A Complete Guide For Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads

Today I’m gonna take you through how to get going the right way with Instagram story ads. By the end of this article, you will be ready to run your very first ad and be really confident that it’s gonna work well. (upbeat music) When we talk about making Instagram creative, it can feel a little intimidating. You have to have fancy lights, expensive cameras, but you really don’t. 

Make sure you stay till the end of the article where I’m gonna show you some of the free tools Instagram provides to make really great videos. 

So one of the things that might feel a little bit different about running Instagram story ads is that you don’t run it through Instagram, you run it through your business manager in Facebook. Also, Check- good private story names

But the first thing you’re gonna want to do is go into ads manager and click Create, nice big green button. You can’t miss it. You’re gonna name your campaign whatever you’d like to name it. Under Buying Type, you’re gonna leave it as auction, and Campaign Objective is where you have some different choices. 

Compatible with Instagram stories

Now, not all of these are gonna be compatible with Instagram stories. Most of them are. Usually what you’re gonna be choosing is something like brand awareness or traffic or conversions. And let’s say that we pick conversions. 

All you’re gonna wind up doing is putting in the name of your ad sets. Kind of like a parent-child relationship, campaigns are just the broader area. Ad sets are the things where you pick things like your target your location, your budget. 

So the campaign is basically just what is your objective. And other than that, pretty much all the other targeting goes in at the ad set level. Then underneath the ad set level, that’s where your creative lives. 

So let’s go into ad sets so you can see exactly how you choose Instagram stories as a placement. When you’re on your main screen for campaigns, you’ll see these are these tabs along the top. So you have Campaigns, Ad Sets, like I said, which is kind of that parent-child relationship. And then all of the creative you’re running. Go into Ad Sets. Also, Check- funny private story names

This is where you can create a new one if you haven’t already. Or if you created one in that last step, when you set up your campaign, you’re gonna see it listed here. You can click Create. When you create an ad set, you’re gonna first choose where you want the traffic to go. 

Because we’re in stories, we’re gonna want to drive it to our website. So that’s where it’s gonna default to and you can just leave it there, Budget and Schedule, this is where you can determine your daily budget. This is going to change in 2020. 

Don’t panic

So if you open this up and you don’t see it, don’t panic. It just means that you’re in the next iteration of Facebook already. Here’s where start choosing things like your audience. This is where you would choose things like custom audiences. 

If you created a remarketing audience you want to run to, if you created something like a lookalike audience, all of those are gonna exist in here. So when you click into it, it’s gonna create a drop-down, you can search for ones that already exist under look-alikes or customs. 

And that’s where those are. You can also set up exclusionary audiences. So if there are people that have already converted, not a lot of sense and showing them ads for things that are meant to be top of the funnel. 

When you click exclude, you’ll get another field just like the top one with all the same options. The only difference is you’re saying I don’t want those people to see the ad. Next, you’re gonna pick where your users are located. So one of the things that you have to think about with this is not everyone in every location is who you want. 

And here’s what I mean by that. You have everyone in this location. So whether they live there, they’re just passing through, they’re traveling is literally everybody that is in the location that you specify. 

Live Locations

There are people who live in the locations. If someone’s just traveling to your city for a day that you’re targeting and you do HVAC work, you don’t really want to show your ad to them to get air-conditioned service because they don’t live there. 

People recently in this location, and then also people traveling in this location. So maybe if you’re a Tourism Bureau or something like that you actually want people that don’t live there. You can pick the United States, you can pick zip codes, you can pick a radius around certain areas. 

You can also pick DMA levels, you can pick your ages, you can choose your genders. If you want to specify a language, you can. A lot of times that’s helpful if you’re running in states that are more heavily bilingual. 

Those are some decisions you can make. Detailed targeting is where you get into Facebook’s own targeting. These are things that they have predefined as user types. Maybe they just switch jobs. You can pick things like their parents to have a toddler, their parents have a high schooler. 

