With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram Stories have quickly become the go-to for any creator or business to connect with their audience. In fact, at least half of Instagram’s user base views or creates stories every day. 

Story Ads have a higher conversion rate than Feed Ads. They’re full-screen, vertical, and immersive. Plus, their seamless ‘Swipe Up’ transition make Story Ads perfect for growing your fanbase. 

To help you captivate your audience with Instagram Story Ads, we’ve rounded up our favorite mostly-free and easy-to-use apps. These simple design apps will have you creating high-quality visuals in no time. Stay in charge of your creative without breaking the bank!

Headliner App

Headliner’s Forever Free plan lets users make 10 videos per month (1080p)–plus, unlimited watermarked videos, 10 minutes of transcription, and the ability to share directly to social networks.

Pros: Incredibly easy to use. Most creators will fall into their free plan. Audio transcription features and visual wave form generating make this app great for podcasters! Full HD export. Ability to add your own music and logos.

Cons: Limited in transitions and video effects.

Cost: Free (for the first five unwatermarked HD videos/month).

Headliner App Video Editor Interface

Trash App

Trash’s AI makes it easy to create and share short videos. With their motto, “You shoot, we edit,” Trash analyzes your footage to identify elements like people, faces, actions, and different types of shots—creating a mini-music video.

Pros: Very easy to use! Less time editing—Trash App does a lot of it for you. Select clips from your camera roll and instantly get a video you can tweak. Works great for music videos and montages.

Cons: Available on iOS, only.

Cost: Free with iOS app.


Prequel App is perfect for making your videos edgier and more eye-catching. Prequel is a go-to option for visual effects and filters.

Pros: Prequel has the most aesthetic presets and filters out of all the apps on this list. Its intuitive interface is easy to master. Ability to add music and sound.

Cons: Around half the presets require pricey paid plans. Not able to upload logos.

Cost: Free with iOS app. Prequel Gold is $7.99/month.

Prequel Photo/Video Editor Interface

Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark helps you create compelling video content with ease! Piece together your footage with photos, music, voiceovers, and beautiful transitions from one scene to the next.

Pros: A free alternative, mobile-friendly solution to Adobe's powerful editing and creation software. Incredibly easy-to-use and straightforward. Available on desktop, too.

Cons: Can't crop to Instagram Story dimensions. Requires an additional app to resize your video after exporting. The best-looking templates are not free.

Cost: Free with iOS app.

Adobe Spark Video Editor Interface


VLLO makes video editing easy with a mobile app! Editing features are equipped with the ability to add music and text along with cut editing, clip speed adjustment, and blurring.

Pros: Quick and easy, with a vast library of video effects and transitions to choose from. Ability to add your own music and logos.

Cons: HD exporting isn't free.

Cost: Free with iOS app. Some features and HD exporting are only available for premium plans. 


VEED.IO is a simple yet powerful online video editor perfect for creating engaging social content to grow your audience. No previous experience or software installation needed for this one! Plus, all your projects are saved in the cloud allowing you to edit video from anywhere. 

Pros: Incredibly easy and straight forward to use. Add music, text, and logos. All projects are saved in the cloud!

Cons: No transitions. Limited filters.

Cost: Free plan includes video editing features and unlimited projects in 720p. HD videos require a Pro Plan for $24/month.

VEED.IO Video Editor Interface


CapCut is a free all-in-one video editing app that helps you create incredible videos.

Pros: This is an advanced video app with a wide range of video effects.

Cons: Not able upload your own fonts or logos. Available on iOS only.

Cost: Free with iOS app.


Canva believes making videos should be simple for everyone. With their drag-and-drop usability, that’s absolutely the case. Canva is one of the best tools for novice videographers. “Thousands of free stock videos, animated graphics, and music tracks [let] you to quickly create a short video to post online.” Plus, you can download your videos, free of watermarks!

Pros: As easy as it gets! A simple drag-and-drop tool lets you make compelling short videos in no time. Free pre-made templates and a vast library of elements to choose from. Upload your own music and logos.

Cons: No transitions and limited video effects.

Cost: Plans range from free to $9.95/month for a Pro plan. Canva offers a 30-day free trial.

Canva Video Editor Interface

Story Creator App

Story Creator bills itself as “simple online video editing for digital creators.” With templates and tools specifically designed for different types of creators–i.e., podcasters, entrepreneurs, course creators, and more–Story Creator makes it quick and easy for anyone to produce compelling video content.

Pros: A simple drag-and-drop tool for creating simple video edits. Upload your own music and logos.

Cons: Limited transitions and video effects. HD export only available for paying users.

Cost: Plans range from free (with SD quality and watermarks) to $15/month (HD video with no watermarks).

Story Creator App Video Editor Interface


TikTok is synonymous with fifteen-second, viral videos, but it’s also an easy-to-use creating and editing platform for new and experienced creators alike. The internet is filled with TikTok tutorials, ensuring creators know everything out there to make and export the best videos.

Pros: Addictive content. A vast library of creator resources.

Cons: TikTok logo & username will be watermarked on any videos after exporting. Not able to upload custom fonts or logos.

Cost: Free!


Triller promises creators that their social engagement will skyrocket. “An entertainment platform for creators,” Triller is the choice of influencers and an impressive list of entertainment industry partners. Their massive audio library and slick editing tools let creators produce flawless videos that are endlessly shareable.  

Pros: Influencer approved.

Cons: Fewer user editing tools.

Cost: Free!

Triller Video Editor

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels is Instagram’s new, proprietary tool for creating and discovering videos. Located at the bottom of the Instagram camera, Reels boasts the ability to “record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools” and “share reels with your followers on Feed, and, if you have a public account, make them available to the wider Instagram community through a new space in Explore.” Becoming a creator on Instagram has never been easier.

Pros: Instagram native.

Cons: Music or sounds will not be available for exporting.

Cost: Free!

Instagram Reels Video Editor

Instagram Story Best Practices & Specifications

Instagram Stories dimensions are 1080 x 1920 pixels. We recommend you leave 250 pixels of padding at the top and bottom, keeping all key design elements between the center. 

Remember: videos hold our attention 5x longer than still images. Ideally, your story ad will be at 10-15 seconds long. Optional but highly recommended: enhance your ad with dialogue, your music, or other background tunes. Share content that sounds as good as it looks. 

For Growth campaigns, be sure to include an artist name, song name, and the platform logo (whether it’s Spotify, Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok) with 'Swipe Up' copy so your new followers know to take action. 

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