Instagram Stories Ad Creation
Instagram Stories Ads Creation
Meeting advertiser demand with Facebook's first full screen ad placement
In January of 2017, Instagram Stories announced that 150M people were using the product daily and that 70% of all people on the platform followed a business. We launched Stories ads that month seeing it as a new opportunity for advertisers to connect with people. Leading up to the January launch, I was fortunate enough to be the designer of the team with the goal to build an easy way for advertisers to create their Stories ads.
Building on an existing interface
The most scalable path to market was to give advertisers a self-serve tool to create Stories ads. We were able to do this by leveraging Facebook's already developed Ads Manager and Power Editor. The advantages of this interface were:
Scale and familiarity. Facebook has over 5M advertisers and we wanted to give them the opportunity to connect with people via Stories ads.
Single media liquity. In order to provide advertisers with the best value, the system was designed to run one media asset across all of Facebook's placements (e.g. Facebook News Feed or Instagram Feed). The system would then optimize delivery to the placements with the lowest cost per desired action. This is called Placement Optimization.
Stories requires a 9:16 image or video asset, making its media incompatible with the media of most other placements. This meant that advertisers with a single media asset would always see an error when creating an ad, causing unnecessary thrash and increasing the risk of user dropoff.
Strategizing a solution
While working with the Facebook ads interfaces team, we decided that our team's goal was to propose a short-term solution that could unblock our launch. The objectives for what became our first proposal were broken down into two questions:
- How might we design a system that encourages advertisers to add multiple media assets to run one ad across all Facebook placements?
- How might we design a system that does not alarm advertisers who only have one media asset and are therefore not eligible to create a Stories ad?
Our first solution was to redesign our media level errors. Advertisers could add one photo or video and continue on with their workflow, or they could fill the scale by adding an additional asset of the specified aspect ratio and resolution.
Although this design achieved our objectives, it required significant engineering work. So we decided to get advertisers’ feedback before committing to the investment.
Understanding advertisers' workflows
We discovered that, to start, it was likely advertisers would be running ads in Stories using test budgets and separate campaigns. This meant that, despite our efforts to encourage advertisers to create one ad to run across all placements, most advertisers would be creating a completely separate ad for Stories.
Thanks to our new understanding of advertisers’ workflows and expectations I reframed our strategy around two new questions.
- How might we design a system that is simple for advertisers who wish to create a Stories ad?
- How might we design a system that does not interfere with or change the workflow of advertisers who only have one media asset and are therefore not eligible to create a Stories ad?
The ad placement picker
Option 1 made the Stories placement more efficient and easier to find by grouping it with other placements that accepted 9:16 media. After review we decided that this option required too much change to the existing workflows and did not meet advertisers’ expectations if they wanted to run ads only in Stories.
Option 2 made Stories an exclusive placement by adding it as an additional checkbox under Instagram. Selecting it would deselect all other placements. After review we decided that this was the best solution as it required the least changes to the existing workflows and allowed advertisers to easily run Stories ads separate from other placements.
The format selector
We kept the format selector simple by removing formats that were incompatible with Stories.