How to Make Stellar Instagram Story Ads

A step-by-step guide - plus an unconventional twist.

No longer are users putting up with Instagram’s mystery algorithm and scrolling down their feeds. Instead they are interacting with Instagram and absorbing information in a new way by simply tapping through Stories. “Instagram Stories” is the new “Snapchat Stories,” allowing people to look through moments shared in real-time by friends, celebrities, companies, and influencers. There are endless possibilities for your business when it comes to this part of the platform, including these 5 organic uses.  Now, businesses can even create advertisements within Stories. We want to show you how to make them and the unconventional twist to make them that much better!

Step 1: Create Your Ad

Create your Instagram Story advertisement through Facebook’s Ad Manager. Go through the steps you typically would when setting up an ad; set objective, target audience, location, age, interests, etc. Make sure to edit your placement options in your ad set so Stories are included the mix. 


Step 2: Make a Story Ad

Upload a picture and input the text you want into the textbox.

The ad you will get is a square image in the middle of your Story and a black text box floating in the open space below it.









Step 3: Customize for Instagram

Facebook is consistently making updates to Ads Manager to let you “Customize for Instagram”. As seen above, the picture doesn’t fit the specs and the text is oddly placed, so using these extra features and always checking to see what else they may have added to make life easier is a must. One of the most important tools lets you crop your image or upload a new image that will fit the specs of a story ad.

To do this, click “Use a Different image for Other Placements” and select “Instagram Stories.”


Upload the same image as used for the other placements or choose a new one that can be cropped to a 16:9 ratio (minimum 500 x 889px).  As you can see, the image is no longer centered in the middle of the image and is now fully featured. However, you can no longer add text to be placed over the image when it is at the full specs – which isn’t totally a bad thing, since it is not the prettiest! This is where the unconventional twist comes in that will make your story look stellar.









Step 4: Think Outside the Box

Step away from the meager tools supplied inside Facebook's Ad Manager and look at what’s inside the little box called your phone. Make a better advertisement on your phone's Instagram app!

Take the photo you want to use and follow the steps you would take if you were going to post it to your own Story. Add your ideal font, color, and designs to make it look and feel enticing. Feel free to use “stickers” to add in some flashy items, but remember: hashtags & mentions will not be clickable since we will be saving the image, not uploading it through Instagram. After you are finished designing, save your picture and upload it onto Facebook’s Ad Manager like before.



Making the ad on your phone will not only give you an ad with the correct dimensions, but also an ad with a tastefully designed text, mindfully placed on your ad.


Practicing this unconventional way of advertising on Instagram Stories is a way to play to your strengths. Facebook has yet to give marketers the ability to make a Story advertisement look “pretty,” so cut some corners and make it pretty on your own! Your target audience wants to see an ad that will reel them in and make them want to swipe up to learn more about the product or service you are offering. Always remember to optimize and keep your ads looking fresh to keep your audience engaged. If you practice this out-of-the-box tool, you’re sure to reach a new engaging and interested audience. 

Digital Marketing