Article

Rob Kabrovski
Rob Kabrovski 21 November 2017

Instagram Stories: A Powerful, ‘Underused’ Opportunity for Advertisers

100 million users began using Instagram Stories within the first two months of its launch last August. The feature’s originality, ease-of-use, and ephemerality has led to high engagement, with one-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories posted by businesses, not consumers. Adaptly's Rob Kabrovski explains why they are a refreshing alternative to more traditional ad formats.

100 million users began using Instagram Stories within the first two months of its launch last August, uploading photo and video sets that disappear after 24 hours. The feature’s originality, ease-of-use, and ephemerality has led to high engagement, with an impressive stat for advertisers: One third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories were posted by businesses.

As of March this year, Instagram also offers in-story ad placements and reporting, letting businesses see reach, impressions, replies, and exits from their promoted content. 70% of Instagram Stories are viewed with sound on, making it an ideal placement opportunity for branded video content. Innovative brands like Airbnb and ASOS have already begun using this immersive storytelling format to good effect.

With an “in-the-moment” feel, Instagram Stories represents a refreshing alternative to more traditional ad formats. It’s a conduit for intimate content, speaking directly to audiences and forgoing the polished look of TV, print, or display ads for content that is authentic and natural on the platform.

But according to Ed Couchman, Facebook’s Director of Agency Partnerships, Instagram Stories is still “largely underused” by advertisers. He spoke about the still-emerging platform at a recent Adaptly breakfast event in London. The format requires innovation and creative thinking, turning traditional media creation processes on their heads. In a world of declining consumer attention spans, impact is largely determined by creative quality – much of which is about matching your content to the natural feel of the platforms.

The full-screen, vertical nature of Instagram Stories lends itself to visual and creative brand experiences via photos and videos. It’s a great way of showcasing time-limited opportunities, exclusive experiences, promotions, and behind-the-scenes content.

Amidst a 150% increase in video consumption on Instagram, it’s been well-established that moving imagery is an important part of success on the platform. Video has long been one of the key elements of social media marketing, especially for building awareness and engaging users. Real-time formats, such as Instagram Stories, are particularly interesting as they enable companies to be a bit more experimental, raw, and authentic. 

Instagram Stories is a new, unique canvas. With its relaxed, native feel, users are already flocking to Instagram for inspiration. As brands and advertisers, it’s up to us not to disappoint them.

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