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7 Tips For Creating Instagram Story Ads That Convert

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7 Tips For Creating Instagram Story Ads That Convert

Instagram stories drive a ton of engagement. People see them at the top of the feed as soon as they log in, and users want to check them out before they vanish in 24 hours. 

You can certainly reach a lot of people by just publishing organic stories – in fact, a third of the most viewed stories are from businesses. But to scale your organic presence, you need to turn to Instagram story ads

So, here are some of my top tips for creating Instagram story ads

Don’t Make It Look Like an Ad

People don’t go on Instagram to look at ads, they go there to see posts from their friends and brands they follow. If you create visuals that obviously look like ads, people will just swipe and move to the next story. 

To prevent people from skipping your ad, make it look like an organic post. 

A proper example is this ad from Huel. 

Source: Huel Instagram Ad

This is an advertisement for an instant mac and cheese that you can just prepare by adding hot water. When most people promote a product like this, they will create an image with a picture of the product, a headline, and a call to action. When people see the image, they spontaneously realize that it is an ad. 

But this ad from Huel is made to look like an organic post by sharing a video on how to prepare the meal. They promote the product, but they do it very subtly. Fewer people will skip it. 

But Still, Get It To Stand Out

It is crucial to create visuals that look less like ads, but it is also important for you to stand out. Creating ads for Instagram is like creating any other type of content. People will cherry-pick and check out the best content. So, think about various angles you can use to grab your audience’s attention. 

A simple way to do this is by using black-and-white videos or images. It’s because most people create visuals in color and those with a black-and-white palette are rare. 

Again, this will mainly depend on what your competition is using. So, before you create your ad, visit your feed and Instagram pages of competitors to see what types of content they create for their organic posts and ads. You can also use Instagram analytics tools to see which of your competitors’ posts generated the most engagement. Then brainstorm ways to stand out. 

Use More Videos

Instagram videos generate 49% more interactions than images. 

7 Tips For Creating Instagram Story Ads That Convert

Source: quintly

Also, a study from Smaato found that video ads have a 7.5X higher click-through rate than static ads. 

Videos generally do better than images because something moving in the feed naturally attracts more attention. But to get the most out of video ads, you need to create the right content. Here are 4 top tips.

Keep them short: Story ads are naturally short as they can’t exceed 15 seconds. But you should make them even shorter, as a study from Facebook found that 6 seconds ads generate the best results. 

Add subtitles: 92% of people watch videos on mute when using a mobile device. If your ad contains speech, they won’t be able to make sense of it and will skip it. You should add the speech as subtitles to the ad to help them follow along even while on mute. 

This is one of the reasons why you will frequently come across ads that have no speech on Instagram. The captions explain the product while some background music plays. 

Add thumbnails: Instagram users can turn off autoplay when browsing on mobile data. These people will see a thumbnail instead. This is why you should add a thumbnail to all your video ads. 

Create an audience: You can create a custom audience consisting of the people who viewed your story ad. So, before you launch your ad, make sure you set up this audience. You can retarget based on how much of the video they watched. For example, you can create an ad retargeting people who watched your ad till the end while avoiding people who skipped it in the first few seconds. 

For an idea on how to create a simple ad, check out this one from Cerave.

1662565076 472 7 Tips For Creating Instagram Story Ads That Convert

It is just a few seconds long, and you can understand the message the ad is painting without needing any audio. You can see the product in the ad, and the CTA shows you how to get it. 

Many people shy away from creating videos, but they are pretty easy to make, especially for Instagram ads, as they just need to be 6 seconds long. What’s more, there are video editors like Videoleap that make your job easy. 

1662565076 798 7 Tips For Creating Instagram Story Ads That Convert

This easy-to-use mobile app has templates, stickers, filters, effects, and an intuitive editor that makes it possible to transform your product clips into ads that stand out in the feed. 

Position Your Text in the Right Areas

On every story ad, Instagram will display your profile image and company name at the top and a call to action at the bottom. 

