We already know that Instagram Stories are a highly engaging video format. But the real value of Instagram Story ads isn’t in the video itself, but the connection you make with the person on the other end.
Since Facebook’s ad manager lets you deliver your Stories to highly targeted audiences, you can create precise messaging that resonates with the individual.
The best Stories ads build on that intimacy between audience and content creator. Crafting a targeted message will lead to more engagement, better brand awareness, and ultimately greater ROI for your ads.
Here we’ll look at 19 of the best Instagram Story ads to give you tons of ideas for creating a more authentic connection with your target audience.
It takes a lot to wow digital natives, but Squarespace manages to do this with a stop-motion gif and images of its analytics platform.
The website builder targets an audience of creative professionals, such as bloggers, photographers, restauranteurs, and musicians. This aesthetics-minded crowd has a high bar for visual effects. And while appearance matters to them, they also want their sites to perform.
Squarespace’s Instagram Story ads show professional polish and playful colors, which will catch any aspirational website owner’s eye.
Albert is a personal finance management app made for a younger crowd who want to keep track of where their money’s going.
Albert’s Instagram Story ads focus on typical spending pitfalls for millennials, who tend to spend more freely on things like ride shares, coffee, fashionable clothes, and food than other generations.
To prove their usefulness to this crowd, Albert uses bullet points, and an attention-grabbing POV video of a burger, as well as animation around the “Swipe up” CTA.
Wellness is a multi-trillion dollar industry, so for companies in this space, carving out a niche is essential for differentiation and survival. Asana Rebel targets their fitness app towards female yoga lovers who are also interested in fitness workouts.
In Asana Rebel’s Instagram Story ad, the model looks like the target audience: fit, young and female. This is a particularly Instagram-savvy audience. Young women happen to be Instagram’s most frequent users. To create a more native-looking ad that regular users will recognize, Asana Rebel uses a lot of native Instagram Stories tools like highlighted text and emojis. Their video is clear and high-quality, lending credibility to the brand and its content.
Bare Minerals also targets a young, female audience. The cosmetic brand features a familiar face in their Instagram Story ad: Black Panther‘s Letitia Wright. Using a favorite, of-the-moment actor will no doubt get the attention of 18-25-year-olds and create awareness of its beauty products.
Faces are ready-made for memory, and vertical Instagram Stories are an excellent format for shooting portraits. Creating associations between certain faces and your products is a quick way to make people remember your brand.
Blinkist makes book summaries for busy, high-performing people – and their Instagram Story ads are tailored to their audience correctly. Blinkist tags people in tech and business (or those that aspire to be) by referencing a popular figure in those circles, Elon Musk.
Using Musk’s name adds authority to the books recommended in the ad. People who want to emulate his success may be curious enough to swipe up and check out his reading list. Blinkist cleverly leads them there with green animation around the “swipe up” CTA.
Boie wants to make bathroom products hip – or at least, a little more hygienic. The company’s design-forward Instagram Story ads market towards a minimalistic, and inevitably young, audience.
The ad references an item that many people have sitting in their bathrooms: a loofah that’s old and grungy. This message may resonate deeply with people who share dirty bathrooms with a few too many roommates.
The simple photo is focused on the sleek product. The contrasting background color of baby blue makes the bright red loofah pop. Its clean design will make its mark on anyone with a dirty bathroom problem.
With products so personal as makeup, it’s hard to trust online sources, so Buxom gets up close and personal to sell its line of skin and eye products.
Buxom’s ads are targeted to women of specific skin types and tones, who may be tired of not finding the right fit in cosmetics.
With close up shots of the makeup on different models, they make the viewer feel as if she’s testing the product right in her own home.
Mud Wtr’s audience sits right at the intersection of caffeine addicts and health nuts, and their ad appeals to both sides. Their Instagram Story ads use a sped-up slideshow format of fun-to-watch gifs to draw in coffee drinkers to its alternative products.
Their ads speak to a common desire among coffee drinkers: they want the benefits of coffee without the downsides. For a clean-eating, health-conscious person, this conflict can be central to the daily routine.
Mud Wtr knows this and sparks interest with an intriguing headline that addresses coffee’s shortcomings. The rest of the ad is quick, so it makes you stop and perhaps swipe back to get a second glance.
FedEx is a huge company – more prominent than most on this list. For these Instagram Story ads, FedEx brings the focus to a specific demographic: the family-oriented mom or dad.
Fedex’s Stories ads address a theme of unity. Everyone, young, and old, gets excited about an anticipated delivery. They even use a unique POV: from inside the box. These moments evoke unboxing videos, which are universally popular online, especially with children.
With these ads, Fedex humanizes its large, global brand, bringing the focus back to individual customers and their families.
