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Case Study: How To Grow Your Brand Awareness Using Instagram Ad Stories

Social Media
Social Media

How to Improve Instagram awareness using Ad Stories?

Well, that’s a question that many of us had! So I decided to do some research and put all my findings into this article.

With Instagram, you can easily tell a story and promote your business using its advertising options like photo ads, video ads, carousel ads and the newest feature called story ads!

What I’m trying to do with this article is help you learn how to improve your Instagram awareness with ad stories.

What exactly are Instagram Stories?

Instagram Ad Stories are just like the Instagram Stories you already know. The only thing different is that they appear between stories and are marked with a “Sponsored” label.

These types of ads were launched by Instagram in January, this year. They began with only 30 lucky brands and at the moment Instagram Ad Stories are available to every business around the globe.

Instagram Ad Stories are skippable!

A very important thing you must know about Instagram Ad Stories is that they are the first type of ad which allowed full-screen 9:16 visuals on a mobile platform.

Instagram Ad Stories can be of 2 types: images and videos.

Unfortunately, for now, there is no option of using a Call To Action button or a Link, but Facebook said that that will come soon.

Now that we know what Instagram Ad Stories are, let’s see what are the elements for an efficient Ad Stories campaign and also how to launch one!


1. Design Instagram Ad Stories

Design is an important element in your Instagram Ad Stories. You can choose to either work with a professional designer or advertiser who understand the platform or you can use professional design tools that can help you create your ad on your own.

The guys from Smartketer had launched their first Instagram Ad Stories campaign a few months ago and done exactly how they preach in their blog posts about Instagram:

“When working with Instagram, you should take advantage of all that this app has to offer.”

Ruben Szekrenyes, the graphic designer from Smartketer, has created 2 types of ads for their campaign: an image ad and a video ad.

“Instagram is the place where people go to relax but also find a inspiration visual and sometimes these visuals can be a solution for their problem. With Instagram Ad Stories the boundary is to make it more interesting, with a powerful call to action even in their ad. Yes, it is an awareness game, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to try it” said Ruben.

There are two very important elements of an Instagram Story Ad: the branding and the type of the ad.

Smartketer’s designer used Adobe Photoshop (but you can use one of these design tools if you don’t know Photoshop) to design this ad. He chose a high quality photo and changed its background color. Even if Instagram Stories are about real and transparent content, you should also focus on creating high quality ads using professional tools or specialists who can help you.

how to design instagram ad stories

Then, he wrote a simple but powerful text on the visual so it can attract user’s attention.

The image ad lasts no more than 10 seconds, so you need to grab the attention of the viewer with a powerful text or message as a call-to-action.

how to design ig ad stories 1
After this, he saved the design in the .PNG format at high quality.

Take Away Tips:

Use high quality images with a strong and simple call-to-action text in your Instagram Ad Stories

Don’t forget that you only have a few seconds to make the user engage with your brand.

2. Launch the Instagram Ad Stories Campaign

If you want to start advertising on Instagram, you need to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook Page.

You can easily launch your Instagram Ad Stories campaign from the Power Editor of Ads Manager of your Facebook account.

Campaign Objective Facebook

First, you have to choose the Reach objective. For the moment, it’s the only objective you can choose for this type of campaign but Facebook has declared that in the near future there will be other objectives like website clicks, web conversions, mobile app installs and a few other options.

Choose Stories Placement

After you choose the Reach objective you go on to Placement and there you will see a new message about Ads on Instagram Stories. Click on Edit Placement and under the Instagram option, select “Stories”.

Select Banner for Instagram Ad Stories

Now, you will have the option to include a single image or a single video.

These are the important things you need to know before you upload your ad:

4 elements of having an awesome images in your Insta Stories Ads:

Smartketer insta story detail ad

  1. There can be uploaded up to 6 images – but they won’t appear like a carousel ad
  2. Size 1080 x 1920
  3. Ratio aspect: 9:16
  4. To maximize ad delivery, you can use images that contain little or no overload text

5 elements of having an awesome videos in your Insta Stories Ads:

Smartketer insta story video ad

  1. Format: .MOV, .MP4 or .GIF File
  2. No longer than 15 seconds
  3. No standalone text such as titles, description, messages and other captions
  4. Resolution: 720 pixel quality
  5. File size: 2.3 GB max

Once you’ve chosen the type of ad you want to upload you can check if you want to track or enter tags for your campaign. Now you are ready to launch the campaign!

If you want to optimize your Instagram Ad Stories campaign you must know that you are quite limited (at least for now). You can only edit the audience, location, age, gender and languages.

Smartketer Insta stories targeting settings
Take Away Tips:

Make a memorable statement with your ads since the only objective you can get is an awareness one.


After 1 week in which Smartketer invested only $200 to test this kind of ad, they could already see improvements.

Here’s what we can learn from their experience.

  1. Brand awareness on Instagram grows considerably
  2. Between video ad and image ad, the one that worked best was the video ad
  3. Start with lookalike audience and then optimize it during campaign

Instagram Stories are used by more than 200+ million users daily on the platform.

So, what you think about Instagram Ad Stories. Are you tempted to use them? Did you already use them?

Let me know in the comments section below!

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Robert Katai

Content Marketing Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

Ram Castillo