1662565077 761 7 Tips For Creating Instagram Story Ads That Convert

It is important to keep these two areas in mind while creating your image or video. You need to place important details such as the text, illustrations, and branding away from these areas. 

Keep It Simple

When it comes to Instagram ads, less is more. This is one of the reasons why 6-second ads perform best. The role of the ad isn’t to generate sales, it is to get people to visit your landing page, which can drive the sale. 

Try to include as few details as you can in your story ad. A headline, a short description, one call to action, a picture or illustration, and some branding (such as your logo) are plenty. When you add too many details, it can make your visuals appear crowded. 

Always focus on one goal at a time. Too many goals can confuse prospects and lead to the paradox of choice.

Always Test Various Creatives and Copy

No matter how much research you do, it is impossible to create the perfect ad on the first attempt. This is why you should create several ad versions. It is best to create at least ten versions of your ad. 

You can start by creating five images and five videos. You should then split-test them for a week or two on a $5 to $10 a-day budget to see which one generates the best results. You can scale the budget for the one that performs best. You can also create new versions of the winner and conduct more experiments with the visuals and the copy.

1662565077 810 7 Tips For Creating Instagram Story Ads That Convert

Using Predis.ai, it’s easy to build out variants of your creative assets. Just enter a web page URL or a few words, and the AI engine spits out everything you need. Plus, it’s all easy to edit before you export the assets for your ad experiments. 

While measuring ad performance, always track KPIs such as return on ad spend and cost per acquisition, as these will matter the most to your bottom line. Metrics like clicks and impressions matter, but they don’t always directly correlate to the number of sales. 

Accompany With a Mobile Optimized Funnel

Instagram ads only appear on the app. This is why it is essential to ensure your funnel is optimized for mobile devices. 

The ad, of course, needs to be mobile-friendly, but on top of that, other elements, such as the landing page, checkout page, and thank you page, need to look good on mobile devices. 

Now Create Your Instagram Story Ads

Instagram is one of the top platforms for media buying, especially when you want to reach a warm audience with retargeting ads. Both in-feed ads and story ads will provide great results. 

I recommend starting with story ads as the network’s users prefer stories. Also, there’s more space for stories because they take up the whole screen. This allows you to get creative and try out new things. 

Now it’s your turn!




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Running Performance Max Against Brand is a Waste

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Brand Performance Max

If you’re like the majority of Google Ads advertisers, you’re running Performance Max campaigns. You’re also likely wasting a ton of money on it. Google makes it challenging to exclude branded keywords from Performance Max, while claiming the brand terms that do show up in these campaigns are incremental.

At our PPC agency, Taikun, where we manage tens of millions in Google ad spend per year, we have not seen this proposition supported by evidence. In fact we have found time and again that keeping branded terms live in PMax gives Google a license to waste your money.

Is Brand Search Incremental?

Before diving into the specifics of how including brand in PMax wastes money, it is important to discuss whether brand spend ever drives incremental revenue

Geo lift tests we have conducted on brand spend, within both shopping and search, with a number of brands, have found in each case that ad spend was found to be completely non incremental. That is, it generated no additional (net) revenue. This is supported by other companies which have seen similar results

Despite the lack of incrementality, there are situations where spending on brand makes sense. For example: To deter competitors or retail partners from bidding on your terms; product or service segmentation that meaningfully benefits from better control of landing pages; and when brand terms overlap with nonbrand searches.

Whether any of the above apply or not, it’s important to remember that when running brand there’s no guarantee it will drive incremental sales. If you have the volume to run a geo lift test, it’s recommended.

Understanding how the sausage is made

Regardless of whether running brand on search or shopping is incremental for your business, there’s one way to ensure it will negatively impact your incremental volume: running it in PMax. 

PMax gives you access to Google’s entire ad inventory. It promises to use machine learning to maximize your overall performance across Google’s entire ecosystem. This sounds great in theory. In reality, PMax is a way for Google to sell remnant inventory that you would not intentionally target because of its low quality. That poor performance can be hidden with spend against extremely high intent and high performing brand volume.

