Instagram Story Ad

In August 2016, six years after its foundation, Instagram launched Insta Stories, and they have since then become one of the most beloved ways to publish and view the content for over 500 million people daily. Naturally, after seeing such popularity, brands were quick to hop on the Stories train. Not only do marketers use this format to engage Instagram followers, but also 4 million businesses eagerly advertise their products and services using Instagram Stories ads every month. The question may arise: what are Instagram Story ads anyway?

In this post, we will take a closer look at Instagram story advertising and cover why use Instagram Stories ads.

How do you post a story ad on Instagram?

Let’s take it from the top by defining what Instagram Stories are. These are a way to publish photos, videos, and other content for 24 hours. Instagram Stories appear at the top of the Instagram feed, which makes them more discoverable. To post a story, you need to use Instagram mobile app where you can either upload your content or create it right in the app.

Instagram Stories are interactive in several ways. First, people can react to them or send a message as a response. Also, publishers can give their followers other ways to interact with their stories, such as polls, quizzes, donations, and more.

People can choose whether they want to publish their content for all their followers or only for a selected number of people — Close friends.

You should consider using Instagram Stories for several reasons:

  • to increase brand awareness — 58% of interviewed people say the level of their interest in a brand increased after watching Instagram Stories;
  • to drive more people to your store — 50% of interviewed people admitted that they visited an online store after a story;
  • to engage your existing and potential customers with interactive content.

How to advertise on Instagram Stories

To create Instagram story ads, you need to go to Ads Manager. From there, you can either Create a new campaign or Use an existing one.

In the Ad Set settings, after choosing your budget and audiences, you will need to choose placement. To select only Instagram Stories format, choose Manual Placements. Then in the Platforms choose Instagram and in the Placements select Instagram Stories.

Next, you need to set up the creative in the Ad tab. You can either Create a new Ad, Use an existing post or Use Creative Hub Mockup. If you decide to create an Instagram Story ad from scratch, you can use a single image/video or a Carousel with 2 and more scrollable images and videos. To make your ads even more immersive with fullscreen mobile display, add Instant Experience.

Optionally, you can fill in Headline and Description fields. Then type in Primary text and set up tracking — here you can add the link to the page you want people to visit after they check your ad.

Sidenote: before, marketers could also use Power Editor for Instagram ads. However, now you don’t have to choose as Ads Manager has got all the features of Power Editor.

Also, there’s another way to promote your business on Instagram — using Instagram sponsored stories. This is a type of influencer marketing where you pay a celebrity or a blogger to promote your products and store in their Stories.

How long are Instagram story ads?

Now that you know how to run Instagram story ads, let’s address another common question — what is the max duration of the ad? It takes 5 seconds to display one image in Instagram Stories. If you use the Carousel format, you can select up to 10 images.

As for videos in your story ads, your audience will be able to see clips that are up to 15 seconds long. Instagram will divide longer videos and play up to three cards automatically before asking a person if they want to continue watching.

Instagram story ad dimensions


Image File Type: JPG or PNG

Ratio: 9:16

Resolution: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels

Maximum File Size: 30MB

Minimum Width: 500 pixels

Aspect Ratio Tolerance: 1%


File Type: MP4, MOV or GIF

Ratio: 4:5

Video Settings: H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan, and stereo AAC audio compression at 128kbps+

Resolution: At least 1080 x 1080 pixels

Video Duration: 1 second to 241 minutes

Maximum File Size: 4GB

Minimum Width: 120 pixels

Minimum Height: 120 pixelsYour videos don’t necessarily need to have a sound or captions, however, it is highly recommended as it may help increase the engagement with your ads.

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