The feature on Instagram “Instagram Stories” launched in 2016, and it quickly gained popularity. Mocking the already viral app Snapchat, Instagram stories have unveiled a new level in the evolution of social media content publishing and needless to say, of advertising and marketing content. In the beginning, no one intended to use Instagram stories at a marketing strategy, but not too long after it launched, brands began to embrace this new feature, and things started to unfold from there.

Just a short year after it launched, Instagram surpassed Snapchat, the app that was developed to succeed above and beyond. It now has over a billion users, and more than 500 million use it daily, and as of now, it is one of the most popular social network platforms worldwide. Having been able to reach such popularity in the short term, it wasn’t long until marketers also caught up, and it is no surprise since this is an effective way to advertise and market a product or a service.

Instagram Stories, what are they?

Officially characterized as “a means to sharing all the moments of your day, and not only the handpicked ones that you decide to keep on your profile.”
With many updates throughout the years, the central core functionalities of the stories are identical to Snapchat. Instagram’s CEO cannot even deny it with a statement he releases saying: “This isn’t about who invented something,” he explained to TechCrunch. “This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.” The Instagram stories allow the user to share multiple photos and videos in a smooth slideshow format. Users can also decorate it by applying stickers, even spice it up with filters, and then make them available for friends and followers to share those moments with them. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind before using Instagram Stories.

  1. You will know who has already viewed your story. Just swipe up to see who has been watching every photo and video you have uploaded into your Instagram story. For marketers, this is specifically important since they can monitor content quality so much easier.
  2. Slides can individually be bedazzled by adding different effects. Some of the effects available for the user besides text are live face filters, stickers and you can also draw and add geo-stickers in your stories.
  3. They can be published on your profile. Unlike your profile posts that remain published permanently or until you delete, Instagram Stories will disappear within 24 hours. You can choose how to post your Instagram stories and save them for your viewers and followers.
  4. Decide whether stories are private or public. Instagram stories are very flexible in terms of who can see them. You can set your stories to be seen by everyone, even when your profile is private, or you can set them to be private only for your followers to see even when your profile is public.

How can a user take full advantage of Instagram stories?

Once you have decided what it is you want your friends and followers to see, it is time to build your Instagram Story.

The first step is to tap the “+” sign on the top left corner of your screen or, on your home screen, you can swipe left to access the camera and Instagram Story features. While you are here, you can snap a photo or take a brief video and bedazzle the content with extra filters, drawings, and text.

There are a few different options in camera mode that will allow you to unleash your imagination and create a unique story.

  1. Film a short movie with a live option.
  2. The Normal allows you to shoot content as if it was your phone’s camera
  3. Boomerang is a burst of photos that repeatedly replay to create a short video.
  4. The rewind option will showcase tour videos in reverse.

The other option will be to choose an image or video that has already been taken in the last 24 hours. You can access it from your camera roll and publish it.

Once you have either taken a picture or selected one from your camera roll, it is time to get to work on your personalization options.

Add stickers: you can take a picture or add one from your gallery. Then, click the sticker icon; a menu will pop-up in front of your image and will give you multiple options to choose from. These stickers are Instagram Story exclusive and are customizable to place in any part of the image or video.

The options: 

Add Location: Tap on locations for a menu of nearby locations to choose from.

Add hashtags: On the menu, you will see the hashtag option. This way, you can display popular hashtags in the form of a sticker.

Add polls: You can also add a survey on your story. Tap on “Poll,” and you will immediately be able to ask a yes or no question. You can position this poll anywhere on the screen.

Add mentions: On the text option from the top of the screen, you can type anything you want if you want to mention another Instagram account type @ followed by their account name.

Smart ways to use Instagram Stories

There are a few ways a marketer can take advantage of the popular Instagram Stories.

  1. Keep followers entertained. Found engaging content? If you love what you do or see something worthy, share it with your audience. Instigate “fear of missing out” effect on your followers to encourage them to invite followers and fans to engage in your campaigns. The power of FOMO marketing can be instrumental.
  2. Market a new product. There is no better way to market your new product than an Instagram Story! Why not? Allow your customers to create a fuzz by giving them privileged information, also known as early bird access to a product or service, to test it before releasing it to the public.
  3. Get to know your followers. Learn what it is that they want from your brand. Create a captivating story and incorporate a poll at the end of the day.

