How to Create Instagram Story Ads + Drive Results

Are You Using Instagram Story Ads For Your Business?

Over 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day.

But more than just usage, Stories have shown to be high-converting.

58% of people in one study said they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories.

And, 50% said they had visited a website to buy a product or service due to seeing it in Stories.

So results are waiting for small business owners utilizing Instagram Story ads.

So for today’s post, we’re going to show you how to create Instagram Story ads along with best practices to maximize your returns.

If you use Instagram in your time a fair amount, you’ve probably seen ads as you’re tapping through watching Instagram Stories.

But just in case you’re not familiar with the platform, let’s start by defining what Instagram Story ads are.

What Are Instagram Story Ads?

They are full-screen vertical pictures or videos that appear between organic Instagram Stories.

You can identify them by looking for the “sponsored” text.

And this one below is a carousel Story ad, which we’ll get into a little more later.

You can deliver these ads to a specific target audience that you select and give them a call to action to follow like:

  • Shop Now,
  • Sign Up, or
  • See Menu

…that will lead them to your website or wherever you want to send them.

The user can follow this call-to-action by swiping up on the story ad.

If you’re not already familiar with organic Instagram Stories, which are Stories that anybody posts that are not sponsored…

…we would suggest reading our post on Instagram Stories for businesses to get more familiar with the context and what people usually post.

That is because you’ll want to translate that tone to your ads to get optimal results.

But essentially, Instagram Story ads are another advertising option for you to:

  • drive more sales,
  • lead form completions, or

…whatever your goal is.

So on that note, let’s go ahead and show you how to set up Instagram Story ads.

How To Set Up Instagram Story Ads

Step 1: Head to and click the green Create button.

You’ll need to choose a campaign objective that makes sense for your business goal.

We’ve said this in other posts, but these objectives optimize for that goal.

It means that if you choose the post engagement campaign, it will deliver your ad to people within your target audience…

…who are the most likely to engage with your ad – but not the most likely to make a purchase.

We’ve seen too many business owners who are new to advertising mistake selecting campaigns like reach or engagement…

…just because they involve less setup when they want sales, they’re left disappointed with the results.

If you want more sales on your website, don’t choose the engagement campaign or even the traffic campaign; choose the conversion campaign.

Because the conversion campaign shows your ad to people within your target audience who are the most likely to convert.

And in the world of digital marketing, a conversion can mean a sale on your website or a lead form completion on your website or landing page.

So that was our mini crash course in selecting campaign objectives to help you start on the right foot.

The campaign objectives that are compatible with Instagram Story ads are:

  • Reach
  • Brand awareness
  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • App installs
  • Video views
  • Lead generation
  • Conversions

So, you’ll need to choose from one of those.

You’ll set up your campaign settings, budget, schedule, and target audience the way you usually would for a Facebook or Instagram campaign.

If you need more direction here, we would suggest reading our how to create Facebook ads or Instagram ads posts…

…because those include a more extensive how-to on these sections and how to use this ads manager platform as a whole.

But for the sake of this post, we want to focus on the Instagram Story ad’s specific parts.

Step 2: So you’ll scroll down to placements, click Manual stations, unselect everything except the Instagram platform.

And then, unselect all placements except for the Instagram Story placement.

If it’s not letting you select the Instagram Story placement…

…go back and check your campaign objective to make sure you’ve chosen one that’s compatible with Instagram Story ads.

This moment in the process is also a good reminder of the dimensions you need to use when making your creatives.

Then click through to the ad level.

Step 3: Here you can choose your format, so you decide if you want to use a:

  • single image,
  • video,
  • carousel, or
  • collection.

Now we talked briefly about carousel ads at the start of this post.

This isn’t a brand new feature. But it’s still unique enough that it’s a little underutilized, so we want to draw your attention to it.

“Instagram Stories carousel ads make it easy and seamless to showcase more products and tell a deeper story by using more than one image or video.”

If you own an eCommerce store and sell online products, the carousel or collection ads would be an excellent option to test out…

…because then you can toggle on Dynamic formats and creatives.

Dynamic ads allow you to pull from your product catalog.

An example of this is if someone clicks through some products on your website…

…but leaves your site without buying, Instagram can show them that exact product again while they’re watching Instagram Stories.

This prompts them to go back to your site and purchase the item.

It creates a personalized experience for them because you show each individual the exact product they were looking at previously.

And statistically speaking, it increases their likelihood to convert by 70%.

And a pro tip here for your Instagram Story ads is to create an audience of recent purchasers and exclude them in your ad set.

This is so that you don’t waste money retargeting to an audience that already went back and made that purchase.

If you don’t know how to do that, read our Facebook ads targeting post next.

And also, even if you don’t sell products online, carousel ads can still be used to tell a story.

So, for example, if you’re a B2B company, consider using carousel ads to tell a story from your buyer’s point of view.

This is to get your audience’s attention and paint your service as the solution.

Step 4: We’re going to use the single image format here, so we will scroll down to ad creative and click add media.

We’re just going to use this thumbnail we made for an Instagram reel for the sake of showing you because it’s a vertical image.

But you’ll want to use a 1080px by 1920px creative that speaks to your audience’s goals or pain points.

This is for you to get their attention and draw them in to follow your call to action.

From there, you can add a caption in the primary text box, which is technically required.

But for the Story ad placement, most people don’t even see it, let alone read it.

So don’t depend on that text to do any legwork in converting your audience.

It would help if you used the creative for all of your marketing here.

We usually don’t bother to fill out the headline for the same reasons.

You will need to put in your destination URL; this is where you’re sending traffic to.

Doing dynamic ads will pull the product page URLs from your product catalog if you’re doing dynamic ads.

And every time you update something on the left, the preview window on the right will update to show you what your ad will look like to users.

So if there are any errors, you can fix them now.

From there, you can choose a call to action from their list of options.

Be sure to choose the CTA that makes the most sense based on what your ad says and what your campaign objective is.

One feature specific to this placement that you can utilize here is the interactive poll.

If it makes sense, you can add two answers for users to choose from.

This is great to increase engagement because even if users don’t swipe up on your ad, they might engage with your poll and attention, is retargetable.

You’ll want to make sure you accommodate for this with your graphic.

As you can see, using a poll with the image we selected would look weird and cover up my existing graphics.

So if you plan on using a poll, make a note of that in advance when making your image or video.

Step 5: Once you’ve got everything looking the way you want it, you can hit Publish.

Wrapping Up

And that is how you create Instagram Story ads!

Instagram Story ads are not as utilized as placement as the Instagram feed.

And therefore, we think there’s a lot of room for small businesses to jump in and beat out their competitors…

…in reaching their shared target market with a placement their competitors are not using.

So give Instagram Story ads a try!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *