s news feeds, and businesses found themselves struggling to access customers with their content without buying ad campaigns. (This organic reach continues to decline.)
Similarly, Instagram’s revelation that it is preparing more ad inventory in Stories comes at a time when organic reach on the network has begun to get trickier for businesses. A study of brand Instagram accounts found that the engagement rates for companies on the platform have been steadily decreasing over the last few months.
It seems that we can see Instagram following in Facebook’s footsteps and paving the way for brands to rely more on paid advertising to get their content noticed. If Stories ads are their latest focus, it may be time to listen up.
Instagram Stories are a particularly unique and effective advertising space in that they fill the whole screen of users’ phones – the moment your ad appears you have 100% of their attention, even if it’s only for a split second before they flick away. The key to maintaining that attention and running successful ad campaigns on Stories is in finding creative ways of talking to people. The more your Stories ads look like native content and entertain your audience, the better they will perform (and the less likely you are to come across as an intrusive brand commercial).
Whether your business uses ongoing campaigns to reach new audiences or only occasionally uses paid posts to boost a specific target, understanding how to get the most out of promoted content on Stories could be key to your success with social media marketing.
Here are 8 tips to keep in mind when creating your ad on Instagram Stories.
1. MAKE USE OF VIDEO
Stories allow you to use images or videos for ads. While both can be effective, video is becoming increasingly popular across social media networks. They help you to convey even more of your brand personality and provide more compelling content for users – a survey of over 9 million Instagram posts found that video received 21% more interaction than images. While video content requires more time and effort to create, it’s going to be worth your while if it means more people engaging with your ad and less people swiping away.
2. SHOW BEHIND THE SCENES
People love feeling like they are getting exclusive content from a brand – it makes them feel special and trusted, and makes your brand seem authentic and trustworthy. Behind-the-scenes shots are perfect for providing value with your ad and helping to build a connection with your customers. Whether you are showing a product in the making or a scene from the office, try putting these sneak peeks of the reality behind your brand into some of your ad content to pique their interest.
3. MAKE THE FIRST FEW SECONDS COUNT
The first few seconds of your ad are crucial for capturing the attention of your audience and keeping them engaged. One study found that on average brands are losing around 20% of their viewers by the second frame of their Story. Make your ads visually appealing right from the beginning and try to start them with a bang, or something that will arouse their curiosity and make them want to keep watching. Users are much less likely to skip your content if you have caught their eye and given them a reason to be interested in what you have to say.
4. BE SMART WITH YOUR COPY
You don’t have a lot of space for copy with a Stories ad, or enough time to expect people to read a lot of content. Keep it short, sweet and punchy. The image or video of your ad should be telling most of the story, while the copy should be concisely getting straight to the point of the message you are trying to convey. It should also be positioned strategically, making sure that the text is prominent on people’s screens but not obstructing any of the image or video content behind or cluttering up the design of your ad.
5. HAVE BRAND VISIBILITY
Remember that when you are making an ad on Stories, you are trying to introduce your brand to people who have never heard of you as well as engage existing fans. Place your logo on your ad to ensure brand visibility – it could be in a top or bottom corner, on a product image or over any part of your ad with a plain background. It doesn’t have to be taking up much of the screen, but use colours that will help your logo stand out and raise brand awareness while you are engaging people with your campaign.
6. FEATURE INFLUENCERS
Instagram Stories are a great place for you to put your influencer marketing and show off any partnerships you have going on. As well as being able to use content that you probably already have from the collaboration, using influencers in your ads will help you to connect with their audiences too and grow your fanbase using the community around the themes or interests that you both share. Get them involved in the campaign planning too – they may end up using it for their own Stories ad and help you produce achieve even more awareness.
7. MAINTAIN STYLE CONSISTENCY
There is slightly more to introducing your brand than placing your logo on your content. Your Stories ad needs to fit in with the overall feel of your brand, your profile and your Instagram feed. Make sure you are using the same imagery, typography, colours and style of design across all your content to showcase your brand personality, give people a tone that they can associate with your company and increase brand recognition.
8. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE THEM HOMEMADE
Your Stories ad will be appearing on people’s phones – taking up their whole screen – while they are flicking through the Stories of their friends, family and people that they follow. In this context, an over-styled ad is likely to do more damage than good. If users are suddenly given a highly produced Story, they will likely know that it’s commercial and skip it automatically without even seeing the content. Keeping your style more casual and homemade will allow your ad to appear more authentically on their screens and give your campaign more reach and engagement.