The Complete Guide to Instagram Stories Ads for 2024

Manu Sheen
Manu Sheen
Customer Success Manager at Insense
two girls making an instagram video

Are you ready to level up your Instagram marketing game? 

If you want to make the most of this popular social media platform, then you need to know the basics about Instagram Stories ads. 

These short, attention-grabbing ads can help you increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and engage with your audience in a fun, interactive way. 

In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to get started, including:

  • What are Instagram Stories ads?
  • What are Instagram Stories ads templates?
  • Why are Instagram Stories ideal for boosting engagement?
  • Why are ads on Instagram Stories useful?
  • Things to pay attention to when running ads through Instagram Stories
  • Real-life examples of Instagram Stories ads that delivered results

Let's dive in and see how Instagram Stories ads can help you achieve your goals in 2023!

What are Instagram Stories Ads?

Instagram Stories ads are short, 15-second video or photo ads that appear between users' Instagram Stories.

Image Source: Instagram

These Story ads have a "Sponsored" label to indicate that they’re an advertisement, allowing businesses to reach a targeted audience through the popular, ephemeral format of Instagram Stories.

Cool Insight: Instagram has introduced vertical format Stories to provide a more TikTok-like experience. Previously, Instagram Stories were similar to Snapchat; navigated with taps and horizontal swipes. Now, users can scroll up and down to view content, like on TikTok.

With over 500 million daily active users on Instagram Stories, businesses have the opportunity to reach a large and engaged audience. 

Also, Instagram Stories ads are targeted, so anyone can choose to show their ads to specific demographics, interests, and locations. 

This helps to ensure that the ads are being seen by the right people and are more likely to be effective.

What are Instagram Stories Ads Templates?

Instagram Story templates are pre-designed layouts that businesses can use to create and publish Instagram Story ads in no time. 

Such templates typically include a combination of text, images, and other design elements that can be customized to showcase the branding of the business. 

An Instagram Stories ad template is a useful tool for businesses that want to create ads that look professional but don’t necessarily have the time or the resources to design them from scratch. 

Templates can also be a good option for businesses that are new to Instagram advertising and want to ensure that their ads follow best practices as well as Instagram's guidelines.

There’s a variety of Instagram Stories ad templates available, ranging from simple, text-based regular Story templates to more complex designs featuring multiple images and videos. 

Some templates are designed for specific industries or types of content. Others have a more general purpose.

That’s why, when choosing a template, it's important to consider the goals of your ad campaign and the type of content that will best support those goals.

Now that we have an idea of what Instagram Stories ads are, some of their benefits, and their templates, let’s buckle up and explore in detail why these types of ads are useful. 

Why are Instagram Stories Ideal for Boosting Engagement? 

Instagram Stories are a great way to boost engagement, especially because of their interactive features. 

With a whopping 61% of its audience falling in the 18-34 age range, Instagram is the go-to platform for reaching this coveted demographic. 

And with a user base of over 100 million in the United States alone, you'll have no problem finding your audience on the platform.

In addition to targeting, Instagram Stories ads also offer a range of interactive elements that companies, influencers, and marketers can use to engage with their audience. 

For example, businesses can use polls, quizzes, and other interactive elements to encourage Instagram users to interact with their ads, which is wonderful for building engagement.

Another great Instagram feature is that the Story ads are easy to consume, with a maximum length of 15 seconds. 

This makes them perfect for busy users who can only spend so much time watching videos.

Furthermore, their short format makes them more likely to be watched in full, which can help increase the effectiveness of the ads.

Why are Ads on Instagram Stories Useful?

Ads on Instagram Stories can be a valuable marketing tool for influencer marketing or business marketing strategies. Here’s how…

Reason #1: They increase awareness

Instagram Stories are displayed at the top of the app when users open it, which means they are the first thing that users see. 

Image Source: Instagram 

This placement gives Instagram advertising Stories a prime location on the app, making them easily accessible. 

In addition, Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, which creates a sense of urgency and encourages users to view them as soon as possible.

Reason #2: They’re multi-channel content

Instagram Stories can be used on various platforms in many ways. 

One way is through cross-posting, which involves sharing Instagram Stories on other social media platforms, such as Facebook and TikTok. 

This can be done manually by downloading an Instagram Story and then uploading it to another platform, or it can be done automatically using a social media management tool.

Instagram's cross-promotion feature allows businesses to share their Instagram Stories on other platforms to reach a wider audience and potentially increase their follower count and engagement on Instagram. 

