Written by Michael Keenan

August 18, 2021

Turn Instagram conversations into conversions!

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Ads that click to Instagram Messenger send people into a conversation with your business in Instagram Messenger with the tap of a button. Businesses can use these ads to start conversations at scale and take advantage of Facebook’s targeting to find new customers.

Whether your goal is to produce leads, raise product awareness, or generate direct sales, you can use ads that click to Instagram Messenger to make it happen. 

As of now, there are two ways to create these ads using ManyChat. This article will guide you, step by step, through the process of setting up Message Template ads and Story ads and share some best practices along the way. 

Message Template ads

Message Template ads involve setting up a click-to-Messenger ad and adding a keyword to your responses. The keyword ensures that when someone clicks a response in your ad, they enter a specific, pre-built conversation. It all starts in Flow Builder. 

1. Create your flow

The first step is to build the conversation a user will enter from your ad. Start by opening up Flow Builder and create a flow for Instagram. You’ll want to add an entry point into the conversation using a keyword. 

Click Add Trigger, then select Keyword Instagram from the Triggers menu. 

Creating flow in Manychat

Choose a keyword or phrase for your trigger. In this example, we’ll use I want 30% off. Then click Create

Setting up IG automation

Next, create your trigger message. This will be the first message people see when they enter the conversation. You can add text, images, or product cards to this message. Aim to keep it as simple as possible and give users what they want. 

Setting up discount code

2. Create your Instagram ad

Head to Facebook Ads Manager. Log in to your account and go to create a new campaign. Choose the Messages objective. This will allow you to send traffic into Instagram DM. 

Note: This guide will not go in-depth on budgeting, naming ad sets, audience targeting, or bidding. To set up Instagram ads from scratch, read our full guide.

Creating campaign objective for IG ad

Click New Ad Set in the left side menu. Here you’ll want to uncheck Messenger under Messaging Apps and select Instagram Direct

Choosing destination

Choose the Instagram account you want to run ads for, set your budget, and select your audience. Under the Placements section, pick Manuel Placements

Notice that Ads Manager checked a few Instagram placements to show your ad by default. Uncheck all of them except for Instagram Feed. 

Choosing placement for IG messenger ad

Then set your Optimization & Delivery and click Next.

3. Add the creative and message template

Here’s where you’ll add the media and text. If desired, you can include an image or video for your Instagram ad. Choose “Send Message” for the Call to Action option. 

Adding creative

After you’ve finished, scroll down to Message Template. It will suggest prompts for people to tap and start a conversation with your business. Click +Create.

Setting up message template

You’ll then move to the following screen to create the greeting text. Put in the person’s name and reference the ad they just saw. 

Creating messages in message template

Delete Question #2 and Question #3; you don’t want to confuse users by including too many Send options. Next, place the keyword you set up in Flow Builder in the Question #1 box.

Editing ad buttons

Now, all users will see is the one option to redeem their coupon! 

Setting up button

4. Save your template

This is an optional step but an important timesaver when creating future ads. Click the Save Template checkbox and give the template a name. Next time you run a similar ad campaign, you can use this messaging template to avoid going through the entire process again.

Saving template

After saving your template, click Save and Finish. Add any other tracking information or creative to your ad, then hit Publish

Now that you know how to set up a Message Template ad, let’s move onto Story ads. 

Story ads with a keyword

An estimated 500 million users post Instagram Stories every day. The latest Instagram statistics show that around 50% of user-to-business messaging starts from Instagram Stories, and businesses receive over 400 million DMs per day prompted by Stories. 

Instagram Story ads are a great way to get in front of your audience. Adding a keyword that triggers a Messenger conversation can help you stand out and get ahead of your competition. 

Let’s learn how to set up your Story ads with a keyword.

1. Create your keyword

Head to Automation in your ManyChat dashboard and click Keywords. 

Creating IG story adds with keyword

Click + New Keyword in the upper right corner. 

Create your keyword (in this example we’ll use DISCOUNT). Make sure to set Select Channel to Instagram, then click Create Keyword. 

Creating keyword

After you create the keyword, click Create New Reply. You’ll land in Flow Builder. 

Creating flow with keyword for IG ad

As with the Message Template ads above, you’ll want to create a response message. Users will see this message after entering the conversation with your business. 

Designing flow for IG story ad with keyword

Publish your Flow.

2. Create your Story ad

The only difference between the Message and Story ads is that you don’t need to use the Message objective with a Story ad. This is because you’ll be asking viewers to message you a keyword manually rather than click a Send button. 

You can choose any campaign objective that meets your needs. In this case, we’ll use Brand awareness.

Choosing ad objective

Click Ad Set and fill in your required fields. These include audience targeting, budget, and delivery. When you get to Placements, select Manual Placements.

Selecting placement

Deselect every option except for Instagram Stories.

Choosing placement detailed

3. Add the creative

At this point, you want to add your video or image to the Ad Creative. Then in the Primary Text input area, include a call to action (CTA). Your CTA should encourage people to message your brand using the keyword you set in Step 1. 

Setting up creative for IG story ad

Fill in any other required information, then click Publish to live your ad!


As you can see, running click-to-Messenger ads is a pretty straightforward process. Using the guide above, you’ll create more effective ads that viewers can interact with and act on any offer you promote.

Grow your Instagram following and make sales with Instagram Automation by ManyChat. See if your business is eligible by applying below.

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.