Instagram Stories Best Practices

The best Instagram Stories ads don’t look like any other videos on the internet.

Stories are perfect for the so-called “in-between” moments. You can express yourself in real-time with authentic photos and videos taken on-the-go. The best Stories ads take on that spontaneous quality while still directing viewers towards action.

Mastering Instagram Stories will deliver instant results for your brand, from higher social engagement to website visits. This is the topic of our fifth mobile video webinar, Instagram Stories Best Practices.

When it comes to Instagram Stories, you need to fit in in order to stand out. This guide will cover all the best practices to follow for your next Instagram Stories video.

Post a mix of organic and paid content

If you’re always asking people for something, they’ll soon stop responding to you. With Instagram Stories, you need to give as much as you get.
You can increase interactions by doing a mix of organic and paid content.

Organic Stories are a chance to show your brand personality. Let people see the more spontaneous, human side of your company with quick snapshots uploaded in real-time. These can be behind-the-scenes peeks at product development, interviews with team members, or updates from around the office. Or you can even create a slideshow of an event or trip with a clear chronological timeline. Organic content is just that – do what feels natural and aligns with your brand values and mission.

Your paid content should be more focused. It’s easiest to focus on a single goal or action, whether that’s brand recall or email signups. Design can help direct viewers towards particular images, text, and links.

By launching a mix of organic and paid Instagram Stories, you’re building an active community on Instagram. You’re checking out the latest features, responding quickly to messages, and learning the platform better. Your organic content is your testing ground for finding what works and what doesn’t – so don’t skip out on it!

Post multiple videos

The best Instagram Stories build suspense through an unfolding series of events. That’s why it’s better to post more than one video while still getting your message across quickly.

At this point, the norm for active Instagram users is to post more than one photo or video to Stories per day. And users check Stories for updates all the time. So your target audience will expect lots of content and welcome multi-video posts. Back in February, Instagram introduced Carousel Ads, allowing brands to post up to three videos per ad.

One video goes by too fast, especially if the content is interesting. Break things up and let users tap through to find out more. Using multiple videos has other benefits. A single Instagram Stories post can only be 15-seconds long. So if you want to build a longer narrative, posting a few videos will increase the video length.

Maximize the three-video format by leading viewers along with the design. In templates such as Invitation and Peek from Shakr, you can use text and arrows as a teaser for the next post in your Stories.


One quick video is easy to tap or swipe past – a carousel makes it more likely that viewers will see your ad.

If you can, use the ‘Swipe up’ feature

The “Swipe up” call to action in Instagram Stories is limited to accounts with 10,000 followers or more. If you have a substantial brand following on Instagram, you should definitely use it! It’s one of the stickiest UX features on the app, and the limited opportunity to use it makes it that much more valuable.

Stories are short, and you can only say so much, even if you post several videos. Once you’ve done a great job sparking curiosity in your viewers with your awesome Stories, use the “Swipe up” option to drop in a link. This will boost your Stories conversions with little effort.

A little design will make your CTA much more visible. Many Shakr Stories templates use graphic animations to draw attention to the swipe action.


Shakr has over 500 templates for Stories-specific ads. Templates shown above include Rosemary (left) and Invitation (right).

The swipe function is not just a fun engagement that’s unique to IG Stories; it’s very useful for Direct Response ad content.

Since it’s such a natural and tempting motion, you can keep people on your profile longer.

If you can’t say ‘Swipe,’ get creative with your CTAs

Don’t despair if you don’t have access to the Swipe feature just yet. You just need to be extra creative. If you’re still working on getting 10K followers, you have a few options for your call to action:

  • Write “link in bio” and place the action link on your profile page
  • Include the desired URL in the Stories text (even though it won’t be a hyperlink)
  • Use animations to entice viewers to tap your profile icon in the top left corner


Examples shown use the Rocket Tour (left) and Neon Sign (right) templates from Shakr.

Simple animations as well as eye-catching fonts and bright colors in your Stories will lead people in the right direction. With effective calls to action like these, you can build your Instagram following in no time.

Repurpose old content to look native

Not every Instagram Stories post needs to be made in a 9:16 aspect ratio. You can make compelling Stories using photos and videos of all different sizes.

For instance, many influencers use Stories to preview a new post on their profiles. Instagram profile posts are only allowed to be a maximum vertical ratio of 4:5. Fans are looking forward to the update, so the sizing on Stories doesn’t matter too much.


n an ad, however, you need to maximize the branded real estate so that people unfamiliar with your brand know what they are looking at.

With the right design template, you can repurpose photos and videos in many different sizes to make attention-grabbing Instagram Stories. Shakr has over 500 unique Instagram Stories ad templates to choose from.

You can use animated frames, unusual shape cutouts, or even place two smaller videos in one for a split-screen effect. The extra motion will liven up any single Stories post.


With templates, you can make videos you’ve used on other social channels look completely new and native to Instagram Stories.

Design your way to Stories success

To create a best-in-class Stories video, you need to make the most of the built-in features and established practices first. Then you can let your brand personality shine with unique designs, effects, and calls to action.

Nobody wants to be bombarded with ads. By adopting the native design and storytelling styles on IG Stories, you can engage people in ways that feel familiar, then use your creativity to impress and persuade.

Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Shakr

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