This feature can be used by editing placements in Facebook Ads Manager to include Instagram. 

Furthermore, it can be particularly useful for promoting app installs or driving traffic to a business's Instagram account.

Businesses can also use Instagram's embed feature to show Instagram Stories on their own website or another website.

Therefore, this feature can help showcase Instagram Stories to a wider audience and drive traffic back to the business's Instagram account.

Reason #3: They’re interactive

Instagram Stories offer various possibilities for users to interact with them, making them a highly engaging and interactive form of content. 

Here are a few examples of how users can interact with Instagram Stories:


Instagram offers a range of stickers that users can add to their Stories, including emojis, location tags, and hashtags.

Image Source: Instagram

These stickers can help make Stories more interactive and engaging, and they can also help to increase the reach of a Story by making it more discoverable.


Instagram allows users to create polls in their Stories, which allows their followers to vote on a question or choice.

Image Source: Instagram

This can be a fun and interactive way for users to engage with their followers and gather feedback.


Instagram also offers a quiz sticker, which allows users to create quizzes in their Stories; great for testing their followers’ knowledge.


Another cool thing Instagram has is the questions sticker, allowing users to ask their followers questions and view their responses. 

Image Source: Instagram 

This can be quite a useful way for users to chat with their followers and gather any needed feedback quickly.

Image Source: Instagram 

Reason #4: They increase website traffic

One of the great things about Instagram Stories is that brands can add a link that directs users to their website or the app store. 

This can be very practical for driving traffic and increasing business conversions.

To add a link to an Instagram Story, businesses can use the swipe-up feature, which allows them to add a link to a website or app store page.

Image Source: Instagram

When users swipe up on an Instagram Story, they’ll be taken to the linked page, which can be a useful way to direct users to a business's website or app-download page.

Furthermore, this feature can be especially useful for ecommerce businesses, allowing them to easily promote their products and drive sales through Instagram Stories. 

It can also be useful for app developers, allowing them to promote their apps and drive downloads through Instagram Stories.

Instagram Story ads can also be used for promoting special offers. 

The Shop Now button is a useful feature for Instagram Story ads, as it allows users to buy within the app easily.

But the feature is only available to businesses with an Instagram Business account and eligible to use Instagram shopping.

Image Source: Instagram

To use the button, businesses must link their Instagram account to a Facebook catalog and meet certain eligibility requirements. 

Once the Shop Now button is enabled, businesses can add it to their Instagram Stories by using the Shopping sticker in the Instagram Stories editor.

Cool Insight: In addition to Instagram Story ads, you can always create Instagram feed ads and Instagram posts to maximize any campaign you have in mind! 

This will work well for small businesses that depend only on post-scrolling or want to go beyond the Story features.

5 Things to Pay Attention to When Running Ads Through Instagram Stories

There are a few key considerations to remember when running ads through Instagram Stories to ensure the most successful campaign possible.

1. Focus on targeting 

One important thing to pay attention to when running ads through Instagram Stories is targeting. 

It’s important to ensure that the ads are being shown to the right audience, as this can help to increase their effectiveness. 

To do this, businesses should carefully select their targeting criteria, such as…

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests

2. Keep the creative elements alive

It’s also key to pay attention to the creative elements of an Instagram Story ad, such as the images, text, and graphics used. 

These elements should be visually appealing, aligned with the brand's aesthetic, and relevant and engaging to the target audience.

Another important element to consider is the Story ad dimensions.

The perfect Instagram Story ad dimensions depend on the type of ad you're creating. 

Here are the recommended dimensions for each type of Instagram Story ad:

  • Image ads: 1080 pixels by 1080 pixels
  • Video ads: 1080 pixels by 1080 pixels
  • Carousel ads: 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels for each image or video
  • Collection ads: 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels for the cover image and a minimum of 600 pixels by 600 pixels for product images

It's important to note that these dimensions are just guidelines, and Instagram may adjust the size of your ad to fit the device it's being viewed on. 

For example, if your ad is being viewed on a phone with a smaller screen, it may be displayed at a smaller size. 

It's always a good idea to test your ads to ensure they look good on various devices and screen sizes.

In general, try to create high-resolution Instagram Story ads with a clear, eye-catching design. 

This will help ensure that your ads stand out and capture the attention of your target audience.

Author’s Tip: When creating Instagram Story ads, it's important to consider the file size and format of the images or videos being used. JPG and PNG are both commonly used file formats for Instagram Story ads. 

Using templates or overlays to make the ad more visually appealing is also a good idea.

