Everything You Need To Know About Organic & Paid Instagram Story Ads

by | Jun 20, 2019

In recent years, Instagram has blossomed on the social media arena for business-centric capabilities by incorporating new features to expand the reach and engagement between businesses and consumers.

Whether you’re already Instagram savvy or want to learn something new, this article is divided into 3 parts:

  • The basics and benefits of Instagram stories for agencies today.
  • Tips on how to create a successful Instagram story
  • The best technical aspects and processes to create a successful Instagram story Ad.

This information will leave you inspired to stay ahead of the game and take on the wild and wonderful world of Instagram story Ads.

If you want to learn more about social media paid advertising, become an AgencySavvy Member today.


Part 1: The Basics of Instagram stories

What Are Instagram Stories?

Instagram stories is a vastly popular feature on the Instagram app where users can post image and video content to create a slideshow and relative timeline of an event, product or service.

These posts can be covered in text, emoticons, stickers and custom drawings to help convey the desired message to the audience.


Example Instagram Story Vertical Image


How Do Instagram Stories Work?

Instagram story ads are technically a part of the Facebook’s Ads system, but they are different from the standard Instagram newsfeed ads.

Whilst you can still choose detailed targeting, budgeting, bidding and scheduling preferences, Ads can only run individually due to their technical requirements, meaning your CTA must be clear and concise to reap maximum benefits.

Keen for more? Our Member-Only Facebook course will teach you everything you need to know about how to create successful campaigns on Facebook.


What Are The Benefits Of Instagram Stories?

In the world of social media advertising, Instagram is still a great option for those with low ad spending budgets. When created correctly Ads on Instagram stories can boast amazing successes for e-commerce and lead generation businesses.

We’ve happily achieved such success with our clients (and would love to do the same for you) by increasing:

  • Brand awareness: using a mix of paid ads and organic posts to share core values, brand stories and sales promotions.
  • Reach: as the Instagram story feature auto-plays consecutive images and videos, ads integrate into the audience’s normal feeds.
  • Site traffic: since one in five stories gets a direct message from its viewers. Instagram really is prime for brand and consumer engagement to multiply positive impressions.
  • Revenue & ROAS: through impressions, engagement and brand awareness which can be viewed in Instagram’s Insights feature.

Take note that the level of these benefits will vary depending on whether you use paid ads or organic posts.

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Paid Ads Vs Organic Posts On Instagram Stories

There are currently two types of posts that can be used in Instagram stories for businesses. These are paid ad posts and organic posts.


Paid Ad (Sponsored) Posts

These are created specifically for target audiences you want to engage with your brand and will state they are “Sponsored” so users know it’s a business ad.


Hello Fresh AU Instagram Story Ads


Paid ads will help you increase reach to your desired audience in order to improve ROAS and revenue. Unfortunately, for those with big-hitting competitors and tough markets, paid ads can be costly.




Organic Posts

These are free and traverse through Instagram via your followers, their friends and peers, and people searching for similar brands, products and services.


Non-Sponsored Organic Instagram Story Ad


Organic posts can still muster decent reach free of cost, but be aware that Instagram will favour paid ad posts as part of their service deal.

Realistically, you should have a mixture of both post types. Paid ads guarantee a higher success rate, whilst organic posts help maintain a sense of authenticity with your clients and followers.

Now we’ve covered the basics, how do we create a successful Instagram story?

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Part 2: 4 Tips To Create A Successful Instagram Story

Tip #1: Tell a story

It’s in the name really, an Instagram story should tell a story!

Like a carousel post, Instagram story ads have a maximum of 3 placements.. and you should use them. Don’t create a single image and assume it’ll be good enough. Instagram is a progressively high-moving platform, so you need to give your audience a reason to stop and actively engage with your content.

Here’s a strategy that works for our clients.

Card 1: Introduce your brand or product. Try and share a core value to show who you are as a business.
Card 2: Sell your product & provide content. Cover how your product will benefit the user, and why they should choose you over other brands.
Card 3: Include a Call to Action (CTA). Grow your engagement by asking your audience to answer a question, click a product link or swipe up.


Tip #2: Create A Clear & Concise Call-To-Action (CTA)

If you have over 10,000 followers use the ‘swipe up’ CTA which takes users straight to your chosen page. If not, you can prompt users to click a link in your bio, or answer a question.


Instagram Stories With A Clear Call To Action


It’s vitally important in your final post to state your CTA clearly and concisely in order to actually get the results you want. Displaying more than 20% of screen space as the text will not only lose users attention but reduce delivery on the app.

Being clear and concise with your CTA ensures that your audience knows they can engage with your Story easily which will get them off their feed and onto your desired page.


Tip #3: Showcase Your Moves To Get Attention

People primarily use Instagram stories to stay up-to-date with their friends, brands and favourite celebrities lives in real-time. This means that not only must you mimic to compete with what your audience chooses to see, but better it so they are enticed to leave it for your CTA.

Take further note that as technology continues to improve rapidly, the majority of successful Instagram stories today contain videos.

Put into simple terms, imagine you’re entering a dance battle, shaking what you’ve been given and aiming to leave with a squad who love your moves. Check out Louis Vuitton’s sponsored ad video.

Given that people are drawn to action, we recommend making your second card a video (if suitable, of course!).

Providing a change of pace and movement to the previous card will naturally garner attention whilst you show off your product. If you can make your final CTA card a video too, it’ll help you bust that final killer move.


Tip 4: Have A Clear Purpose

Putting brand videos together is great for brand reach and awareness, but it won’t create an immediate real world return.

Your Story ad needs to stem from a clear purpose, whether it’s to boost reach, promote sales of a specific product or to advertise a sale.

Ensuring that your Stories have a clear purpose for your audience and your own goals will provide a greater chance of interruption with the correct targeting.



And that’s how you make a great Instagram story ad!

But before you get ahead of yourself, there are some technical aspects to utilise.

Part 3: Technical Aspects of Instagram Story Ads

1. How to Create Instagram Stories Ads

As Instagram uses Facebook Ad Manager, creating Instagram story Ads is an easy process. Go to Ads Manager and select ‘Create’ and follow the prompts to be on your ad-making way.

The process will allow you to choose an objective for your marketing goals, set the ad’s budget and schedule, and more.


2. Instagram Story Ad Guide

To make the most out of your ad, use the correct files, sizing, and timeframes as specified by Facebook as seen below:


  Files Sizing Time Frame
Images JPG or PNG format
Maximum file size 30MB
1080 x 1920 pixels
Maximum 9:16 aspect ratio
Maximum 5 seconds per card
Video MP4 or mov format
Maximum file size 4GB
1080 x 1920 pixels
9:16 aspect ratio
720p resolution
Maximum 14.9 seconds per card


Paid and organic ads on Instagram stories really are a great way to increase your reach, traffic, impressions, sales leads and real life returns.

Following our 4 simple tips of telling a story, creating concise CTAs, showing your moves and showcasing purpose within the technical guidelines really will help surpass your KPIs and business goals.

And if you want that extra support along the way, become an AgencySavvy Member for Q&A sessions twice a month, member-only resources and real-time-help.

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