How to Make Instagram Ads: With Examples!

More than 500 million people now use Instagram Stories worldwide.

And with organic reach of over 5%, Stories are one of the best ways to connect with your audience on social media. But if you really want to supercharge your marketing on Instagram, it’s worth experimenting with Instagram Stories ads in addition to regular Instagram ads.

As a fairly new ad format, you can still get disproportionate returns from Stories ads and more bang for your buck than on other channels. For example, look no further than Buffer, who recently shared it was generating clicks for $0.06 from Instagram Stories ads.

Below we’ve shared eight awesome Instagram Stories ad examples that highlight some of the platform’s best practices, top strategies and proven techniques for creating successful campaigns.

What are Instagram Stories ads?

Instagram Stories ads appear between Stories posted by users and can last up to 15 seconds, they appear full-screen so they’re incredibly engaging and give your business the chance to fully grab the user's attention.

The Stories ad format allows you to include audio (according to Instagram, 60% of all those who view Stories have sound on), video and text. 


8 Instagram Stories ad examples

We’ve shortlisted eight Instagram Stories ad examples that we think you’ll love. Check them out below: 

1.  Waterdrop: A campaign that generated a 24% increase in sales

Waterdrop Instagram Stories Ad

Waterdrop, a brand that enriches water with fruit and plant extracts to help you drink more, used Instagram Stories ads to generate a 24% increase in sales (compared to the previous month).

The brand designed creative for the campaign in the 16:9 format that perfectly fits Instagram Stories. Its creative also mirrored the type of content a user would expect from Stories, with a video shot from the star’s perspective as she walked through a city holding a bottle of water.

This worked because it didn’t instantly look like an ad — it could have easily been a post from a friend as it aligned with the style of content a Stories user would expect.

Alongside a sales boost of 24% compared the previous month, the campaign reached 1.8 million people over a 10-day period and helped Waterdrop to increase its web traffic by 8.4x.

2. Freshly Cosmetics: Increasing web traffic by 12x

Freshly Cosmetics Instagram Stories Ad

This campaign from Freshly Cosmetics aimed to drive people towards its website to buy their products.

The campaign used native Instagram text features to explain how the products work, and by using native features, the text felt familiar to many Instagram Stories users. To increase engagement, the ad also opened up with a question asking viewers to share their thoughts and experiences with Freshly Cosmetics.

Targeting people in Spain, the campaign was incredibly successful for the brand as it boosted website visits by 12x, resulting in a 9x sales increase.

3. Gymshark: A Stories ad campaign that generated 2,400 sales

Gymshark Instagram Stories Ad

Fitness sells. And Gymshark, one of the hottest brands in the health and fitness space, has made a name for itself by embracing social media platforms like Instagram.

When the brand was launching its “Flex” clothing line it wanted to connect with people who would buy its product. It turned to Instagram Stories ads to create a campaign that would encourage its audience to visit its store and make a purchase.

The ad featured a vibrant background, an image of someone wearing its new product and a very clear ‘Swipe Up’ CTA that encouraged people to visit the brand’s website and view the products.

According to Instagram, Gymshark secured 2,400 orders for the new line from this ad, and an impressive 9x return on ad spend.

4. paysafecard: Boosting brand searches using Stories Ads

PaySafeCard Instagram Stories Ad

paysafecard is a pre-payment card business that wanted to target an audience of gamers in order to build brand awareness.

To grab gamer’s attention, the campaign needed to be creative and feel relatable. Here’s how paysafecard achieved both of these goals:

  • Creative: The ads were created in a meme-like format with an animation of a paysafecard inside an emergency box with the copy “In case of Steam Sale Break Glass.”

  • Relatable: Steam is a well-known brand amongst paysafecard’s target audience of gamers. Knowing that many of its audience likely use Steam to play games, the inclusion of the Steam name and logo made the ads feel instantly relatable.

The campaign led to to 6,000 internet searches for a sales outlet paysafecard’s and it saw a 76% lower cost per conversion with ads in Instagram Stories vs other ad formats.

5. AppSee: Lowering cost per lead for a B2B company

AppSee Instagram Stories Ad

Instagram Stories ads can also work well for B2B companies as AppSee proves.

AppSee, an Israel-based company that offers qualitative app analytics, used Instagram Stories ads to retarget users it had already connected with in the Instagram feed.

The campaign aimed to encourage mobile product managers and app developers to test out its product, and to do this, it demonstrated its product in action as part of the ad. It also included clear CTAs and told users they could sign up for a free trial by swiping up.