For example, if 10% of your spend goes to brand at a 20x ROAS and the other 90% goes to everything else at a 0.5x ROAS, your blend is a 2.45x. Performance looks good on the blend, but in reality you’re incinerating 90% of your ad budget.

This is not a theoretical example. We have seen this play out with varying degrees of severity in every PMax campaign we’ve looked at where brand was combined with nonbrand:

1716402362 272 Running Performance Max Against Brand is a Waste

You need to force PMax to work for its conversions. To do that you need to strip brand out completely.

How to Tell if Brand PMax is Wasting Your Budget

You can take a look at your own PMax campaigns and quickly determine if you’re wasting money on brand. If your PMax is performing at a better rate than other nonbrand volume in your account or your meta prospecting, you’re probably running a lot of brand. Likewise, if your campaign is consistently performing above the target, it is a dead giveaway there’s brand in there. Finally, if CPCs are lower than the rest of the account, brand is a likely culprit. 

You can also do a rough calculation of how much brand is generating witin the campaign. The insights report of PMax provides data on the search categories that are driving conversions. Add up all the conversions that are credited to search categories with brand terms and compare that to the overall campaign conversion volume. This will give you a rough idea of the percentage of conversions in the campaign being driven by brand. 

If it’s more than 30% of the overall conversions, you’re absolutely burning money and you should pull it out of PMax. 

Structuring Brand Outside PMax

Removing brand from PMax is annoying but not overly onerous. The first step is requesting Google adds a negative keyword list to your PMax campaign. Here is the form that includes a template to send in the name of your brand terms or dedicated PMax negative keyword list. This allows you to add negative keywords to your PMax campaign.

Note: The brand exclusions structure doesn’t do as good a job of excluding brand terms as a negative keyword list. 

Next, you need to set up a brand search campaign on either target impression share, or a manual bidding strategy. Smart bidding is a bad fit for brand search for the same reason we exclude it from PMax: it allows Google to waste money.

The goal with your brand search campaign should be to maximize the delta in real dollars between your spend and revenue generated.

If you’re managing an ecommerce brand, there’s one more campaign that needs to be set up (if you don’t already have one): A branded shopping campaign. A standard shopping campaign with a ROAS target that’s double your nonbrand target will ensure you’re capturing branded shopping inventory as well.

Adjust this target as necessary. Almost no nonbrand will make it into this campaign because PMax takes precedence over standard shopping.

With brand out of PMax, you’ll see volume on that campaign decline substantially as well as performance. Your overall account performance should increase substantially as well.

A Final Note on Google

The advertiser relationship with Google is currently broken. The Google antitrust trial has exposed what many of us in the PPC community have known for years: Google is squeezing advertisers to juice their own profits.

Whenever Google makes changes or encourages advertisers to do things, remember the relationship and ask yourself: “How would this benefit Google?”



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8 Fast Takeaways from Google Marketing Live 2024

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8 Fast Takeaways from Google Marketing Live 2024

Similar to last year, Google Marketing Live provided a torrent of AI-fueled advances for advertisers. In all, nine presenters announced 30 products and features over the 90-minute keynote event.

In the upcoming days and weeks, we’ll examine each of these new products and features in-depth and share what marketers and advertising experts think of them as they roll out.

But for now, here’s a quick recap of the most important announcements from Google Marketing Live 2024.

Contents

8 biggest takeaways from Google Marketing Live 2024

The GML keynote was a fast and furious hour and a half. Here are the biggest announcements from the event.

1. Automatic ad placements in AI overviews

Just last week at Google I/O, Google announced the wider release of AI overviews in search results (formerly known as SGE or search generative experience). Now, Google is testing automatically placed Search, PMax, and Shopping ads in AI Overview boxes.

Google Marketing Live - screenshot of AI overview ad

The ads will show up in a block labeled “Sponsored” to separate them from the organic and AI-derived content.

These ads will show up automatically when they match the intent of both the query and the AI Overview; advertisers don’t need to take any action to target those placements.

2. AI-powered, personalized recommendations and advice

In another experiment, Google is using AI to speed along shoppers’ decision-making process for large or complicated purchases by offering personalized product recommendations.

