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Ad Gab: How to Create Effective Story Ads

January 06, 2021

Ad Gab: How to Create Effective Story Ads
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Welcome to today's Ad Gab!

Happy Wednesday and welcome to today's episode of Ad Gab!

In this episode, Josh Hill and Reiley Clark discuss how to create effective story ads.

There's a lot to unpack in just a few minutes, so they get right into it! Ad Gab today covers these questions:

  1. What's the importance of story ads?
  2. What's the difference of information you should put on a story ad verses an in-feed ad?
  3. How can you make an eye-catching ad on stories?


Enjoyed today's episode? - Share it and leave a review! We love hearing from you. The Radcast is a product of Radical Company, a full service digital marketing and ad agency in Greenville, South Carolina. | Instagram for Radical: @radical_results | Instagram for The Radcast: @the.rad.cast | For more information, visit our website http://www.theradcast.com | #theradcast #adgab #radicalmarketingresults 


Reiley Clark [00:00:14] Hey guys, what's up? Welcome to today's Ad Gab episode. It's a little different today because I am leading the charge here. But we still have Josh. And so that's what's keeping us normal. So today's Ad Gab is covering story content and why it's important -- story ads, specifically and why those are important. Josh, I know you have a lot of opinions on this. I'm going to let you kick it off. And first of all, like why are story ads important? And what is the difference between a story ad in a post that you're posting to your Instagram or your Twitter or whatever, that's also an ad? Like what would be the difference there?

Josh Hill [00:00:59] Yeah, well, first off, welcome to Ad Gab. Stories are really cool because they're a lot more casual than an entire news feed post. It's way shorter. It's only out for 24 hours. Most people know this. Their stories are kind of available on most platforms now. They started on Snapchat and then Instagram copied it and really kind of owned it. Now, Facebook has it. Twitter has it. LinkedIn has it for some God awful reason. But the Instagram ones are the most popular.

Reiley Clark [00:01:37] Yeah, those Fleets don't even go anywhere? Has anything even happened with those?

Josh Hill [00:01:40] I saw three and then no one else has posted Fleets anymore. I feel like maybe I saw three LinkedIn stories here and there, but it’s weird. But Instagram's really cool because it's become almost more popular than the actual news feed. More people are posting stories because it's more casual. You can do quick announcements  without having to do a whole post, come up with a caption and everything. And then also it's really because of that, any time there's a lot of people like within a certain area of a platform, that brings up a lot more opportunity to have ads there. Now you can have story ads which are super effective. They've been around for a few years, but it's one of those social media, even when things are around for a long time, like it still takes a long time for people to jump on board and for a lot of best practices to come out. And with social media, it's always going to change, like how to use them well. 

Reiley Clark [00:02:50] I mean, you feel sometimes people aren't using story ads in the most efficient way possible. So, that's why I think it's good we're getting into this today. So again, welcome to Ad Gab. And super intense story ads. Why are they important? Josh. Take it away.

Josh Hill [00:03:10] So the story ads. First off, these are great for building awareness because when people are watching stories, they're looking for entertainment. They're seeing what the friends are up to, what businesses are up to. And so in between those stories you're watching, as you're clicking through, scrolling through, watching, that's where your story ad is going to appear. And so you want to frame it within that context of we're trying to push our message in here in between people catching up with their friends.What they're actually interested in, what they're there for. And we're interrupting them. So you want to make it in a way that your ad should be kind of entertaining and informative where it's like, ‘hey, look real quick before you get back to your next story, like, here's this piece of information’. 

Reiley Clark [00:04:05] You have to make it eye-catching enough to where someone is going to want to stop and then be like, “oh, wait, what was that?” And go back real quick. Because I feel like most I mean, I'm putting myself here like I'm going through and I'm like click, click. And I'm just like going through. But if something obviously catches my eye, something is giving me information that I'm actually wanting, I'm like, “oh, I need to go back”. And then you click the back button. But if you're not making it eye-catching then no one’s going to head back. 

Josh Hill [00:04:32] A lot of people are like, oh, it's an eye-catching image that'll work. It's like, no, it needs to be vertical. It needs to fill the entire story screen. And it has to have either the picture of the product, your logo, like something bright and the point of the message has to be there immediately. If it's a video, there should be no waiting. There should be no fading in from black. No build up. It needs to be there immediately because otherwise I'm going to click past it. Everyone else is. Because that's what stories are. It’s like rapid fire. You're just throwing it in there and you're like stopping the rotating door.

Reiley Clark [00:05:14] So what are ways to make things that are more eye-catching? Do you feel it's something that is with animation graphics? Do you throw in something that is super animated? You're throwing in after effects? What's the game plan to make it feel” Okay I'm going to stop on this story and now pay attention to it”. 

Josh Hill [00:05:36] I mean, there's a lot of really cool things you can do. You can lean into it being like an interesting photograph, that's really immersive. Have a video that has something interesting in it right away. I've seen cool ones where it's like a coffee shop and it's just like a big splashing coffee mug. Or when Burger King did that on the Whopper, like, you go through it and it's just a full screen, like you can even see it is like half the burger. But it gave you the whole screen of your phone and so it's just a big massive multi Whopper on your phone. Like that's eye-catching. But I see a lot of other ones where it's like I've got my phone here where it's like a horizontal image, where it's part of your phone and there's like a big glob of text at the bottom. It's like I'm not going to look at that thing. It's boring. I've said this before. I've got Memes to see. I’ve got friends to stalk. 