The campaign helped AppSee to lower its cost per qualified lead by 25% and it also saw a 3.4x increase in click-through rate when compared to other ad-types.

 6. Mainline Menswear: Reaching 1.3 million people

Mainline Menswear Instagram Stories Ad

When Mainline Menswear wanted to get its brand in front of more people, it invested in an Instagram Stories ad campaign that resulted in an 21-point increase of unaided brand awareness (the percentage of respondents aware of your product, brand, or advertising when surveyed).

Stories ads gave Mainline Menswear the chance to showcase its various products with its branding also featured heavily throughout the videos. Each ad also included a link where viewers could learn more about the company from its website. 

Over the course of the campaign, the ads helped Mainline Menswear to reach more than 1.3 million people as well as boosting brand recognition and recall.

7. Morhipo: 45% lower cost per customer with Stories ads

Morhipo Instagram Stories Ad

Fashion brand, Morhipo, had already seen success with ads in the Facebook and Instagram feeds before it decided to test out Stories ads to see if the new placement could increase sales.

To test out Stories ads, Morhipo created full-screen content specifically for Stories and then ran those ads against ads in the Instagram feed. From this test, the brand saw a significant dip (45%) in cost per acquisition with Stories when compared to the cost per acquisition from the Instagram feed.

This campaign shows that you should always be looking to test and experiment with new creative and placements for your campaigns.

8. Simba: A 73% higher return on ad spend

SIMBA Instagram Stories Ad

Simba mattresses is one of the rising stars of the sleep industry, and like the other examples we shared today, the business has had great success with Instagram Stories ads.

Simba turned to Stories ads as a way to showcase its product and visually demonstrate the layers of its mattresses. But the creative was only a part of what made this campaign so successful…

To connect with the right people, at the right time, and with the right message, Simba segmented its audiences based on their behaviours. For example, it created audiences for people that had:

  • Visited its website, and;

  • Added a product to their basket

By continuously testing various creative and messaging with each audience, Simba was able to uncover what worked best at each stage of its customer journey.

The campaign generated serious results. After five months of testing and optimizations, Simba was able to:

  • Lower cost per click by 31%

  • Lower cost per purchase by 45%

  • Increase return on ad spend by 73%

Pro-tips for creating epic Instagram Stories Ads

Instagram Stories ads take time to master, and their full-screen nature make them significantly different from many other social media ad formats.

So what makes a high-quality Instagram Stories ad? Here are a three pro-tips we picked up from analyzing tons of great ads:

#1 Grab their Attention- FAST!

it's vitally important that you grab your viewers attention within the first few seconds: Locking in the users' attention in the first 2-3 seconds is vital. Unlike YouTube ads, users don’t have a minimum of 6 seconds to wait before skipping, if your ad doesn't instantly grab attention the viewer can skip instantly and return to content posted by their friends and brands they follow on Instagram.

#2 Vertical Format: Making the Most of the Space

Make the most of the vertical format: The best Instagram Stories ads use all of the screen real estate available. Instagram users are used to seeing full-screen stories and in order to ensure your ads feel native to the format, you should create ads that use all the space available to you.

#3 Embrace Simplicity

Embrace simplicity, but be creative: The best Instagram Stories ads don’t have too much noise. They have a simple, clear message that’s often shared in creative ways. Some brands have found that “less produced” content works better and if you can make your ads feel like native Instagram Stories content, you have more chance of encouraging the viewer to engage with your ad.

How to Make an Instagram Ad

New to advertising on Instagram? Let's help jump start your journey!

#1 Create a Business Page/Profile

In order to advertise on Instagram, you're going to need to create a business page and profile. You can do this HERE.

#2 Create an Instagram Ad

Select an ad objective, (clicks, sales or engagement) a target audience and an ad format. You can learn more about each Instagram ad format HERE.

Another option is to promote a post you've already made on Instagram. You'll get a suggestion to share based on who instagram thinks will interact with your ad. We recommend you use this feature!

#3 Pick a Budget

Now it's time to decide how long your ads are going to be running and how much you want to spend! 💲💲💲

#4 Publish Time!

It's go time! Hit "publish" and watch the results of your hard work play out.

Hopefully these inspiring Instagram Stories ad examples will spark ideas for your next advertising campaigns. Let us know in the comments below what brands you’ve noticed that caught your attention with their Instagram Stories Ads, we’d love to hear what companies are rocking it!

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AuthorKeith Kakadia

I am a native of New Orleans, LA with a passion for social media marketing, entrepreneurship, and making new connections. I enjoy the opportunity to work with amazing individuals and brands everyday.

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