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University of Southampton Instagram Stories

The University of Southampton is a research-intensive university and a founding member of the Russell Group. Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on university teaching provision but has also meant that university events such as open days have had to be reconsidered. As such, the University has been keen to identify alternative ways to communicate with potential students.


We were asked to produce a range of Instagram Story adverts that could be targeted at specific audiences. To be effective, Instagram stories need to be short, sharp and engaging and meet certain technical specifications set by Instagram. The content supplied varied across each brief – from just text, to student photos and video testimonials. This pushed us to use a variety of animation styles, whilst ensuring that the University’s brand was consistently applied, to create a range of engaging adverts.


For each animation, we begin by defining the messaging and producing a scene by scene storyboard. These storyboards show the static visual elements to be used with detail about the animation transitions that were being proposed. This stage enables the client to feed back on the visual design, messaging and intended transition styles before animation begins. This ensures the most efficient workflow as amendments to animation sequences tend to be far more time-consuming than amendments to initial storyboards. We also liaise with the client at this stage in relation to sound (background music and/or sound effects) as well as anticipated length. Understanding at what point in a video an Instagram Story will transition is important to ensure continuity of messaging. Once storyboards are approved, we sometimes choose to animate some initial frames to ensure the client is happy with the style and speed of the animations. After incorporating any initial feedback, we are then in a strong position to work through the rest of the animation(s), confident that all parties understand how the final video will look. Upon final sign off of the animation, we prepare all final files to ensure they meet Instagram’s file specifications.


We’ve now undertaken a variety of Instagram Story projects for the university, both for broad awareness and more subject-specific advertising. By using the university’s strong colour palette with an infographic style, we’ve successfully created Instagram Stories that effectively deliver key messaging in an easily digestible way. We’ve also helped the university faculties to maximise their budgets by establishing common elements within campaign advertising which can be used across multiple subject areas. This means that we’ve been able to deliver multiple animations at a fraction of the cost compared to if they were commissioned in isolation.

In comparison to their previous video ad campaign, the Social Sciences Instagram advertising project decreased cost per user by 22% and increased engagement by 29%.

Questions to the client

What makes us different?

You take time to understand the brief. You create a good environment for a free-flowing exchange of ideas that makes innovation easy.

What was the best thing about working with us on this project?

You worked with some tight deadlines. You streamlined the process to create a huge amount in a short timeframe.

What 3 words would you use to summarise the project?

Creative – Impactful – Efficient