Instagram is taking over. If you somehow haven’t heard much about the social media behemoth, you’d be surprised to learn it has 1 billion monthly active users, behind only Facebook and YouTube. 

Instagram is known for its highly engaged audience, so the real advertising opportunity here lies in Instagram Stories, daily updates that last only 24 hours and show up at the top of users’ feeds. While an Instagram story ad is generally less formal than a post, they’re becoming incredibly popular, with 500 million stories a day and 70 percent of Instagram users watching them daily. 


Wait, that’s a lot of competition, right?

Well, luckily the point of advertising is getting to cut the line. An Instagram story ad slides into people’s story feeds once they’re already in the process of clicking through stories. But since this tends to be a mindless process, you need to capture their attention as quickly as possible. 

Why does Instagram work for real estate agents?

Instagram’s key demographic closely resembles that of first-time homebuyers, so this is a great venue to find people looking for their first real estate agent. 

Every Type of Instagram Story Ad:

Image. This is a static visual that’ll stay on the screen for up to five seconds. It’s perfect for showing off an eye-catching listing. Check out the official image Instagram ad specs here.

Video. This is your opportunity to include moving visuals. This will show for up to 15 seconds, and it’ll show up as one card — in other words, it will take a viewer only one click to skip past it. Video story ads, like all of the other story ads, have swipe-up functionality, so you have the option to link your website or blog. More info on Instagram video ads here. 

Carousel. Instagram lets you choose from two types of carousel ads, the first being a native Instagram carousel, which displays two or three cards. The other type is an Expandable Stories Carousel, which showcases just one card but lets users select the option to view more — up to 10. Read more about Carousel ads here.

What should I include in an Instagram story ad?

Since you need to grab users’ attention within the first few seconds, you need to have your value proposition front and center. This ad by flight-finder Hopper is an example of a perfect Instagram ad. It has clean visuals, consistent branding and, importantly, a hugely intriguing and enticing selling point. 

Facebook Business recommends capping the text at 20 percent of the ad page, but even that could be high. You want to make sure every letter is essential to your end goal: getting users to notice your ad and take some sort of action, be it checking out your website or organizing a meeting. 

Conceptual necessities: 

  1. Your unique selling point (USP). What makes you a better agent than your competition? What are you offering that no one else is? Why should users head to the link you’re sharing? You need to include some sort of claim to fame to establish yourself. 
  2. A call to action (CTA). Once viewers are interested in learning more, allow them to. It may seem obvious, but include a link. Capitalize on people’s curiosity. Hopper invites you to install the app at the bottom of its ad, for example.

Visual necessities:

  1. Contrasting colors. 
  2. SIMPLE visuals. Don’t overcomplicate the images you have in your video or try to add too many. Keep it clean and make sure it’s obvious what you’re selling. Pique their interest but don’t give everything away.
  3. Pithy and large text. Get to the point as quickly and succinctly as possible, and make sure your text is easy to read. Don’t put yellow text on a white background, and cap it at one or two sentences.
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