How to create ads in Instagram Stories for your small business

In this 5-minute read:

  • What are Instagram Stories ads? 
  • Ideas for your Instagram Stories ads
  • Best practices
  • Plan your ad
  • Create your ad in Ads Manager

With 500 million daily users on Instagram Stories, your brand can really benefit from the reach that advertising here would grant you. 

Attract new customers and keep them loyal with reputation management software. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

Learn how to create ads on Instagram Stories with our guide, and discover the best types of ads to include on this platform. 

What are Instagram Stories ads? 

Instagram Stories ads are sponsored stories that appear in between Instagram Stories as users view them in their “Stories” feed. These ads can run for up to 15 seconds between stories and provide a broader reach for your brand. 

Note that Instagram Stories do have some specific requirements for the media within the ad placement.

Image requirements:

  • 9:16 aspect ratio
  • Recommended image size of 1080×1920 pixels

Download Facebook’s template for 9:16 ads. 

cellphone instagram photo of dessert

Video requirements:

  • Maximum time of 15 seconds
  • 9:16 aspect ratio
  • Recommended files for videos: .mp4 or .mov
  • Minimum resolution of 720p
  • Maximum file size of 4GB

Using Instagram Stories ads for marketing your business

The best types of Instagram Stories ads are going to capture your audience’s attention. Create a visually appealing piece of media–whether that’s an image or a video–that is going to entertain or entice your audience rather than disrupt their browsing experience. 

A few ideas for Instagram Stories ads for small businesses:

  • Timely promotions or discounts
  • Local events
  • Free tips/how-to guide teasers

Best practices for Instagram Stories ads

As you are putting the media together for your ad, keep these best practices in mind. 

Reveal your brand name quickly and clearly

Make sure that your brand is evident. You want people, particularly potential customers, to know who you are quickly and start to associate your ads with your brand. 

Capture attention right away

Instagram Stories ads are not very long—they can only last up to 15 seconds. Therefore, it’s crucial to capture the attention of your audience immediately. If you don’t, they’ll probably just close out of the ad so they can continue looking through their stories. 

megaphone attention grabber for using instagram to market small business

Create clear messaging

As with any advertising campaign, clear and concise messaging is important. If your ad is displayed to hundreds or thousands of people, but they can’t tell what the ad is even for, then it won’t provide great results for you. 

Use Instagram and Facebook influencers

Instagram is the platform of influencers, so take advantage of that. In every industry, there are influencers that Instagram users follow and aspire to be more like. Partner with and tag influencers to capture your audience’s attention and entice them to learn more about your offers. 

Go deeper: Why Instagram Stories are the most underrated marketing tool

Plan your Instagram Stories ad

Before you start showing off your Instagram Stories ad, you need a plan. Incorporate the requirements and the best practices that we’ve mentioned to create a compelling ad. 

Determine the goal that you have for your ad and the audience that you want it to reach. Are you trying to increase brand awareness or get more conversions out of a specific promotion?

Put media together for your ad campaign, whether you are creating videos or interesting graphics.

Canva is a great free resource that has templates for Instagram Stories if you want to create a professional-looking graphic for your ad. 

Create your Instagram Story ad in Ads Manager

Let’s get started. 

Step 1: Log into Facebook Ads Manager

Once your ad is planned and the media is created, it’s time to go to Facebook Ads Manager to set up your ad. 

Quick guide: How to set up Facebook Ads Manager for your small business

Step 2: Create a new ad campaign

Click “Create” under Campaigns. 

Enter a name for your campaign, select an objective. Enter a name for your new ad set and ad, and click “Save to Draft.”

Step 3: Create your ad set

On the next screen, select “1 Ad Set” at the top of your ad campaign window to edit your audience, budget, and duration. 

Determine the budget for your campaign and a start and end date. Then create your audience. 

Select the location, age, gender and other demographics for your target audience by selecting “Create new.” Save your audience. 

Under the “Placement” section, click “Edit placements.” This is where you can choose to have your ad only appear on Instagram Stories. 

At the very least, make sure you have Instagram Stories checked, and then include any other places that you want your ad to appear. 

Step 4: Create your ad

Now, click on “1 ad” and set up your Instagram Stories Ad. 

Next, make sure your Facebook business page is selected and linked to the correct Instagram account. 

Add the media that you created for this ad by selecting “Add Media.”

Be sure to include a destination for your ad, whether this is a link to your website or a Facebook event that you are hosting. You can also customize your ad even further with the Stories Customization options to edit the background colors and add interactive polls. 

Pro tip: Under the “Tracking” section of this same window, you can create a Facebook Pixel for your web developers to add to your website and help track the people that come from your Instagram Stories ad. 

When you are ready, click publish and wait for Facebook to review your ad. Once it’s been approved, it will start showing up in Instagram Stories. 

Instagram Stories is one way to spread brand awareness and improve your online visibility. If you’re looking for additional ways to do this, you should consider reputation management software

Solutions like Womply’s can save you tons of time every week by letting you manage all of your online customer reviews and listings from one simple platform. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!


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