Since the launch of Instagram Stories in 2016, the format has taken off among advertisers. Users have demonstrated their love for Stories’ dynamic feel.
Agencies report 2-3X more engagement with Instagram Story posts than with regular content.
Marketers have published a slew of campaigns to test the new format over the past 20 months; however…
…The quality has been mixed while agencies figure out what kind of Story entices users and what bores them.
Below we’ve highlighted ten amazing Instagram Stories examples that reveal best practices from leading brands.
These Stories incorporate proven strategies and pro tricks that you can use right now to engage your audience and grow your business.
You just need to take some time to get yourself a drink (an espresso? 😉 ), go through each of them, and get inspired for your own amazing Instagram Stories ads.
Although the Story format is a relatively new feature, Facebook has already rolled out several product updates, such as Highlights, to help agencies stay at the forefront.
But don’t worry, the examples we selected are the most recent (and full of takeaways) we could find.
Bookmark these ideas when crafting your own Stories to save yourself hours of Googling, help achieve your campaign objectives, and amplify your growth!
How To Set Up Your Instagram Stories Ads
Let’s start with the basics.
Instagram Stories Ads pop up between users’ Stories in the same format (either a single photo or video up to 15 seconds long) and last for just 24 hours.
Setting up your Instagram Story ad is similar to setting up other Instagram ads.
First, make sure your Instagram account is connected to your Facebook business page — then follow the steps below:
- Using Facebook’s Ads Manager or Power Editor, Create an Ad in a new Campaign.
- Select your Objective (limited to Reach, Mobile App Installs, Video Views, Traffic, or Conversions for Story ads).
- After you’ve set your objective parameters and given your campaign a name, define your audience. (Use or create your own new, custom, saved or lookalike audience, similar to any Facebook Ad.)
- Under “Edit Placements” Select: Instagram Stories.
- Choose single image or single video format.
- Then, Upload and preview your image or video file. (Make sure to double-check that your specs are correct.)
- Finally, select a call-to-action (CTA), based on the goal you hope to achieve (e.g., “Learn More” to drive web traffic), and publish.
10 Amazing Instagram Stories Examples
Below are ten examples of Instagram Story ads that amazed and impressed us so far in 2018.
All these brands showcase a range of successful techniques to excite and engage their audiences.
These practical yet imaginative tips will help take your Instagram Stories to the next level — optimizing them to meet and even exceed your Instagram ad campaign goals.
1. Daily Harvest – Give Answers And Keep It Short
Daily Harvest delivers unprocessed foods in convenient frozen forms. This Instagram Story opens the target audience’s eyes to new possibilities within frozen foods via a rapid series of tantalizing images:
Daily Harvest also emphasizes the benefit of its service with a strategic headline.
Four crucial questions you have to answer when writing your Instagram Story headline include:
- Is this useful – do people see the value in it
Yes – valuable “superfood eats.”
- Is this unique – does it promise a unique benefit? (Is it differentiated?)
Yes – Daily Harvest allows you to build your own personal box.
- Is this urgent – does it lead the audience to act now?
Yes – it’s a fast, convenient service that you can “enjoy in seconds.”
- Is this ultra-specific?
While the instructions don’t include facts or statistics, Daily Harvest offers a detailed menu and very clear instructions for action.
Daily Harvest succeeds at packing in a lot of critical information but keeps its message concise.
While the rules for text overlaying your image are not as strict as the caption’s 2200 character maximum, it’s important to be mindful of cramming too many words onto your main ad, risking your user swiping away.
Pro Tip: If you have nearly 30 words as Daily Harvest does, organize them in an easy-to-read and logical format to keep the user’s eye moving and facilitate the delivery of your message.
2. Alexander McQueen – Use the Luxury Strategy
In contrast with Daily Harvest, designer Alexander McQueen refrains from using text at all (except for its logo) in the powerful Story ad below.
Here, stylish women in bold, luxurious dresses walk through a muddy jungle. The lack of explanation creates an air of mystery:
Studies have shown that when information gaps exist, readers experience distress and suspense. To alleviate these feelings, they will pursue further information.
Put more plainly: questions make people curious; curiosity leads people to click.
Instagram Stories’ disappearing nature is great for this; viewers won’t be able to bookmark your offerings for future scrutiny or reference unless they follow your CTA.
Pro Tip: If you’re aiming to target a more elite audience, don’t always give your customers what they expect.
3. Follain – Master the Power of Silence
In 2017, only 15% of viewers watched Facebook videos with the sound on.
Since your audience will most likely see your Story in silent mode, you have to figure out a way to deliver your message visually.
The beauty brand Follain spells out their offer in plain text:
More than simply describing their products and pricing, however, Follain starts this Story with a question: “How Clean Is Your Beauty Routine?”
This form of interactive content reaches out to the viewer, capturing their attention to drive additional web traffic.
While a lot of hype has been given to interactive content like quizzes, contests, and calculations — yours doesn’t need to be that complicated.
Follain also incorporates a bold and specific CTA “Swipe up to claim,” pointing users in the direction of an enormous discount.
In sum: this Story ad uses text in strategic and interactive ways to increase traffic and sales.
Pro Tip: Phrasing a question that accurately reflects and piques the curiosity of your target audience is proven to drive clicks.
4. CPK Frozen Pizza – Make Everyday Moments More Exciting
Boomerangs are another excellent tactic to make no-sound videos more interesting.
Boomerangs start with your original clip, take a series of ten photos, and transform them into a whimsical short video.
The concept is similar to using GIFs on other social media platforms like Tumblr and Twitter; however, since Instagram doesn’t currently support .gif image files, Boomerang is your best alternative.
