In an announcement made on Wednesday, after two months, since Instagram began slotting ads between people’s Stories, the photo and video app has began selling the ad placement to any advertiser around the world through Facebook’s self-serve ad-buying tools, as well as Facebook’s advertising API.
Because of this, advertisers are able to pick up real estate within Instagram’s Stories feed, just like they do for Instagram’s main feed or Facebook’s news feed with all the same targeting options. But keep in mind of some of the limitations.
The first thing is that advertisers are only able to buy Instagram Story ads using Facebook’s reach objective. This tells Facebook to aim the ad as many people as possible. Since this is how their ads are going to work, advertisers will be charged based on the number of impressions the ad has received. This means that, for Instagram Story ads, as soon as the full-screen ad appears on the screen, advertisers will be charged for it. Since Instagram Stories take up the full phone screen and resemble the vertical organic Stories, the have to be vertically formatted with a 9:16 aspect ratio. The ads can be either images or video. But with video, they are limited to 15 seconds.
But on the positive side, advertisers have some freedom when they buy Instagram Story ads. Advertisers aren’t forced to buy Instagram Story inventory in a bundle with any other inventory, be it on Instagram, Facebook or elsewhere. This is unlike Facebook’s Audience Network ad network, which is only available if a brand is also buying ads to run on Facebook proper. If an advertiser would like its ad to run in Instagram’s Stories feed, but not the Instagram main feed, or in Facebook’s news feed, it can.