Creative Content Hub

Standing Out In Stories: 5 Techniques For Creating Engaging Facebook & Instagram Stories Ads

Want to give your Facebook & Instagram Stories ads a competitive edge? Read on to discover 5 examples of visual techniques that will help your Stories ads stand out from the crowd. 

Facebook and Instagram Stories have become hugely popular ever since their initial roll out in 2016. Now with over 500 million people using them everyday, the Stories format has become a key feature on both platforms, enabling users to share snippets from their lives in a more laid-back and casual manner. This popularity resulted in Instagram Stories becoming available as an ad format in 2017, with Facebook following suit in 2018.

As a 9:16 format, Stories ads occupy the entirety of a phone’s screen, giving brands the opportunity to deliver a more visually impactful and immersive ad. This, along with the effective “Swipe Up” CTA function has made Stories extremely effective at driving engagement.

"Stories are a great way for people to discover brands, with 68% of people becoming more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in a story."

Success with stories

Unsurprisingly, the effectiveness of Stories ads has resulted in a massive uptake from brands wanting to jump in on the action. This has meant that in order to stand out amongst this increasingly contested Stories crowd, brands need to develop visually compelling creative that pops out from the screen and captures the viewer’s attention. 

Facebook and Instagram Stories are the preeminent “mobile-first” format. It is an ad placement designed specifically for mobile, making the most of the phone’s vertical layout. This orientation calls for a shift in design thinking, and does pose some challenges, especially if the ad is being adapted from a horizontal asset. However, once you embrace the format you can make the most of its layout for maximum visual impact. 

This article will take you through a few of the visual techniques that we at Shuttlerock often turn to in order to create compelling and engaging Stories ads.


1. Split Screen


Tanqueray Stories Ad Example


One of the key considerations when designing video ads for any social media placement is how can you tell a story in the shortest possible time frame. User attention spans are extremely short on social media, and even more so for people swiping through their Stories feeds. It is therefore important for you to ensure that your Stories ads deliver a strong message within a short time frame. 

An effective way of achieving this is through the use of split-screens. This technique works extremely well in Stories as it enables you to divide the frame vertically into multiple landscape video segments. Having multiple visual elements playing simultaneously enables you to condense your story and reduce duration.


2. The Drop


Ford Stories Ad Example Blog


Since Stories ads command the entirety of a phone’s screen, you can achieve an eye-catching effect by playing around with elements coming in and out of frame. This helps to keep your ad both visually engaging and dynamic. 

This can be done in many ways, and often depends on your specific brand or the product you are offering. One of the common ways this can be achieved is by having a visual element drop into view from the top of the frame. The Ford example above does this to great effect, with the drop serving to highlight the toughness of the truck whilst also drawing the viewers attention to the messaging that reveals itself as it drops. 


3. Frames Within Frames


HavanaClub Stories Ad Example Blog


Borders are a sure fire way of adding a bit of visual flare to Stories ads. When done right, they give ads a point of difference, helping them to stand out amongst the native content surrounding them. 

Borders, or frames within frames, give Stories ads an additional visual layer that helps to amplify meaning by drawing attention to the core visual elements in the centre of screen. This concept of visual layering should be front of mind when planning digital creative, as it gives ads unique textures and more of a visual punch.


4. Bold Typography


LesMills Stories Ad Example Blog


Although they have become a lot bigger in recent years, phone screens are still very small when compared to other advertising placements. Because Stories ads are viewed on mobile, it is important to ensure that your copy is large enough to be easily read. We recommend you take this even further by making your copy as big and bold as possible. 

Being bold with typography makes messaging much more impactful and memorable. The key here is to keep your number of words to a minimum, this allows you to have copy that dominates the screen and strongly enforces your narrative. 


5. The Reveal


Brinkhoff's Stories Ad Example Blog


Best practice for all video ads on both Facebook and Instagram is to capture attention as early as possible. You need to have some kind of visual hook that immediately brings audiences in and encourages them to continue watching.

Since Stories ads enable you to control the entire screen, you are given a leg up in this challenge of overcoming short attention spans. Utilize this maximum screen presence by using an effect, such as a reveal, which creatively plays on the look and feel of the phone. Brinkhoff’s, for example, used the effect to transform the phone into a beer glass which, as it empties, reveals the logo and kicks off the ad. 

This technique is dependent on the type of product or service being advertised, but the thing to keep in mind is to try and think outside of the box and consider how you can begin your Stories ad with a visual bang.



The list of techniques for creating engaging Stories ads doesn’t stop there. There are endless creative ways you can experiment with the format to stand out and be seen. The key is to not fall into the trap of playing it safe and producing simple Stories ads that get lost amongst the many other ads taking a similar, run-of-the-mill approach.

Facebook and Instagram Stories are a space where creativity and quality rises to the top, so be bold with your visual approach and experiment with techniques such as the ones discussed in this article, you will be rewarded for it with higher levels of engagement

Start Creating High-Quality On-Brand Video Creative Today