Google used the example of someone shopping for storage space.

The user would search for “short-term storage” and click on a relevant ad. They would then enter a guided shopping experience where they could answer questions and provide a photo of what they wanted to store.

Google Marketing Live - screenshot of AI guided ad.Google Marketing Live - screenshot of AI guided ad.

Google’s AI reviews the details and suggests the right-size storage unit and related items like packing materials. The user then clicks through to a product page on the business’s website to finalize their purchase.

This ad feature is currently in the testing phase. If it’s successful, it will soon be available to other verticals.

3. AI creative asset production for PMax campaigns

Google announced more features and tools to help advertisers create PMax campaign assets faster and at scale. These new features include:

  • The ability to add brand guidelines for colors, fonts, and imagery.
  • Image editing is used to add and extend backgrounds, add objects, and alter image sizes to fit multiple ad placements (think of adding a plant and expanding the wall for a furniture ad).
  • Auto-generation of ads from a product feed.
  • Asset-level conversion metrics.

Google Marketing Live - screenshot of PMax ad creation.Google Marketing Live - screenshot of PMax ad creation.

4. AI-enhanced Shopping Ads

    Shopping Ads got another layer of AI treatment with several upgrades to create a more immersive shopping experience.

    Virtual try-on for apparel

    Google is expanding its virtual try-on (VTO) experience to apparel ads. Beginning with men’s and women’s tops, users will be able to see how individual styles look on different body types.

    3D product images

    Using Adidas brand sneakers as an example, Google showed off new 360-degree shoe views that can be featured in ads. Google generates the 3D images using images provided by the seller.

    In-ad, short-form product videos

    Advertisers can now incorporate short product videos—created by the brand or by influencers—into ads. The videos will be clickable and interactive, letting shoppers view related products and get styling suggestions.

    The ads will include product details under each video.

    5. New visually immersive ad formats and features

    Google shared that it’s expanding its demand-gen video ad campaigns by adding new options for advertisers. These features include:

    • Clickable stickers created from existing image assets.
    • The ability for users to swipe left to a branded YouTube landing page.
    • AI-generated animations based on static images.

    6. Cohesive first-party data management

    In a move to improve the quality of data used to guide AI outputs, Google announced that its Ads Data Manager platform is coming out of beta testing and is now widely available.

    Google Marketing Live - screenshot of Google performance dashboard.Google Marketing Live - screenshot of Google performance dashboard.

    Ads Data Manager lets advertisers aggregate first-party data from sources like YouTube, Google Ads, HubSpot, and Shopify to make it more visible and actionable. The platform also acts as a “check engine light” to help make sure marketers are using data safely and responsibly.

    7. Visual brand profiles on search

    Sellers can now create a brand profile for Search, including branded imagery, product deals, videos, and more.

    Brand profiles will also include reviews pulled from Product Listing Ads. It remains to be seen how much control advertisers have over which reviews are shown.

    8. New profit optimization goals in PMax

    Advertisers will be able to optimize ads for profit goals in Performance Max campaigns.

    Google says advertisers using the new profit goals saw a 15% uplift in campaign profit compared to revenue-only goals.

    What we didn’t see at Google Marketing Live 2024

    There was a lot for advertisers to be excited about in this year’s GML keynote, but a couple of topics stood out by their absence.

    No B2B-specific products or features

    Once again, the 90-minute Google Marketing Live session focused on the rollout of products designed to help business-to-consumer brands generate more return from their Google Ads investments.

    There wasn’t a single mention of a B2B company, example, or use case. For obvious reasons, we’d have loved to see some.

    No (or too few) small-business case studies

    By number, the vast majority of advertisers on Google are small businesses. Yet just about every example, case study, and customer story featured big brands using Google’s newest features to attract new customers.

    Additionally, the majority of example use cases for the new features announced at Google Marketing Live 2024 were for travel and ecommerce–industries that typically thrive in the search ads environment. Meanwhile, the typical small business wouldn’t be able to reap the same benefits from these new features.

