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Instagram Stories Ad Creation

Instagram Stories Ads Creation

Lead designer

 
 

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.

 

The problem

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.

This is part of an audit I did to illustrate media aspect ratio compatibility across Facebook placements. With the addition of stories advertisers would need more than one asset in order to run ads on all placements.

This is part of an audit I did to illustrate media aspect ratio compatibility across Facebook placements. With the addition of stories advertisers would need more than one asset in order to run ads on all placements.

 

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?

Design

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.

This illustrates how errors would respond to different levels of placement compatibility. Advertisers with one media asset would always be incompatible with one placement at best. However we wanted the scale to be clear that there was opportunity to deliver on more placements by adding an additional asset.

Example of how we could build the scale into the media level of the interface. Tooltips give additional guidance or confirmation.

Example of how we could build the scale into the media picker.

Example of how we could build the scale into the media picker.

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.

 

Final strategy

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?

Design

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.

 

We launched Stories ads to a select number of partners using brand objectives in January. Since then we have opened up our brand objectives to all advertisers and have started testing direct response ads.