You’ll also find that it gives you suggestions. So if we typed in a new job, and we click suggestions, you’re gonna see that there’s a whole bunch of other things under interests, employers, job titles, other interests that are related that you can also choose. So the next section you’re gonna see is placement types. 

 Automatic placements

It automatically checks off automatic placements. If you click Edit placements, it’s gonna show you all have what that means when it comes to all placements. And as you can see, it’s a lot. So it organizes it by feeds and you can see everything that is part of the feed world. It’s gonna then show you stories, which now there are three and I’m sure that will continue to grow. 

Then you also have in-stream videos, search results when people search on Facebook, things that show up in Messenger, the list goes on and on and on. For today’s purposes, what we’re worried about is stories. If you’re just starting with Instagram story ads, my advice is to leave it bundled with the feeds. 

You might not want to run in-stream and all this other stuff. So just uncheck all of that, but you’d want to leave stories and feeds checked. It’ll create a little bit more efficiency when you’re first getting started. One thing to be aware of though, is that when you leave them checked, they’re gonna try and show your Facebook creative in the story creative. 

The final section you’re gonna see is on optimization and delivering. For the purposes of this, we’re just gonna let it set to have Facebook auto bid based on what it feels the value of the traffic is. You’re pretty much done setting up your ad set so you can click Publish and move on to making your creative. Next, we’re gonna go into your Ads tab. 

And this is where all of your creative lives. You can also click the great big Create button. That’ll take you to a nice fresh ad that you can start from scratch. In this example, I went ahead and just dropped in an image and got it started just a little bit. 

Plain old picture with a basic headline

All we have here is just a plain old picture with a basic headline. And we’ll put some primary text here. So I just want to briefly show you what happens when you actually preview this in other placements. So this default over here shows you what it looks like in the Facebook feed. If you go over here, you’re gonna see options to view it in different ways. 

So if you click on Instagram and you get on to Instagram stories, you’re gonna see it looks very different. So this is part of the reason why we want to specify different creative for stories because look at all this space you’re not using. Huge wasted opportunity. You’re gonna see there’s this helpful little informational pane that tells you that there are four placements using this image. Below it there’s this handy little thing that says Select a placement to customize. 

When you click on that it’s gonna give you the option to say I want to use different creative for this specific area. That way, you’re not having to set up a whole separate ad set, re-choose all your stuff. You can leave it the way it is but still carve out some specialized area. 

So if you go in here and you choose Instagram stories, it’s gonna open up a creation pane for you. And this is why I said before, you don’t have to have a bunch of fancy tools to do this right because they provide a lot of stuff that will get you started. 

Your campaign

If you don’t have this option, something to look at is the objective that you chose for your campaign way back at the campaign level. While Instagram story ads and placement customization are both things that are available in most ad types, sometimes there are campaign objectives that don’t support them. 

So things like brand awareness lift or some of the other more obscure ones don’t have these types of options. If this doesn’t appear for you just make sure that you’ve chosen one of the campaign types that actually supports it. 

One of the things that I love that they just added in the past year that they didn’t have were templates. You were kind of on your own. They’re like here’s a screen, make something great. It’s difficult when you’re first starting because you don’t really know what users are gonna like. 

One of the tools I love to use is in the upper left-hand corner where it says Change Template. What you’re seeing when it defaults like this is actually a template. Don’t really know who would want to use it. But technically, you can use it as a template if you want to. 

But if you click on this, it’s gonna open up a whole new world of all different kinds of templates you can use. They have different looks, different feels. And so you can pick stuff that’s actually gonna match your brand a little bit more. 


They even have full-screen ones, if you want to go full screen. These all have even more options inside each of these templates. It’s gonna default to certain colors, crop the picture a certain way, but you can change it. So if you go all the way to the bottom on Creative tools, you can pick a different background color. 

So if you don’t want the blue, you can pick a hex code if you want to get that specific to match your brand. But you have all these different options for how you can make this feel a little less stock and a little more like you. You can also do things like add music so they have royalty-free music that you can use. And then they also have called to action effects. 