    “Google Ads and YouTube ads for well-established brands should work. If it didn’t, it would be alarming. Show me a local business with impressive stats,” tweeted Julie Bacchini, President of Neptune Moon and Managing Director of PPCChat.

    Google Marketing Live - screenshot of a Tweet about Google Marketing Live.Google Marketing Live - screenshot of a Tweet about Google Marketing Live.

    Source

    Our hope is that Google will use AI to make advertising easier for smaller businesses with smaller budgets.

    What it all means

    We’ll dig deeper into all these announcements and new AI features in an upcoming post, but for now, the takeaway is clear: Google is investing heavily in AI across the board. We get the feeling that not all users are quite as excited about AI as Google is, and regardless, there are bound to be some hiccups, as with any new technology. But we’ll be here to help you all navigate the changes.

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How to Navigate Your Google Ads Suspension

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Google Ads Account

Are you facing the dreaded red bar of death in your Google Ads account? If so, you may be the victim of a Google Ads suspension.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Google Ads accounts are suspended for various reasons, leaving businesses puzzled and eager to restore their campaigns.

Whether you’re new to the concept of a Google Ads suspension or currently grappling with one, this article will explore Google’s policies, to help you understand common suspensions, and will offer guidance on resolving issues if you find yourself fighting a suspension.

Understanding Google’s Approach to Suspensions

Google says it prioritizes user safety and credibility over generating revenue from advertisers. With billions of ads and millions of advertiser accounts to manage, Google has implemented robust policies to ensure a largely secure online experience for users.

These policies are designed to uphold legal requirements and the safety of users. The challenge arises when legitimate advertisers unintentionally get caught in the same net as bad actors who are deliberately violating policies.

Google’s policies cover a wide range of areas, from preventing scams and illegitimate businesses, to safeguarding users against misleading ads and harmful websites. In the past year alone, Google flagged over 5.5 billion ads and suspended around 12.7 million advertiser accounts.

While these measures protect users, they also pose a significant challenge for businesses aiming to reach their audience through Google.

Common Reasons for Google Ads Suspensions

While the reasons an account has been suspended can vary, some are more common than others. Circumventing Systems, Suspicious Payment Activity, Unacceptable Business Practices, and Counterfeit Goods are among the top suspension types.

None of these suspension types are impossible to recover from. The team at StubGroup has worked with numerous accounts struggling with these types of suspensions and have successfully gotten them reinstated.

Types of Google Ads Suspensions

Google rarely provides detailed explanations for account suspensions. If you get flagged for a certain policy, Google does not give more information than that. Here’s a few of the most common suspension types and their potential causes:

Circumventing Systems

This suspension type flags tactics like cloaking, sneaky redirects, and creating multiple accounts to bypass Google’s system.

Obvious things that can cause this type of suspension are redirecting users to a different final URL than the one displayed in the ad, maintaining multiple accounts to run similar ads, malicious software, or using cloaking techniques to show different content to Google’s review systems and actual users. There are, however, many other, less common and often unintentional triggers for Google to suspend an ad account for circumventing systems.

Suspicious Payment Activity

This suspension involves issues with your payment method used for the Google Ads account.

Common causes include: Using virtual or prepaid cards, having multiple accounts with a history of suspension linked to the same payment method, or discrepancies in the payment details provided.

Unacceptable Business Practices

This suspension revolves around practices deemed unethical or harmful by Google, such as misleading claims or deceptive offers. It’s common to see this suspension type in verticals that are more heavily restricted by Google’s advertising policies.

Common causes include: Failing to deliver promised services, using misleading information in ads, or engaging in practices that violate Google’s guidelines on transparency and honesty.

Counterfeit Goods

Google issues this suspension if it suspects the account is advertising counterfeit products or unauthorized replicas. Businesses with original products and services can also be hit with a counterfeit good suspension if something about their business confuses Google’s algorithms.

Common causes include: Selling or promoting fake goods, using brand names without authorization, using misleading wording that could lead Google to think a product is counterfeit, or listing products that violate Google’s trademark policies.

