Capturing Conversions with IG Stories

Social Media Case Study

Ulta Beauty

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Illinois, Ulta Beauty is the largest beauty retailer in the US and a popular destination for cosmetics, men and women’s fragrances, skincare solutions and haircare products. Each store has a full-service salon featuring hair, skin, brow and makeup services.

The Challenge

Ulta Beauty wanted to increase awareness of its 3-week Gorgeous Hair Event featuring daily haircare brand promotions, and to drive online and in-store sales. In the past, Ulta Beauty had used single photo ads in Instagram Stories advertising, but for its upcoming Gorgeous Hair Event the company wanted a stronger way to grab shopper attention.

"We partnered closely with media agency Rise Interactive and the Facebook team about using Instagram Stories to showcase content and highlight our event promotion in a unique and effective way... We saw amazing results and an increase in customer consideration within the haircare category."


The Strategy

Ulta Beauty partnered with teams at Facebook and Rise Interactive, who shared best practices on creating thumb-stopping assets to drive business results. This included creating ads in the full-screen Instagram Stories format, showing branding within the first few seconds, and using text overlays that work well when the sound is turned off.

Ulta Beauty also built a video ad in the two-card carousel format, which featured eye-grabbing creative along with prominent promotional messaging to catch viewers’ attention. The first card used fast-cut motion to show images of various haircare products interspersed with bold color-blocking and head shots of women and men with great-looking hair. 

The video then transitioned to the second card, which focused on promotional and discount messaging, including “The Gorgeous Hair Event is Here!” and “Up to 50% off the most loved brands.”

Each card had a Learn More call-to-action button that linked through to the Gorgeous Hair Event page on its website, where viewers could discover deals and buy. Ulta Beauty showed the ads to US women aged 16–60 and to those with an interest in hair products, as well as to a Custom Audience based on consumers’ past purchases.

The Result

Using the two-card carousel format for video ads in Instagram Stories, Ulta Beauty was able to boost awareness of its haircare products, resulting in a 63% higher return on ad spend. Ulta Beauty determined the results of the September 29–October 10, 2018 campaign based on reporting data from Facebook Ads Manager and the client’s own CRM data.


higher return on ad spend


higher CTR with 2-card carousel video ad versus single video ad


higher CTR with 2-card carousel video ad versus single photo ad