Video Ads in Instagram Stories: What You Need To Know

Advertisers, start your engines! Instagram has opened up video ads in Stories to every brand, and we couldn’t be more excited about the potential that now exists for you. Your opportunity on Instagram is ready to explode!

Instagram is one of the most visually-based social media platforms so naturally, it makes sense to take full advantage of this when it comes to your brand’s advertising strategy. When any of the more than 150 million daily users (and that number is growing rapidly!) log into their Instagram accounts, they expect to see awesome, engaging visual content from friends, brands, and influencers. With more than 70% of Instagram users following at least one business, the platform represents a huge opening for brands that produce visual content.

Video Ads in Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories allow users to collect photos and videos from Instagram and share their collections with friends. What will these video ads look like? As users scroll through their Stories, video ads will appear looking almost identical to other video content. However, users will know that your video is branded content because it will contain both your company name and the word “Sponsored” at the bottom to comply with FTC regulations.

Your video ad needs to be 15 seconds or less to qualify for placement in Instagram Stories. Video ads are full-screen which creates a great, immersive experience and they will automatically play with the sound on. However, video ads are skippable – or swipe-able to be more accurate so creating something truly engaging is very important. You’ll have the opportunity to choose the thumbnail that people see before the video plays. Select this carefully and make sure the image is something that will excite people enough to watch your ad.

Not sure about testing out this ad format? Earlier this month, Instagram shared Airbnb’s experience. Airbnb was one of the 30+ companies that were invited to test out video ads in Stories, and it proved beyond successful. According to Instagram, “Airbnb ran a series of 15-second video ads in stories to build awareness and buzz around its largest product to date… With its stories campaign, the company saw a double-digit point increase in ad recall. Additionally, when people were asked to identify a company for travelers to find and book local tours, activities, and experiences, the campaign saw a statistically significant lift in those that selected Airbnb.” That’s certainly enough to convince us!

Creating Instagram Video Ads for Stories

You can create your video ads in a number of ways, but the simplest is to go through Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor. (Note: If you create your video ads with TheMotion, we’ll make things even easier by uploading all of your videos for you!). The first thing you need to do is choose an objective for your campaign so let’s take a quick look at the options which are best for brand awareness as well as increasing engagement, sales, and lead generation.

  • Brand Awareness: reach people likely to pay attention and be interested in your ads and increase general awareness
  • Reach: your ads will be shown to the maximum number of people (although not all of those people will be interested in your brand)
  • Engagement: this option helps people engage with your video ad through comments, likes, shares and claiming offers which is great if you are running special deals on your products
  • Traffic: this will increase traffic to a page you select which can be your Facebook page or website
  • Lead Generation: this works well if you are looking to collect lead info including emails, phone numbers and other pieces of data
  • Conversions: if you want to increase sales, this option will help as you can drive people to your website for purchases. (Note: you’ll need to add a Facebook pixel for tracking purposes)

Targeting Options for Videos Ads on Instagram

Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, the platform (and you the advertiser) benefits from having a wealth of targeting options.

  • Location: target people based on locations including cities, states, countries, regions, etc.
  • Demographics: target people based on gender, age, language spoken, household details, employment, education, etc.
  • Interests: target based on ads people have previously clicked, apps they use, accounts they follow
  • Behavior: target based on online and offline activities people including purchase intents, device usage, activities, etc.
  • Custom Audiences: target customers based on email addresses or phone numbers you already have in your CRM
  • Lookalike Audiences: target people who are similar to your existing customers
  • Advanced Targeting: let the platform help you quickly create audiences who likely will be interested in your business based on a variety of signals

Before setting your budget and scheduling your ad, you’ll need to set it up for Instagram Stories. Under the “Placements” make sure you choose Instagram and Stories from the sub-menu. When you’re in this section, be aware that BOTH Facebook and Instagram are selected by default so if you only want to run your video ads on Instagram, deselect Facebook. With that said, Facebook is an amazing platform for increasing customer acquisition and driving sales so why not go for both?

Now that video ads in Instagram Stories are available to every company, it’s time to incorporate this format into your marketing and advertising strategy. See how we can quickly create a video ad for each product in your entire catalog so you can start taking advantage of the power of video ads. Schedule a demo today.