How to Capitalize Off of Instagram’s Growing Ad Share

Max Engler
October 30, 2019

In August of 2018, it was reported that Instagram ad spend growth was growing exponentially. Instagram was seeing 4x the rate of ad spend growth in comparison to Facebook. While Instagram, overall, might be leveling out, according to Kenshoo’s quarterly trends for Q2 of 2019, Instagram Story ads have grown their ad share from 9% to a whopping 18% YoY.

Due to the newness of Instagram Story ads, many advertisers are failing to capitalize on the full power of these placements. Instagram Story ads require different specs than typical mobile placements. By utilizing vertical landscape specs, 9:16; 1080×1920 pixels you can create images that are aesthetically pleasing to the user and take advantage of cheaper CPCs via Instagram Stories. Certain instances might even warrant running story-only ad placements as an additional campaign within the account.

While we’re excited to see the growth of Instagram Story ads, the most valuable part of these ad placements is the impact it has on user behavior.

The biggest benefit of Instagram Story specs is creating content that promotes engagement with the user. This can come in the form of using customer photos for ads or creating polls. Below are examples of some of our favorites:

Using customer images in story ads

Anthropologie ad, blonde woman on bike with a hat in California

Anthropologie created ads that utilize photos submitted by their customers. This not only entices users to take photos in their Anthropologie clothing for organic content but also makes the user feel valued by the brand.

Utilizing the poll feature

Sephora Instagram ad, powder vs. liquid foundation

Polls allow the user to interact with the ad and feel more connected to the brand. Another added benefit is that users can share this story ad with their friends, further expanding brand reach.

Integrating animated ads

Another option for Instagram Story ads is using GIFs or videos to capture users’ attention. We recently tested animated ads vs. static ads with the same promotion to see which would perform better for one of our e-commerce clients. Animated story ads resulted in a 7% higher average order value and a 21% higher purchase rate than their static counterparts.

gif of woman in athletic gear kicking the air, apple promotion

Utilizing the template feature

In response to the growing ad share for Instagram stories, Facebook has given advertisers more control of their creative. Rolled out earlier this year, Facebook began allowing advertisers to customize ad copy and utilize templates to enhance Instagram stories.

Template feature for social media apps

The template feature can be used to optimize non-vertical portrait images (vertical portraits are 1080 x 1920 pixels, 9:16 ratio). These customizable templates allow you to make distinct headlines, background colors, and even music for Instagram story ads.

What does this mean for you?

Social advertising relies heavily on using creative to help improve performance. With more than 500 million people using Instagram stories as of January 2019, it’s time to take advantage and stand out from your competitors. Instagram Story’s ad share will continue to rise as more advertisers opt-in into this placement.

In order to see what generates a stronger user response, consider testing different creative—especially before CPCs for Instagram Story placements rise.

As we head into Q4, creating ads that stick out to users will be crucial as these placements become more congested with different brands. With customizable features at your fingertips, you’ll be doing your business a disservice by not utilizing features within Facebook ads manager.

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Max Engler
Manager, Search & Social Advertising

Max Engler is a Minnetonka, Minnesota native who trekked to Indiana University for college. When he’s not working in digital marketing, Max enjoys researching and reselling men’s clothing. He nerds out over the different label designs on the back of T-shirts.

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