With the growing popularity of Instagram Stories peaking at 400 million users, Facebook is expanding reach options by introducing Facebook story ads in its Stories feature.

While the number of Stories users on Facebook is significantly lower than its sister platform at 150 million, many advertisers are looking to diversify to other platforms due to the costly advertising on Instagram.

At Facebook’s latest F8 developer conference, several Facebook executives including Mark Zuckerberg believe the Stories format will overtake the Newsfeed as the most popular feature of the platform.

As noted on Facebook’s Business page:

“The rise of stories is clear: people want fast, immersive and fun ways to share photos, videos and text with their friends and family—and stories offer just that. People use stories to share and discover content they’re interested in for movements as big as Pride and moments as small as the coffee they’re drinking. We designed stories on our platforms to fulfill people’s need to interact and share in engaging and playful ways on the vertical screen.”

Stories are a great way on social media to allow users to share those small moments without clogging newsfeeds, spending a significant amount of time editing photos and crafting the perfect caption.

“We launched Instagram Stories back in August 2016, and saw how quickly people adopted the format. Every day, 400 million Instagram accounts use Instagram Stories.1 And the success of Instagram Stories showed us that stories, and camera-based messaging, are experiences that people are craving. This led us to roll out stories in Messenger in 2017, and on Facebook and WhatsApp soon after. Since then, we’ve seen people embrace stories across our platforms. There are now over 150 million people using Facebook Stories2 and 450 million people using WhatsApp Status every day.

The Rising Popularity of FB Story Ads

With the rising popularity of the Stories format, it only makes sense for Facebook to offer marketers a new way to reach their audience as a “pay to play” platform for business efforts. Interestingly enough Facebook cites one-third of the most viewed Instagram stories to be from businesses that are achieving results with that type of ad format:

“For example, Tropicana ran video ads in Instagram Stories for its summertime product promotion campaign, achieving an 18-point lift in ad recall and 15-point lift in purchase intent among males. OpenTable used ads in Instagram Stories to drive online restaurant reservations, resulting in a 33% lower cost per reservation compared to other ad formats. And Overstock ran video ads in Instagram Stories to acquire new customers and increase sales, and generated an 18% higher return on ad spend and a 20% decrease in cost per acquisition.”

It’s standard to see lower CPMs for any new ad placement format as advertisers are competing for less space for their ad placements. However, marketers are viewing the new ad placement opportunity on Facebook as opportunistic rather than strategic, especially as the platform appeals to an older demographic in comparison to Instagram.

Best Practices For Facebook Story Ads

Facebook Story Image Ads run for 5 seconds long and are skippable to ensure a successful rollout of the new advertising feature. Design best practices recommend leaving roughly 250 pixels, or 14%, of the top and bottom of the image free from text and logos to avoid covering up your profile icon or call-to-action buttons. The image ratio should be 1.91 to 9:16, a 600×600 image size and less than 20% of text.

You can include the following supported objectives:

  • Traffic
  • Conversions
  • Reach
  • Video Views
  • App Installs
  • Lead Generation
  • Brand Awareness

As well as the following CTA buttons:

  • Shop Now
  • Book Now
  • Learn More
  • Get Showtimes
  • Sign Up
  • Download
  • Watch More
  • Contact Us
  • Apply Now
  • Donate Now
  • Request Time
  • See Menu
  • Send Message
  • Listen Now

You can also craft Facebook Video Story Ads that run between 5-15 seconds long. Most file types are supported, but Facebook recommends a H.264 compression with square pixels and a file size of 4GB max.

For more information regarding Facebook Ad best practices, be sure to check out their Business Page when creating an ad or a mockup.

Facebook Story Ads Wrap-Up

It’s interesting to see the social media space slowly offering more and more advertising features to reach a larger audience, especially as many viewers and listeners of traditional methods of advertising find television and radio to be bloated with ads.

As new generations grow up in the digital age, they’re becoming more accustomed to businesses saturating their newsfeeds with retargeted ads, whereas older generations find them to be somewhat intrusive. It’ll be interesting to see what the reception is like as Facebook Story Ads become more prevalent, but it’s a good move on Facebook’s part to make them skippable as a lot of users tend to bounce from a video when an ad roll pops up halfway through the video.

What are your thoughts on Storied Ads making their way onto Facebook? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!