How brands can best take advantage of Instagram Stories ads

With Instagram monetizing its Stories feature, interspersing advertising within the 24-hour content, brands need to be sure to tackle campaigns differently compared to those within the newsfeed.

The social media platform, owned by Facebook, launched its Stories feature that allows users to post content that disappears after 24-hours following Snapchat’s footsteps. The Stories feature will now incorporate advertising into its streams, but brands need to be sure to create campaigns that tap into the timely experience with content such as limited-time opportunities and product launches.

“Brands should keep in mind that viewers are in two very different consumption modes when looking at feed content versus ephemeral content,” said Pau Sabria, co-founder and CEO of Olapic, a partner in Instagram Stories advertising.  “Stories is great for showcasing a limited time opportunity (seasonal, sales), a product launch, exclusive experiences, how-to’s, and behind the scenes, to name a few.

“If brands remain true to the nature of Stories, the ads will capture attention and prove to have great impact,” he said.

Instagram Stories monetization 

In early testing of Instagram Stories ads, Airbnb ran a campaign that saw a double-digit point increase in ad recall.

Instagram’s new ad format allows brands to share vertical advertising that takes up the entire page, following the format of its stories. The ads do not interrupt playing stories, but instead act as “bookends” to keep from interrupting the experience and keep users happy but interested.

Airbnb’s campaign was built of 15-second video ads promoting its new Experiences products, which is a series of guides and recommendations from experts for users.

Each campaign is in Instagram Stories is targeted for specific audiences, so that advertisers can get the most results from their campaigns.

Brands have a significant opportunity to take advantage of an interested audience. Organically, 70 percent of Instagram users are following businesses, which means they are receptive to retail, brand and marketing content, according to internal data from Instagram in January.

Macy’s, GE, E! network, Mountain Dew and Sephora were just a few of the many marketers that first flocked to Instagram’s new Stories feature, which may offer better visibility compared to Snapchat.

Instagram thickened the competition with Snapchat by introducing a feature that allows users to record video and pictures, which appear at the top of selected newsfeeds for only 24 hours, whether they follow the user or not. Brands immediately embraced the intimate feature, hoping to gain back the attention they might have lost after the photo-sharing application changed its algorithm (see more).

“Consumers are showing they love Stories from brands,” Mr. Sabria said. “According to Instagram 70 percent of Instagrammers are following a business, one in five stories gets a direct message from a viewer, while one-third of the most viewed stories are from business.

“The audience is clearly watching and engaged ad formats like this greatly increase the need for brands to create and use video,” he said. “When done right, this format offers consumers an exciting glimpse of something they won’t see anywhere else and they know it will only last for a short time.

“It creates a sense of surprise and delight that every brand tries to offer in its customer touchpoints.”

Advertising success

Those that leverage the format in an effective manner, with fitting content that taps exclusivity, product launches, seasonal subjects, informational tutorials and behind the scenes, will likely see the greatest success.

With more than 150 million users on Instagram Stories, advertisers can see effective results if used right.

“Instagram Stories has seen great success since its launch with more than 150 million people now using it every day and that is a significant number for brand marketers,” Mr. Sabria said. “Ads in Stories is an immersive, full-screen vertical format that provides brands with an opportunity to build deeply visual and creative experiences through photos and videos.

“It’s a format that is less invasive than traditional ads because it’s highly targeted and they don’t interrupt the story – they bookend them,” he said. “Olapic was given early access to this new format to work with brands to build innovative campaigns that feel native to Stories and capitalize on the vertical video format by using our Content in Motion graphics technology.”

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