The Technical Perspective

From a technical standpoint, most suspensions stem from insufficient or incorrect information on the website. They can also come about as a result of landing page issues, security concerns, and inconsistent payment details.

Google’s emphasis on user safety and positive experiences shapes its algorithms. That renders these issues of top importance, and the first to get flagged.

Navigating Your Google Ads Suspension Effectively

If you find yourself dealing with a suspended account, don’t panic. Instead, use these trusty tips to get through it.

  1. Don’t Panic: Everyone’s first thought is to create a new Google Ads account. Don’t be lured into this trap. Creating a new account is seen by Google as an attempt to circumvent their system and ignore the underlying problem. That new account might hurt your chances of restoring your suspended Google Ads account.
  2. Identify the Issue: Understand the specific reason for the suspension. Review the policy Google says that you have violated and compare the policy with your account or website for anything that could appear misleading or flag Google’s system. Finding the cause behind your suspension is crucial for an effective appeal.
  3. Review Everything: Conduct a thorough review of your website, landing pages, ad content, and payment processes. Check anything and everything that could seem malicious.
  4. Address Any Technical Issues: Promptly address any technical issues you find. If you don’t have someone in-house, work with experts to ensure everything is taken care of.
  5. Construct a Clear Appeal: When submitting an appeal for your suspended Google Ads account, provide a clear and concise explanation of the actions taken to resolve the issues. Google does not respond well to complaints against them or angry appeals. The best road to action is a calm, comprehensive appeal, outlining the resolved issues.
  6. Documentation: Keep detailed records of changes made to your website, ad content, or payment processes as evidence of your compliance efforts.
  7. Monitor and Iterate: Keep a record of your appeal. After submission, wait for an email from Google and monitor your ad account.

What if Google Rejects My Appeal?

If your appeal gets rejected, you may need to go back to the drawing board. Re-evaluate and scan for anything that could still be triggering Google’s system or reviewers, including the status of connected accounts and the payment methods used.

If Google provides feedback, use that as you audit your account, website, and any linked accounts that might be affected.

Analyze Google’s Response

When Google rejects an appeal, they reply with an automated email as to why it was rejected. From time to time, however, there will be clues as to why they rejected your appeal to help steer you in the right direction.

Making Changes

Depending on Google’s feedback, you may need to make more changes to your ad account, website, or the documentation you submitted with the appeal.

This includes reviewing and updating any payment method information to ensure it is current. Check there are no outstanding balances that could lead to account suspension.

Resubmit with Updates

After each change, review and revise your appeal. Ensure it addresses the concerns raised by Google and its policies. Once you are confident in your modifications, resubmit the appeal.

Persistence and Patience with Google

Google’s review process can take time, so patience is key. While you are suspended, explore different channels you may have overlooked before. There are many different ways to advertise, digitally and in print, who knows where you may find success.

Consider Expert Assistance

If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of rejections and suspensions, consider seeking expert assistance like the suspension team at StubGroup. Professionals with experience in dealing with Google suspensions can provide valuable insights, identify blind spots, and guide you through the process more efficiently.

When choosing a professional to work with, be cautious and thoroughly research the companies to choose a reliable and transparent company that will keep your information safe and maintain an open line of communication with you.

Strategies for Preventing Google Ads Suspensions

  • Stay Informed: Google is always updating their policies. Regularly review and stay updated on those policies to ensure ongoing compliance.
  • Comprehensive Compliance Training: Educate your team about Google’s policies and best practices so they are aware of what to avoid when operating both your website and ad account.
  • Audit Your Online Presence: Conduct regular audits of your website, landing pages, social media, and ad content to identify and address potential issues before any bigger problems can arise.
  • Security Measures: Prioritize website security. Implementing HTTPS and conduct regular security audits of both your ad account and website. Keep your software updated, and address vulnerabilities promptly.
  • Ad Campaign Monitoring: Actively monitor the performance of your ad campaigns. Look for signs of policy violations or content issues and address them. It’s crucial to maintaining smooth and efficient Google Ads campaigns that you adhere to Google’s policies to prevent suspensions and achieve desired results.



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