New! Instagram Story Carousel Ads

Thu Apr 12 2018
Terilyn Walker

As marketers, we’re always looking for new ways to get our brand in front of a well-targeted and engaged audience. Luckily for us, Instagram is always on top of providing us with new ways to make our advertisements appeal to social media savvy consumers.

Instagram stories, in particular, have been an effective way to generate conversions on Instagram. Why? Because they are engaging, highly customizable, and allow you to direct viewers straight to your website or product page, something that isn’t always possible to do with permanent posts. Since the launch of Instagram Story ads in 2016, many consumer brands have begun to prioritize them as an effective way to expand their reach online. In fact, eMarketer estimates that Instagram Ads sales will reach $8 billion this year. The growth of ads is largely due to continuous improvement on Instagram's part to ensure that ads are effective for advertisers and engaging for the audience.

See the new Instagram Story ads feature that's got Airbnb seeing a double digit increase in ad recall!

Instagram Story ads are becoming even more dynamic with the introduction of Instagram Stories Carousel Ads! Recently, Instagram announced that advertisers will have the ability to include three pieces of media in Story ads, tripling the length of existing Instagram Story ads. The idea being that Instagram Story Carousel ads make advertisements feel more native to the Instagram Story format. More media means that brands have the ability to be more creative in their advertisements so users won’t feel that they are being interrupted when they come across an ad while browsing their friend’s stories

How Instagram Story Carousel ads work

Instagram Story ads are similar to Snapchat ads in that they are vertical videos and images that appear in between the stories of a user’s friends and family members. The goal is to encourage brands to improve their storytelling abilities, in a way that is similar to the way that users share their personal content.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="294.0"] Check out @Gap’s seamless ad that features two video clips along with an image that allows viewers to click to shop on Gap’s website. Check out @Gap’s seamless ad that features two video clips along with an image that allows viewers to click to shop on Gap’s website. [/caption]

Carousel Story ads allow brands to include three pieces of content that are a maximum of 15 seconds long each– giving you 45 seconds to capture your audience. Think of all the possibilities! For example, a brand could include one picture of their new product, one video of the product in action, and a product shot that links directly to your product page. Alternatively, you can have three images or three 15-second video clips to make one, 45 second video.

Advertisers will have the ability to add text, drawings and geofilters to customize their Stories Carousel ads, giving them an even more native appeal. And, like normal Instagram Stories, viewers will have the ability to swipe forward and backwards, and pause or exit these advertisements.

While Instagram Stories ads are available for all Instagram pages with a business account, at this time the Instagram Stories Carousel ads are only available to 30 brands including Nike, Gap, Coca-Cola, and Paramount. This feature will hopefully be rolled out to all brands in the next few months.


Why Instagram Story Ads work

Engaged audience

Last year, Instagram Stories hit 250 million daily active users, surpassing Snapchat’s 187 million daily active users. The Instagram Story audience is expected to continue growing, especially with younger consumers. Because of the high engagement they are seeing, brands have been using Instagram Stories as a way to engage with audience members who may have missed the brand’s posts on their feed due to changes in the algorithm. Instagram Story ads allow brands to promote these stories in order to expand their reach outside of their own following.

Dynamic content with vertical video

Give your existing content a refresh by reformatting it for full screen viewing. If you’re looking to test Instagram Stories ads for the first time, remember that influencer-generated content is already optimized for mobile users and is a great option to use for Instagram Stories ads.

According to Instagram, “In the vertical format, the viewer has the freedom to experience content in a brand new, yet organic way—creating opportunity for creators to lead their audience's eyes up and down versus side to side as with landscape video.”

The more dynamic, engaging, and eye-catching your ad content is, the better chance there is that someone will click on it. The combination of full screen vertical content and influencer content offers you a perfect opportunity for your ads to drive conversions.


Advanced Targeting for carousel ads

Our ability to apply existing targeting and measurement in an experience to reach the right audience, in the right mindset, with the right story at scale has allowed us to achieve the results we were hoping for in a partnership with Instagram.
— Eric Toda, Global Head of Social Marketing and Content, Airbnb

Instagram Stories Carousel ads can be created in Facebook’s Power Editor. Some of the most powerful features of this tool are Facebook’s audience targeting options. Facebook offers 120+ targeting options based on demographics, interests and behaviors. Brands have the ability to target consumers based on dozens of demographics including age, location, and education, as well as specific life events and purchase behaviors, such as people who have recently moved, are fitness enthusiasts, or will have an anniversary within 30 days. Airbnb, one of the first brands to use Instagram Stories Carousel ads, claims carousel ads have made “measurable impacts” and a “double digit increase in ads recall.


Watch out for Part 2, How to Increase the Performance of Instagram Story Ads


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