3. Don’t forget about the call to action (CTA)

To drive conversions and achieve your desired outcome, it's important to include a punchy CTA in your Instagram Story ad to encourage users to take further action. 

Milkshake's carousel ad set shows you the three steps to create a website and includes a strong CTA on the end screen. 

Author’s Tip: Position the CTA in a prominent location so that it is easy for users to see and take action.

4. Collaborate with content creators

First things first: it's important to work with content creators who align with your brand values and message as this will increase your chances of creating collaborations that feel natural and authentic. 

Look for content creators with a large and engaged following and a track record of creating high-quality content that resonates with their audience. 

To ensure creators are producing relevant content, fill in a creative brief for each content project. This can help you clearly communicate your needs and expectations to the content creator, further increasing the chances that the final product will meet your standards.

With an easy-to-use briefing template, you can go through all of your campaign’s requirements quickly and efficiently (and be as detailed as you want) minimizing the need for edits and ensuring better results.

For an easier briefing process, you can use Insense.

Insense allows you to include lots of relevant details in your briefs, including: 

  • The campaign format (type, objective, platform, price range per campaign, and type of influencer partnership) 
  • Product details (photos, USPs, descriptions, and delivery information)
  • Creator requirements (location, category, gender, age, ethnicity, followers, and screening questions) 
  • Creative assets requirements (such as media type and content type)

5. Keep an eye on tracking and measurement

It’s beyond important to track and measure the performance of Instagram Story ads, to ensure that they’re effective and to identify any areas for improvement. 

Businesses can use Instagram's built-in analytics and tracking tools and third-party tools to track metrics such as reach, impressions, clicks, and conversions.

Altogether, paying attention to these five things when running ads through Instagram Stories can help businesses to create effective and successful campaigns that drive results.

Real-Life Examples of Instagram Stories Ads That Delivered Results

Get ready to boost your advertising game with these examples that are sure to provide some valuable insights and inspiration.

Sit back, take some notes, and learn from the pros!

1. Tokopedia

Ready to boost your business with Instagram Story ads? Just take a cue from Tokopedia, Indonesia's top search engine. 

It used Instagram Story ads to engage with its young target audience and drive website traffic and conversions. 

And it paid off big time – in just three days, Tokopedia saw a 2.2X increase in unique store visits, a 67% increase in product page views, a 2x increase in sales of featured products, and a 3.1x increase in online store visits for featured brands. How did they do it? 

By leveraging the busy year-end sales period and creating an extensive strategy combining influencers with Instagram campaigns. 

They also ran ads optimized for conversions and retargeted to people who had used the app, visited the website, or made a purchase in the last quarter. Talk about a successful ad campaign!

2. Nike

Nike knows how to kill it on Instagram for its social media marketing purposes.

But the brand also knows how to use Instagram Story ads.

Incorporating full-screen, high-quality video ads, Nike was able to drive significant video views and engagement with its ad creative.

To further increase the reach of those ads, Nike employed automatic placements, allowing its Instagram Stories ads to appear in its Facebook news feed as well. 

This increased the brand's visibility and brought it to an even wider audience.

In addition to using automatic placements, Nike also took advantage of various Instagram features, such as polls and stickers, to increase user interaction with the ads. 

By consistently creating engaging ad content and testing different ad formats and specs, the brand was able to optimize its campaigns and drive strong results.

Also, by paying attention to targeting, ad creative, and ad placements, businesses can effectively use Instagram Stories for their marketing efforts.

3. Sephora

Sephora is currently seeing great success with Instagram.

One contributing factor to Sephora's current success with Instagram is its use of static images and video content in its Story ads to showcase products and drive traffic to its website.

Besides, the brand name used Instagram Business and Instagram Pixels to help its ads reach more people and be shown to specific users. 

By using different ad placements and targeting the right audience, Sephora could show its products to the right people. 

In addition to paid ads, Sephora also used organic Instagram Stories to connect with its audience and increase brand awareness. 

By regularly posting Instagram Stories, it got more people interested in the brand and visiting its website. 

Overall, Sephora successfully used both paid and organic Instagram Stories to advertise on Instagram.

Now Over to You

And that's a wrap! 

With this complete guide to Instagram Stories ads for 2023, you're now equipped with all the knowledge you need to create effective and engaging ads for your business. 

If you need to outsource your content creation process to creative talent, our platform can help you out.

Book a demo with Insense and see how easy it is to find creators for your content needs!

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Manu Sheen

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