Instagram Story Ads // Rules and Best Practices

Did you know that from 2018 to 2019 the amount of daily users using Instagram Stories grew by 100 million?

Instagram reported at the beginning of the year that they now have 500 million people using stories daily!

The roll-out of Instagram Story ads and full-screen Canvas ads has allowed digital marketers to utilise the many creative features of Canvas to tell visually entertaining brand and product stories. But, more opportunities for ads also means more competition on Instagram.

If you’re using Instagram Stories for your business, you need to ensure your content is really hitting home with your audience. Instagram Stories should do just that – tell a story about your brand.

In this post we’ll show you how to get started with Instagram Story ads. We will explain some rules and best practices that will help you achieve impressive results with Instagram Stories.

Let’s get started with Instagram Story ads

If you’re new to Instagram Ads, here’s everything you need to know to get started.  Let’s do a quick recap!

1.  Pick your objective

What are you hoping to achieve with this ad campaign? You can choose from a variety of objectives including:

  • reach
  • brand awareness
  • traffic
  • engagement
  • app installs
  • video views
  • lead generation
  • conversion

2. Work on your ad creative

This content needs to match what you are trying to achieve with your objective. If you need some help with developing Stories we’ve made a list of some hacks that might help you.

3. Make sure you are using the correct dimensions

For image ads:

  • The recommended resolution is 1080 X 1920 pixels
  • Maintain a resolution of at least 600 X 1067 pixels
  • Maintain an aspect ratio of 9:16
  • Use either JPG or PNG format
  • Maximum size allowed is 30MB

For video ads:

  • The recommended resolution is 1080 X 1920 pixels
  • Maintain an aspect ratio of 9:16
  • Use either MP4 or MOV format
  • Maximum size allowed is 4GB
  • It should have a resolution of at least 720p

4. Pick your target audience

Instagram lets you target users based on:

  • location
  • gender
  • language
  • interests
  • behaviours
  • age

5. Ad placement

Make sure you’re not just copying your Facebook audience. Your followers on Facebook and Instagram can be very different from each other.

6. Finish with a strong CTA

You want your call to action to align with your objective. Make sure you are asking viewers something along the lines of “swipe up”, “learn more”, “buy now”. What ever it is, make sure it flows smoothly with your content.

Best Practices to help with your success

1. Make the most of the first few seconds

We all swipe through ads pretty quickly on Instagram, so get to your point EARLY!

It helps to experiment with different fonts, colours, stickers, emojis and other features so you can best appeal to your audience.

lumen 5

2. Use Influencers

Influencers are massive on Instagram. We’ve got some pretty great influencers in Perth too!

Using Influencers is a great way to amplify your content and have your ads seen by a large amount of followers who align with your brand.

The example below is a successful influencer marketing campaign between Fiji Water and Danielle Berstein’s fashion blog. The campaign offered 8-minute workout videos with Bernstein and her personal trainer. The campaign showed how Fiji Water can keep those wanting to stay fit hydrated at all times.


fiji water


It’s a good idea to communicate with your desired influencer before creating content. Influencers tend to have a pretty good understanding of their audience and by brainstorming with them you can better develop compelling content that their followers will enjoy.

3. Keep your brand strong

It’s easy to get carried away with all the features on Instragram Ads, but make sure viewers can always identify your brand.

Below are some key things to remember:

  • Make sure no other elements block your brand logo that is displayed at the top left of the screen.
  • Use minimal colours and fonts so your brand name is easily recognisable
  • Focus on your product or service

google nest


What practices do you suggest for Instagram Story Ads? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Want to learn even more? Check out our Facebook & Instagram workshop in Perth or our on-demand course.

Sean Huxley
Sean graduated from Murdoch University in 2017 and went from intern to Account Manager with Coffey & Tea. He also contributes to Social Media Perth.