Have you embraced the growing trend of micro content yet? Are you publishing Instagram and Facebook Stories regularly for your business?
Savvy small business owners are easily reaching and engaging their audiences using fun, relevant and creative content in the Stories format.
As explained in my article, 5 Ideas to Use Instagram Stories to Drive Small Business Growth, a Story is a piece of micro-content that disappears after 24 hours. Stories are mobile optimized with full screen, short vertical videos, images, stickers and other fun, interactive features. The Stories format is available on both Instagram and Facebook.
If you have a personal or business Instagram account, you have Stories!
With over 400 million daily active users on Instagram Stories, this micro content feature is prime real estate to easily reach your target audience. According to Instagram, one in three of the most viewed Stories are from businesses. So, all the more reason to get going with Stories in 2019.
Instagram Stories and Stories ads are available to businesses worldwide. If you are currently using your Instagram personal profile for business, I would strongly recommend converting to an Instagram Business Profile as you’ll get access to helpful analytics, a CTA button for your profile, integration to third party tools for scheduling and other benefits.
The Facebook Stories format is a bit slower to catch on, with 300 million daily active users. But, Facebook is determined to ensure this format is just as popular (if not more, eventually) with new features for businesses rolling out regularly.
Placing ads in the Stories format provides small business owners a refreshing alternative to news feed ads.
“Stories are the future.” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook, Q3 2018 earnings call
Stories creation and consumption is growing at 15X the rate of feed content. The Stories format will eventually usurp the feed format as we know it. Or Facebook and Instagram may create a hybrid of both formats later this year.
Why Stories ads?
Both Instagram and Facebook Stories ads appear at the top of people’s feed in between organic Stories. Videos display for up to 15 seconds and images for up to 6 seconds. Users tap or swipe to navigate back or forward. Stories are always full screen and vertical, which provides a fully immersive, distraction-free experience for users.
Advertisers can include calls to action and links. Links open up inside the native Facebook and Instagram mobile app, allowing the user to browse, take action and return to exactly where they were all without leaving the app. This last part is vital to the user experience. It allows the user to maintain control. To tap and swipe, engaging with your content, and then return to where they left off.
How to create Stories ads
Take a look at Facebook’s Creative Hub to optimize your creative process and save valuable time. Mock up, preview and test Facebook and Instagram ads here.
My favorite tool for creating video Stories ads is Wave.video. Choose from hundreds of millions of royalty free assets, or upload your own. Add text overlay, stickers, GIFs, logos, music and more. You can easily create a video in landscape or square formats, and at the click of a button convert to the 9:16 vertical video Story format. [Editor’s note: Mari Smith is an ambassador for Wave.video.]
You could also create still image Stories ads using a tool such as Canva. They have some gorgeous premade templates you can use.
A great mobile app for creating Stories is Unfold.
Where to set up Stories ads
To place ads in Stories on either Facebook and/or Instagram, use Ads Manager.
If you are already placing ads, you might already be using the Stories ads format without even realizing it. Any qualifying ads that you create in Facebook Ads Manager already show up in the Instagram and/or Facebook Stories placement by default.
Instagram Stories ads are available as a standalone placement using Ads Manager.
Facebook Stories ads is included when you leave the default Automatic Placements. Currently, you can't select Facebook Stories as a standalone placement when you create an ad.
Stories ad formats
- Instagram: Single image, single video, canvas, and carousel (where you can place up to 10 ‘cards’ in a single ad).
- Facebook: Single image, single video.
Stories ad design specs
- Image aspect ratios: 9:16 and 4:5 to 1.91:1
- Video: 15 seconds
- Full Instagram and Facebook Story ad specs.
Stories ad calls-to-action
Just as you can add any of the available CTA buttons to regular ads, you can include one of these on your Story ads: Apply Now, Book Now, Contact Us, Download, Learn More, Get Showtimes, Request Time, See Menu, Shop Now, Sign Up, Watch More, Listen Now, Subscribe
Stories ad objectives
Only certain ad objectives can be used with Stories ads. These are: Reach, Traffic, App installs, Video views, Brand Awareness, Lead Generation or Conversions.
Get inspiration for your Stories Ads
- Check out Instagram’s own library of Stories Ads case studies.
- Facebook also has a vast array of Stories in Ads examples on its Success Stories site.
- See this fabulous infographic by 99firms - How Businesses Use Instagram Stories: 30 Case Studies.
- Facebook Stories ad case study of Bux app by MakeMeReach.com.
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About Mari Smith
Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.
Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.
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