Reiley Clark [00:06:35] There's a lot of things to catch up there. 

Josh Hill [00:06:39] Also using big text in graphics is great. The captions are OK. But when you're in your Facebook ads manager too, for people actually getting in, running it like you need to, like I personally set up an entire different ad set where it's like that is dedicated to stories instead of I know a lot of people who choose automatic placements where they'll put it on your news feed, they'll put on your story, stuff like that. If you are doing that, make sure you're editing your post to be cropped when it's on the story placement. Like edit it for that. You want to optimize for where it's going and not just throwing it up and hoping it works. You can't just throw it out there and say, “oh, this one size fits all” and then expect it to have great results. 

Reiley Clark [00:07:30] It's a really good point. When people post the story, do you feel like it's worth it to have all the information in one story? Do you feel like it's something that should be broken down? Like what have you seen? What’s the most efficient way to provide information, but not so overwhelming that people are like, “Ok, there's so much stuff on here I'm not going to take the time to read”. Like, how do you really break that down? 

Josh Hill [00:07:57] I think you want to make it bite-sized. These stories especially are really digestible, like it's a snack. It's not your meal. Like this is where you want to have it, just like it's like a sample. You want to have like one point. I think of car commercials. Where it'll be like “the all new redesigned Toyota Camry”. And then they're like the only feature they'll call out in the ad of a 30 second TV spot is like we have a new Bluetooth system. And then it's like they have nothing about handling, performance, whatever. 

Reiley Clark [00:08:33] Good point. Because they make it feel so intense and so, like, revolutionary. Well, I mean, it’s good marketing. It's like the word I mean, to your point about like the random Bluetooth or whether it's like we have these new textural seats that are leather and it's like, Ok, actually it's just leather seats that are just in a car. But like, you made it sound cool. 

Josh Hill [00:08:55] Like you want to think narratively. It's like they're only calling at one point and they're not reading out the list of features you're getting. So like I know with the iPhone, like Apple's always a big case study, especially with the iPod. It's this many songs in your pocket. It’s not a, “oh, we've got storage, this much battery life. You can put pictures on it, too. You can do this, too.” Like “you can put music on it” and that's all they said. It's great. You want to get to the point because again, you're in the stories. But there are a lot of cool ways to add more in. If you need to put in more information. I've seen some really cool things where people do a video where it's like you have one piece of information on the front. And then if people stick around to watch it, you can have some more later on. You want to have your key message. This is social media advertising. I’m not trying to tell you how to make commercials right now. Present your point right at the beginning. Anything extra is for the people who are really, really interested because everyone else is not going to watch it. And then another cool thing you can do, like you can do carousels, which is like multiple slides per ad. I've seen some where people are like,” hey, here's a heads up, screenshot this next message?” Be like I've seen it for like a bar. It's like “here's the upcoming Bands. Here's the upcoming events for the week”, or it's like “here's a coupon. Screenshot it so you can use it at checkout.” That's a really effective way to get more information. 

Reiley Clark [00:10:32] Right. So if you were to wrap this up, if you were to say, this is something that obviously should be done by any brand that's on Instagram, social media, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn. Whatever it is. But, apart from that, what would be the thing you -- if we had to wrap this up and say and just like a few really good words, what would be your words of encouragement for posting on Instagram? 

Josh Hill [00:11:21] I would say make it entertaining if you can, that doesn't have to get people tied up with that word. Entertaining does not necessarily mean funny. Entertaining can be beautiful. It could be serious, it can be anything. It just provides entertainment and it draws interest and then also really simple. Just keep it where it builds interest, but leave them wanting more. You don't build interest by satisfying someone's entire curiosity. Then they are like they're done at that point. So I think that’s the key. The key approach to the story is kind of like keep it simple, keep it interesting. And that’s honestly kind of it. You can keep it really casual. You got to be serious. You don't have to overthink it. You can make it really organic. I've seen major brands do like a selfie iPhone video that looks like it's from an old iPhone. It's still really effective.

Reiley Clark [00:12:31] Well, I mean, I think this is good. And obviously I think we've been really developing, as part of that Ad Gab, just like really getting into really technical social media advertising tactics. And I think this is something that hopefully we'll see more in 2021. More brands using Instagram ads and Instagram stories ads, specifically, and just other story ads, other story platforms, things like that create more engagement. So hopefully that's something we see more of. I know this was our super Ad Gab's or super quick, super technical nitty gritty talk part of the Radcast. It was a pleasure to be here.

Josh Hill [00:13:15] Happy to have you on here. But I'm going to act like the host now! Thanks for listening. You guys have any questions? You can find us on social media @JoshHill. And I don't know where you're at. 

Reiley Clark [00:13:43] You can find the Rad Cast at TheRadcast.com. On Instagram @the.rad.cast. Radcast is a product of Radical Company, so you can look up Radical Results on Instagram and visit us online as well. Radicalcompany.com. And we will see you tomorrow when we release Open Mic Tape. We'll be back.