Instagram’s direct-response Story ads are available for self-serve buys


Publishers have shown that people viewing Instagram Stories are willing to swipe up to visit a site. Now it’s time to see if that’s also the case for advertisers.

Instagram has officially started selling ads that can appear within people’s Stories feed and link to a brand’s site or app-install page in Apple’s or Google’s app stores. Ad Age reported a couple of weeks ago that Instagram has been testing direct-response ads within Stories, and Instagram has since made them available through Facebook’s self-serve ad-buying tools, Ads Manager and Power Editor, as well as through Facebook’s advertising API.

Coinciding with the rollout of swipeable ads in the Stories feed — which is viewed by more than 200 million people daily — Instagram now lets advertisers set objectives for these ads, like whether a brand wants people to view the video, visit a website, install an app or complete a specified conversion event, for example, adding a product to a shopping cart on a brand’s e-commerce site. These objectives are similar to the ones already available for non-Story Instagram ads, as well as ads on Facebook, and Snapchat has rolled out its own version called “goal-based bidding.” What they boil down to is that Instagram will use the objective as a North Star to aim a brand’s ads at the people in the target audience who are most likely to fulfill that objective.

The direct-response ads aren’t much different from the version that Instagram added to Stories in January. Brands can feature a single vertical photo or a vertical video that’s up to 15 seconds long as their ad, and they can target the ads using Facebook’s standard ad-targeting options, like people’s age, gender, location, interests and purchase history.

The main difference with the direct-response version of Story ads, aside from being priced on a per-click basis, is that the ads can not only catch people’s attention but also directly convert them into customers. The ads feature a message on the bottom prompting people to swipe up to visit a website or open their device’s app store to install an app. In other words, they’re just like Snapchat’s Snap Ads With Attachments, except Instagram’s version cannot load an in-app advertorial or native extended video when people swipe up. Brands can select from several different calls to action for Instagram’s direct-response Story ads: Apply Now, Book Now, Contact Us, Donate Now, Download, Learn More, Send Message, Request Time, Start Order, Shop Now, Sign Up and Watch More.

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