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What Makes an Instagram Stories Ad Fly? Answer: These 5 Elements. One big tip: When creating Instagram Stories ads, keep in mind that creativity is king.

By William Harris Edited by Jessica Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Thomas Trutschel | Getty Images

In August 2016, Instagram gave users a new way to share content and interact with one other throughout the day. Its name: Instagram Stories. Today, over 500 million people are creating or engaging with Stories every day.

Businesses and brands are also actively using Stories as an additional way to boost brand awareness and drive sales through the platform. It's a worthwhile strategy for reaching potential customers who are already using Instagram on a daily basis; through this route, businesses can help customers learn about their products, consume their content and interact with other followers.

Related: 10 Templates to Help You Create Beautiful Instagram Stories

Evidence that this works? According to Instagram, one-third of the most viewed stories every day are ones that have been created and published by businesses. One in five stories gets a direct message from its viewers, Instagram reports.

So, to get started, know that one of the best ways to utilize Instagram Stories is by creating and launching an ad in the space that Instagram now dedicates to Stories. What makes an ad here successful? The following five elements matter most:

1. Strong visuals

Instagram was built around the idea that people want to create, share and consume visual content. It's probably no surprise then that in order to create a successful ad for Instagram Stories, bold, compelling visuals are necessary. On Stories, you can create ads that include photos, video or a combination of the two. The visuals used should ultimately tell a story, feature a product or clearly illustrate a specific point that you want to get across to your audience.

An example of such bold imagery in anInstagram Stories ad? Read through this case study from fashion brand Milly. The video ad it created promoted a new seasonal clothing line by featuring colorful jackets, dresses and other items. According to Instagram, this particular video ad resulted in a "3X increase in website purchases from ads in Instagram Stories compared to prior Instagram Stories campaigns."

2. Sound

Sound can also have a big impact on the success of your Stories ad. According to Instagram, 60 percent of Stories are viewed with the sound on. When thinking about what kind of video to use in your ad, put sound strategy high up on your list. The reason is that you have a unique opportunity to literally speak to the audience you're trying to reach.

So, be creative and intentional with the sound you include. Make sure it sends the right message and achieves the goal you're trying for -- that goal is to inform, educate, entertain or differentiate.

Looking for an example of a brand that leveraged sound in a creative way? Dig into this case study from DairyPure to see how the brand used sound and humor to boost awareness and stand apart from its competitors.

Related: How Your Business Can Start Using Instagram Stories

3. Brevity

I reached out to David Herrmann, Instagram ads strategist for Social Outlier to get his No. 1 tip for Instagram Stories ads. Replied Herrmann: "Make sure your value prop is extremely clear in the first two seconds. That's all the time you get to have people make a decision to pass over you."

Instagram users move very quickly through their Stories section, so it's important that the ad you create not only captivate but also be concise. To prevent your audience from swiping away too soon, get to the point and capture their attention as fast as possible. To achieve this, draw viewers in right away through the use of bold text, intriguing imagery or unique sounds.

An example of a brand that did these things right? See the creative that Zephyrmobile leveraged in its Stories ad. Zephyrmobile used a series of vivid video clips embedded into an iPhone screen to show users what it would be like to buy and use one of its mobile wallpapers.

4. Targeting

You can create the most visually pleasing and persuasive Instagram Stories ad in the world, but it's never going to matter unless you can be sure that it's ultimately seen by the right audience. That's why it's important to set the right targeting parameters when building and launching your ad. If you're not familiar with how to set up targeting when building ads on Instagram or Facebook, dig into this helpful guide from Buffer.

For a brand that effectively targeted its audience, see this Stories ad from fashion brand ONYGO. After launching its ad, the company conducted a brand lift study and found that the ad led to an 11-point lift in brand awareness among women viewers ages 16 to 34, the group it was interested in targeting.

5. Clear call to action

As with most marketing and advertising campaigns, you should think about the specific call to action you want to include in your Stories ad. In other words, know the specific action you want viewers to take when they encounter and consume your ad. Once you know that, your job is to make sure that that call to action comes across clearly in your Stories ad. Visualize it in your photo or video. Verbalize it through sound.

For a brand that included an effective call-to-action in its Stories, ad, see this example from Nubank. The brand built an incredibly simple ad that had one goal: Drive viewers to register for banking/credit card products on its website. According to Instagram, the brand experienced "23 percent more registrations for banking/credit card products with ads created for Stories, combined with feed."

Related: How Your Business Can Start Using Instagram Stories

Wrapping up

When creating Instagram Stories ads, keep in mind that creativity is king. You have only a second or two to capture the attention of viewers, and to do that, you need to be bold, interesting, different. Drive success by pushing yourself to be as creative and unique as possible with your visuals, your text, your sound and the overall message you're trying to present to viewers.

William Harris

CEO and Entrepreneur

William Harris has been critical to driving growth for multiple startups in ecommerce and SaaS, has helped facilitate both sides of acquisitions, and consults for the CMOs of multi-billion dollar Fortune 1,000 companies — all while running Elumynt, an advertising agency.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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