How are Instagram Stories unique as a marketing tool?

The benefits to be ripped from social media marketing are endless. The same applies to Instagram stories. But unlike the rest of social media, Instagram Stories have a unique twist to add into the mix, and we will try to explain how.

Instagram Stories carry a unique concept of content publishing benefiting marketers.

Ephemeral content.

Since the ad will only last for a few hours, then it will cause the consumer to take immediate action. This makes a great marketing tool. If you can come up with an engaging story, you will have your audience hooked with your Instagram and inevitably with your brand. Followers will be more intrigued since ads and promotions will only be available for a day. The key is to come up with content that is entertaining enough that will keep them coming back to your account every time you have something new.

Why advertise within Instagram Stories?

It has been proven that this is a useful marketing tool. It is time to acknowledge the benefits that can be ripped from planting ads in the Instagram Stories. This new feature is available through Facebook’s Business Manager options, and they allow advertisers to reach consumers through other user’s Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories, how to create your ads

Where can you start in order to design and set up your ad before publishing?

First Step: Objectives are defined

Ads do not just end up being published on other people’s stories and the end. You are allowed to set objectives such as leading people to your website, install an app, or view a video. A good example will be if you currently own an eCommerce site; you will set up an ad that leads people to add a specific product to cart and make a purchase.

Just as you have done before with any Instagram ads, you have to be clear with what your goals are and right from the beginning of how you would like your audience to respond to your banner.

Brands are allowed to publish a vertical video or photo that will be up for up to 15 seconds. These ads can be targeted by using Facebook’s ad-targeting options, such as the consumer’s age, gender, location, interests, and purchase history.

Once you are in Facebook’s “create ads” feature, you will be asked from the beginning to choose the objective of your campaign. You will also be able to select your channel. In this case, you will select Instagram Stories.

As users are scrolling through images or videos, you can add your own advertising banner in between stories. Then choose from the following call to actions: Shop Now, Download, Sign Up, Donate Now, Apply Now, Book Now, Contact Us, Watch More, Learn More, Send Message, Request Time, Start Order.

Make sure you select a call-to-action that matches your desired end results and make it as easy as possible for users to take action. 

Step two: Study your market.

The second step but not less important, then the first one is to get to know your audience. Study their interactions and find out what it is that they want to buy, see, and what kind of material they share and follow.

It is essential to recognize that to be successful, you should also study your competitors and what their followers are like. Learn about the comments people make about similar products or services and what content they share. Setting up the objectives is easy, but you also need to know what call to action to choose to make your ad as useful as possible.

Step three: Set up a budget

It is essential to start an advertising campaign with a reasonable budget. Although we can not specify how much you should spend on your ad, you should test how effective your campaign is for a month or two before paying big bucks. Measure your stats if they are not as expected, maybe it is time to change your images, call to action, or even rethink your entire campaign.

Step four: Design your individual banners

Traditionally you will publish an image on Instagram by using your mobile camera. You will not always be able to shoot a photo from your phone right on the spot, and in many cases, you will even need to import additional images.

If that is the case, you will need to be prepared with the correct software that will be able to facilitate creating and editing a banner.

The most popular software to use is Canva, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop or InDesign. Remember, Instagram Stories only last 24 hours. There will be no point in spending hours on creating an image that will only disappear. If you do not currently own this software, Instagram stories are not enough reason to invest in some. You can always hire professionals like Fotex Labs, and use our help with Instagram stories.

Step five: Create the story

Even if your ad is just part of a whole story, this ad needs to tell a story of its own. Brainstorm about the message you want out there, the call to action, or the image you will use as background. All of these elements should be engaging in content, and most importantly, be appealing to your customers.

Once you are set on a particular audience based on what they like to look at, buy, and share, you will be able to create a campaign that will be attractive to them. Aim to elicit an emotional response; doing so will allow them to remember you and your brand in the long run.


Although Instagram Stories have not been around for long, they are very popular among smart marketers and users, and hence the popularity of this tool must not be neglected. Fotex Labs is equipped with the tools and the team that will put in the research, design, and monitoring work that goes into Instagram Stories for you to keep doing what you love the most. If you have any question, please contact us at 858-228-7697.