Here CPK Frozen Pizza animates the otherwise ordinary cheese grating process:
Boomerang is popular among influencers and Instagram diehards.
If you’re trying to appeal to a Millennial audience, Boomerangs can bring that chill factor. Adding Boomerang to something as understated as cheese grating adds a touch of humor, as well, which users will remember.
Pro Tip: If you’ve got something that is cute, tantalizing, or even plain and ordinary, use Boomerang to loop it back and forth and enhance it through repetition.
5. Noom – Catch Your Viewers Off-Guard
Studies show that humans remember images based on how distinct they are.
Catch your viewers off-guard with an initial Story frame that is unexpected or out of place
In one of their best Instagram Stories ad, the healthy lifestyle brand Noom does it with a woman about to crush a dozen eggs with a hammer:
Strange, counterintuitive pictures are proven to make an impact — and the Instagram Story format adds an even greater dimension to this, particularly if you’re using video.
Don’t be afraid to get creative; Instagram Stories themselves are an innovative format that is constantly evolving.
Playing to Instagram’s strengths and crafting content that is also experimental will help bring your brand alive.
Pro Tip: Create a surprising Instagram story simply enlarging an already strange or whimsical moment by adding slow-mo, drawing out the drama.
6. Hopper – Offer an Easy-To-Get Reward
Interactive content is quickly gaining traction in social media marketing.
Contests, quizzes, and calculations have been highly successful in getting clicks, likes, and driving conversions. But your ad doesn’t need to be that complex.
Simply offering a tantalizing reward — one swipe away — can lead viewers to take that (easy) extra step.
In this case, the travel company Hopper offers a 40% discount to users that Install their app.
Paying a higher cost to acquire customers up front can be worth it in the long run as you jump-start your community. With 700 million monthly users in 2017, you have an enormous opportunity to reach a large set of potential customers.
Pro Tip: If you are a young company, potentially with an influx of funding, Instagram Stories are an excellent vehicle through which to offer promotions.
7. M.Gemi – Go Behind-the-Scene
Instagram Stories are a great place to showcase behind-the-scenes footage of your company.
Although you’re allowed just 15 seconds, that’s enough space to provide an exciting sneak peek.
Here, the Italian shoe company M.Gemi uses the Story format to offer a window into their traditional manufacturing method.
If you’re a brand targeting consumers that are used to making online purchases, it’s difficult to distinguish yourself with just catchy colors and cute designs.
Using the Story format to teach your viewers something about the mechanics of your process will add a new dimension to their understanding of your products and help them feel more connected and knowledgeable.
Pro Tip: Beauty, fashion, and/or luxury brands, in particular, are proven to thrive in this format.
8. Postmates – FOMO and Instagram Stories: the Perfect Pair
Like Sponsored Snaps, the disappearing nature of Instagram Stories adds an extra level of excitement and urgency, prompting viewers to act before opportunities vanish.
For marketers, Instagram Stories provide a unique chance to achieve campaign goals quickly.
Postmates exemplifies a twist on this with its seven-day delivery credit offer:
In addition to the short window of time in which this post will play, Postmates uses further FOMO marketing techniques to present an enticing, short-lived opportunity.
This is a particularly effective strategy if your brand targets a younger crowd.
Research shows that a staggering 69% of millennials feel a sense of loss when they can’t attend some sort of event.
Pro Tip: Increase the pressure to click by offering your audience deals they can’t refuse within an already immediate format!
9. Shein – If You Got a Lot To Show, Highlight Your Story
Stories are also a great venue for showcasing a series of products and/or a single product from multiple angles.
SheIn, a women’s fashion brand, uses this Story to flip through a series of new swimsuit prints:
Instead of making a user swipe through a carousel ad themselves, the Story format moves through a series of images automatically.
SheIn is quickly able to show the breadth of its patterns before the user moves on.
Instagram recently released the Highlights feature for Stories that allows brands to keep certain Stories visible at the top of their profiles after the 24-hour window has elapsed.
Highlights for Stories are a great tool if you have several posts that you want to organize for your audience.
Above, SheIn uses it to categorize several of its products into “Spring” and “Sales”.
Pro Tip: If your users are looking for specific products, Highlights makes the process easier for them — and allows you to showcase your best material.
10. A Quiet Place – Show Your Audience Heroes They Can Relate To
Particularly when working with the video format in Instagram Stories, with the compressed time frame, it can be tempting to just flash your most exciting moments across the screen.
However, it’s important to be strategic about how you weave your narrative to avoid confusion.
One tactic is to show your audience heroes or figures they can relate to. This is proven to help viewers emotionally connect with your post and mirror the reactions of the characters.
Do you want to elicit excitement? Drama? Desire? The film “A Quiet Place” does all three by zooming in on the expressions of its main characters — leading viewers to want to click to watch more.
Master the art of storytelling in your Instagram Stories to enter the minds of your customers and inspire them to take action!
- Additional successful tactics include employing common story arcs and even hiding information.
What Makes A Good Instagram Stories Ad?
In the end, a great Instagram Story ad compels the user to act quickly.
You can achieve this through clear text directions; delivering a slew of lovely products in rapid succession; creating a sense of intrigue and mystery to elevate your brand; using keen narrative techniques, or simply making everyday moments more exciting with Boomerang loops and other video editing tools.
You have a range of creative tricks at your fingertips to take advantage of this new and evolving ad format to distinguish yourself for better results.
What’s your next Instagram story? And which one you liked the most in our selection? Let us know what you think, leave a comment!