The Three Fundamentals of Facebook and Instagram Stories Ads

Khaled Halwani Jan 02 2019 6 PM | 3 min read

We’ve heard it over and over: video advertising is more effective due to various reasons including but not limited to motion, sound, engagement, quality, authenticity,  eye-catchy effects, and much more. Without a doubt, those characteristics contribute to the ever-increasing adoption of Instagram and Facebook Stories. Let’s crunch into some numbers for more context.

According to Instagram’s internal data*, 300 million accounts use Instagram Stories every day.

  • 1 in 5 Stories prompt a direct message.

  • 1 in 3 of the most viewed Stories is from businesses.

  • When it comes to the type of content, +40% of those Stories are videos and 60% of videos on Instagram are Stories.

*Source: Instagram Internal Data Nov 2017, Instagram Internal Data July 2017, Instagram Internal Data Dec 2016.

It is not surprising to see those numbers factoring in our intimate and inseparable relationship with our smartphones. Those numbers are expected to rise with the continuous innovation of creative editing capabilities and cameras in our pockets.

With such powerful creative tools available at our fingertips, competitiveness on capturing attention is at an all-time high. Digital content creators and advertisers need to focus on the blueprint of what composes a Story and deconstruct its elements to understand how to craft powerful branded Stories.

There are three main factors that make up a Story and have a direct effect on capturing attention. Those are Context, Space and Time. If we had to put this into an equation, that would be:

Context x Space  = Attention / Time

When creating Stories, advertisers need to be mindful that attention or visual exploration is directly correlated with time. If the message is not carefully crafted, interrupted attention and ad fatigue are likely to increase. Below is a quick breakdown of the fundamentals.

Rethink Context

re-think context

Context is your biggest bet. There are numerous decisions that need to be made here following best practices to ensure your brand, offer, or product are at the forefront of your consumer’s attention. Decisions such as photographic angles, text, animations, sounds, arrangement, and colors all matter and are the core components of how you direct your storytelling.


- Involve your creative department or agency early on and focus on the relevancy of your content.

- Use Stories capabilities such as: Stickers, Playback control, Swipe up and progress bar

Ex: Progress bar used to show before vs after to promote make up, detergents, etc..

Craft for Space

Craft for space-1

Space does affect creativity as it defines the area for your brand to express or communicate the intended message. More space encourages the mind to wander into the realm of creative possibilities your brand/product can benefit from.

Instagram and Facebook Stories are excellent to inspire creativity as they go beyond the conventional square. This allows advertisers to explore and test formats like the square, landscape and portrait within the immersive 9:16 vertical screen.

Vertical storytelling will ensure that your creative and content is received with unbroken attention as you avoid users rotating their screens creating fewer barriers.

Tips for Working with Space:

Craft your space with different layouts within the vertical space. Stacked, Tiled, Heads & Tails & Split Frame.

Re-Arch for Time

Re-arch for time

With attention spans getting shorter, Stories are excellent for advertisers to craft creatives that are designed on the go. Brands need to think of time as a creative tool to captivate their audience in five seconds for photos and 15 seconds for video. The challenge is to deliver your message by creating unique and immersive content that will be memorable and thumb-stopping in a temporary timed ecosystem.

Time Options:

  • Permanent - through highlights
  • Ephemeral - native story flow
  • Live - timed based on stream duration

Takeaways to Keep in Mind

  1. Use the time wisely

  2. Highlight brand/product preferably in three seconds

  3. Design with an objective in mind

  4. Add motion - don’t stick to static

  5. Use speed as a creative tool

  6. Audio increases relevance

  7. Multiple scenes work better


Want more insights into Stories, read our Instagram guide here.

Stories Ads – Now Available on Facebook

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Khaled Halwani

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