I like these because they’re a lot more interesting than the regular old ones learn more than you see. You can pick things that will animate and you can make them different colors. So you can make it much more interactive and it sticks out a lot more and draws the eye down there instead of just relying on the plain old white learn more thing to get it done. 

If the image or video you’re using is landscape, a story add is vertical. So one of the things you want to make sure you look at is in the media section on the left, there are different cropping options. And some of them might look a lot better. So this is a beautiful photograph. 

But maybe you really just want to focus more on the train. Cropping to one square can actually help you if you want to do that.It draws the user’s eye to what it is you actually want them to look at. Now you have this nice big picture that takes up more of the space, it draws the focal point of the eye to where you actually want users looking, it doesn’t feel so far away. 

Separate creative just for stories

So that’s how you can specify separate creative just for stories. You can add multiple options. So if you want to rotate through different text, you can just hit the add another option button and it’s gonna bring up a field for you to put in another test. 

You can test different kinds of templates, different kinds of ad copy, different headlines, even different calls to action, all within the interface without having to make a bunch of different ad creatives or make them on your own and upload them all. 

Something that may happen when you pick a template, you might realize you’re not really thrilled with the picture that you’re using for it. It’s really easy to change that out. If you go to the upper left-hand side there, you’ll see the option for Change. 

And if you click on it, it’s gonna open up your full image library. And at the top, you can also toggle to the right and choose video. Your video options are gonna be the same as what you have for images. So you’ll still have the cropping, the calls to action, and all those little bells and whistles that will still play if it’s a video. 

If you have a video that you’ve specifically created for your Instagram story ad placement, it’s a little weird how you have to choose it. It’s not like it is when you choose it for a feed. When you’re taken into that area of specifying the separate creative, what you’re gonna want to do is, click on this area that says Change. 

In this case, we’re gonna choose me and you’ll see once you do that it loads the video and it takes up the whole screen, and then at that point, you’re done. You can just click Save and that will only run for the stories. 

 Tools that are made by Instagram

So as promised in the beginning, I have a couple of recommendations for tools that are made by Instagram that are gonna help your videos feel a little less advertising and a little more organic. The first tool I want to tell you about is called Hyperlapse. It’s an app that you can download from the store. 

It just shows up as a screen with a button. So you can hit record. But when you’re done, you’re gonna have a video file, and it’s gonna give you the option to fast forward through it at a rate which you choose. 

This is a really good way and easy way to show timelapse. So if there’s something that you’re selling that happens over a length of time, or you want to show how quick and easy something is, or you want to show an unboxing video. If it’s something longer, but it’s compelling, you can start making some Hyperlapse videos that will integrate seamlessly into the ads that you’re running. 

People run them in stories all the time. It’s gonna look very natural for users to see them as they’re scrolling through. Something important to know is that once you save the video, it doesn’t keep it in Hyperlapse. It’s gonna save it to the camera roll on your phone. 

The other app I want to tell you about is one called Boomerang. You may have seen these in your feed. It looks like kind of an animated GIF that’s just reloaded over and over and it lasts about three seconds. 

Final Words

They’re very easy to make on your phone, much easier than it would be if you try and make it manually. Just like Hyperlapse, Boomerang is a standalone app that’s made by Instagram. So just like with Hyperlapse, you’re gonna have a screen with a white button. 

And that’s where you can record your few seconds of what you’re gonna have and then it’ll automatically just play it over and over. One of the strange little quirks about these two tools is they are made by Instagram, but they don’t integrate seamlessly with ads manager. 

You have to treat these like a completely separate video file. So once you have them, you’re gonna have to essentially email them to yourself or download them onto your computer. 

And then when you go into ads manager, you’re gonna upload it as if it’s a completely separate creative that you made on your own. 

Speaking of functionality in stories, one of the things that are getting exciting is they are starting to roll out some of those things you see organically in stories as options and ads.