A good story, all marketers know, is crucial. So what’s the best way to tell one with Instagram Stories?

As of November 2017, there are more than 300 million Instagram accounts active every day on Instagram Stories,1 a full-screen creative format that enables people to view and share everyday moments via photos and videos that disappear (unless saved) within 24 hours. Marketers are joining the narrative: Half of all businesses on Instagram worldwide created at least one story during a typical month.2

To help marketers understand and master this new format, Facebook IQ commissioned studies of US Instagram Stories ads to determine which creative elements help capture attention and drive real business results.

They demonstrated that several of the strategies associated with high-performing, mobile-feed ads— such as delivering information quickly and showcasing the brand or product advertised throughout — can also be effective for ads in stories.3

Creative elements that make ads in stories effective

Stories from businesses hold sway. On average, more than 1 in 3 self-reported daily active Instagrammers surveyed in BR, ID, UK and the US said they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it on Instagram Stories.4 To learn more about which creative elements make ads in stories effective, Facebook IQ commissioned MetrixLab to learn how people in the US responded to 30 Instagram Stories ads from CPG brands.

We measured ad effectiveness based on two factors: “breakthrough,” or the likelihood of an ad to be noticed, viewed and recalled, and “response,” or the likelihood of an ad to drive a reaction and brand action.

The studies yielded five key insights, which all add up to one larger observation: Several of the elements that can make a mobile feed ad effective can also make an Instagram Stories ad effective.5

5 Creative Considerations for Instagram Stories ads

To help marketers create more compelling Instagram Stories ads, Facebook IQ commissioned MetrixLab to conduct studies of 30 US Instagram Stories ads from CPG brands. Here’s what we learned:

1. Relevance matters.

On average, top-performing Instagram Stories ads in stories ranked higher on relevance than lower-performing ads in stories. They also grabbed attention, were easy to understand and fit the advertised brand.

2. Seconds add up.

On average, top-performing ads in stories were shorter and contained branding earlier than lower-performing ads in stories.

3. Fast pacing pays off.

Among ads in stories that contained multiple scenes, on average, scenes from top-performing ads were shorter than those from lower-performing ads.6

4. Product demos boost results.

Only about half of the Instagram Stories ads we tested showed the advertised product in use, but those that did performed better on key metrics.7

5. To be effective, bespoke ads must be mobile-optimized.

Nearly half of the ads we tested were built specifically for Instagram Stories, but few performed in the top third of all Instagram Stories ads studied — perhaps because they took longer to reveal the key message and contained longer scenes.


  • As more advertisers use Instagram Stories, we’ll gain an even better idea of what creative practices work well. In the meantime, we encourage advertisers to experiment with video content and the range of creative tools stories offers, such as filters, stickers and emojis.

  • Creating bespoke content isn’t necessary for success — but optimizing for mobile is. Check out our white paper Why Creativity Matters More in the Age of Mobile to brush up on mobile creative considerations.