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Leverage the Facebook & Instagram Stories Placement with Instant Experience Ads

Published: November 14, 2018

Author: Scott Trevellyan

As we get deeper into the holiday season, it’s not too late to add to your tactical repertoire with new and interesting ways to get in front of shoppers on Facebook and Instagram.
Whether our objective is more upper-funnel in wanting to get on the first versions of holiday shopping lists, or whether your trying to drive purchases, Instant Experience ads for the Facebook and Instagram Stories placement presents a great option to expand your holiday e-commerce efforts.

What is Instant Experience?

Instant Experience (IX), which is Facebook’s recent rebranding of “Canvas Ads,” is a full-screen mobile ad format that lets you customize users’ experiences by blending different media to showcase your products and services. Similarly to how collection ads allow you to connect the products in your catalog to the real world by blending them with lifestyle video and image creatives, this ad format allows you to further customize what elements are included in your ad template. Think of these as a story ad that swipes up into a full-screen collection ad.

Instant Experience Setup

To get started, think about your overall campaign goal the and the “story” you want to communicate to accomplish it. This includes what products you want to promote and to whom, as well as what video and or image assets best connect these products to your audience.
To build the ad, create a story ad as you normally would, except check “Add Instant Experience”:

Next, you will choose “Custom Instant Experience,” which is the only option available for the Facebook and Instagram Stories placement. After you build your first custom template, you can copy and reuse what you’ve created moving forward.

Next, you will choose which components you’d like to add.

You can choose from a: call-to-action button, product carousel, photo, text box, video, and/or header. While the combination that is right for you will depend on your products and available assets, I’ve found the following combination to be a winner:

  • Header (logo image)
  • Image or Video (if possible, a lifestyle creative here to connect the product to the real world)
  • Product Carousel
  • TextBox (this functions as the “text” field in standard FB/IG ads and is also a nice place to call out special offers)
  • Button (“Shop Now”)


While many of us initially thought of Instagram Stories as an awareness-stage placement, we’ve actually seen them perform extremely well for direct response so far. In fact, since launching Instant Experience ads for a seasonal e-commerce client, we have seen them perform as well and even better than some of our top-performing carousel and collection ads.
As ad inventory volume shifts from desktop to mobile more and more each year, it becomes all the more essential to take an innovative approach to this cheaper traffic while improving the mobile shopping experience to fight the lower conversion rate that typically comes with it. Adding Instant Experience ads and the stories placements to the mix does just that by allowing you to extend reach for your top-performing audiences while optimizing your ads for sales.

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