Pet owners want the best for their fluffy friends, and Friskies hears them loud and clear. Their Instagram Story ads speak directly to cat owners by showing what’s in their food.
The cute, cheerful ads are animated in fun colors, adding a whimsical touch to an ad that’s all about pet health. Friskies uses close-up photography and animation to show the quality of the food and ingredients. The attention to detail assures cat owners that they’ll be getting the best.
Jack Fire is whiskey made for men, or at least, a typical masculine crowd. The Instagram Story ads use a red and black color scheme to communicate a seriousness of purpose. The ad is all about product quality. It emphasizes craftsmanship – in particular, glassblowing – with plenty of fire.
Transparency about the production process creates camaraderie with the audience. Jack Daniels is for the everyman, and with this ad, the brand aligns themselves with hobbyists and artisans who work hard and enjoy a drink after.
Kayla Istines’ popular BBG program is targeted towards women (mostly young) who want to get fit at home. Itsines’ Instagram Story ads show very little equipment is required to get started.
The ads say nothing about “bikini bodies,” even though that’s what the workout guide is called. The omission may be an indication that Itsines aims to break out of her influencer image and be more relatable for everyday women.
Or maybe she’s just keeping things simple, now that she already has a devout following on Instagram. The minimal video of her doing workouts + a call to action to sign up is enough to get the message across to the right women.
News lovers get most of their hits on their phones, nowadays, continually dragging, swiping, and tapping to refresh content. And with so much news out there, personal contacts are a growing source of information. People share articles with friends regularly. Morning Brew, an email newsletter company, leans into it this dynamic with their Instagram Story ads.
The ads show an image of a texting conversation, which doesn’t immediately stand out as an ad. A personal referral from a friend is more credible than an advertisement. By pointing this out, Morning Brew is positioning themselves to the news source everyone shares.
For heist movie fans, entertainment and suspense go great with glamor and over-the-top special effects. The team behind Ocean’s 8 steps up their animation game for their Instagram Story ads, showing scene snippets encased in large, falling diamonds.
The Ocean’s 8 ads are not your typical long-form trailer. Instead, the super-short ads are native to the Stories format. The diamond animations get the hype up for the movie in a matter of seconds.
Revlon, one of the most successful and long-lasting cosmetics businesses, have adapted to the Instagram Story ad format to reach a new generation of female customers. To create a more personal experience for a younger audience that values authenticity, Revlon uses the model’s real name, Iman Hammam, and up-close shots of her face.
Taking a personal approach helps Revlon dispel any preconceived notions viewers might have about the famous brand. Their ads target the individual make-up-wearing, skin-conscious woman, not women en masse.
Revlon’s Instagram Story ads also use the power of before/after photos. Transformations are extremely persuasive. When their audience sees how the product can change someone’s face, they may be more tempted to go out and buy.
Seven Daughters Wines
Seven Daughters Wine’s branding is in the name: it’s targeted towards women, particularly busy ones. This particular Instagram Story ad speaks to moms, with a knowing nod to households where things get knocked over easily.
The solution to this chaos is screw-top wine, which helps someone unwind without worrying about spillage. The ad copy plays on the word screw, letting its audience know that a better solution is on the way.
Sierra Nevada is a rustic beer targeted towards city dwellers who need a dose of nature in their lives. The reference to ride-sharing in their Instagram Story ads is a wink to urban professionals used to darting around a big city.
The video ads are all about escapism. A canoe trip deep in nature will appeal to anyone with a weekend-focused mindset. This audience needs to get away from the hustle and bustle and relax with a high-quality beer in hand.
Smule is a karaoke app which aims to make music performance more “fun and accessible” for people who may have had stage fright in the past. Smule’s ads are all about authenticity, targeting DIYers and hobbyist musicians, especially young people.
Smule’s Instagram Story ads have a distinctly organic look. While professionally made, the video in the ad looks like user-generated-content. By taking the polish off their music videos, Smule makes singing less intimidating and more appealing to anyone who wants to try.
These Spotify ads are made with upgrades in mind. Spotify’s Instagram Story ads are targeted to current free users. The ad explains the app’s new UI, with charming illustrations of buttons and features set against energetic, brightly colored background images.
The quick slideshow, combined with text, does an excellent job explaining the value of Spotify’s product and may lead loyal free users to take the plunge finally.
The Best Instagram Story Ads Keep Audiences in Mind
As the examples above show, your best bet for making effective Instagram Story ads is not just in putting together original copy, stunning images, and lively animations (which are all very important), but also in finding a specific message that resonates with your audience. Let these brands inspire you to come up with ads that show what you share with the customers you care about.
Also published on Medium.