The Instagram arsenal of tools for marketers is exploding. The very hottest development has arrived and it involves the story platform. Now you can run ads to other people’s stories! This powerful tool is in its infancy but if you’re wondering about how you go about setting up Instagram ads to stories, read on.

What are Instagram stories?

At the back end of last year Instagram decided to directly take on the ephemeral video/image approach of Snapchat.

Their platform for creating pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours is dubbed Instagram stories and seems to be a massive hit.

At 100+million daily users it’s no small matter.

You can check out how to dive into stories here.

What are Instagram story ads?

These are full screen ads that appear when you are looking at someone’s story.

They are no doubt interruptive but IG have remedied this by making them skippable.

Originally they were rolled out to a select bunch of companies at the beginning of March but are now available to all advertisers.

We’ll go into setting up Instagram ads on stories in greater depth in a moment.

Is there a downside?

As with all brand new concepts, he perfect set up is always a few trial and errors down the line.

And so it proves with Instagram Stories Ads. There are a few downsides. At the moment there is no clickable link to run traffic to so any ad will have to be branding only.

Before you move on though – verified accounts are given the ability to link up to their website or sales page. So it’s expected that us ordinary advertisers will be able to soon as well.

The other point is that you need to have your Facebook ads account all set up too.

If you don’t have this, it’s free but needs a little setting up.

Let us show you how to do this.

Setting up Instagram ads to Stories: starting from scratch

First you need a Facebook business account, a fan page and an Instagram account. Click the image below and the kind folk at Facebook will show you how to do this.

Next you need to hook them up together. In your business manager back office, go to business setting in the top right hand corner. Then on the left side, go to fan pages.

Select fanpage

Then click ‘add new page’ on the top right hand side. Find the page you want to add.

add new page

Then head back to the right side and click the Instagram symbol- this is where you will add your Instagram account to your business account.

Then click ‘claim Instagram account’ on the top right, find the account you want to add. And you are set.

claim new Instagram account

You can now think about setting up your ad

Use the power editor or ads manager to create a campaign. The goal must be “reach”.

You then set up your ad set. This means setting your targeting (age, gender, location etc.) Further down the page you’ll see where you can edit placements.  Choose stories.

edit placement

The ad will only be to Instagram users of course- check this out by looking at the people you will reach. Only Instagram, like the image below.

Then you move onto the ad creative. Make sure you select the right Instagram page (if you have more than one of course).

The ad image/video is very important. As this is a brand new ad platform, it’s not yet known what kind will really fly. So have some fun experimenting.

Perhaps a quick call to action- “follow us” or “watch out for our new launch” would have most effect. Videos and images should be about 1080X1920- like below.

Undoubtedly this new ad channel has massive potential. If you have any ideas about how to leverage this, why not drop them in the comments below?

And now you know a little bit about setting up Instagram ads to target stories, you can start expanding your brand image.