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Instagram Stories: everything advertisers need to know

Instagram launched a new feature called Instagram Stories last August to compete directly with its rival Snapchat. Stories allow users to take photos and create 10-second videos that disappear after 24 hours.

The new tool brought additional opportunities for advertisers interested in Instagram due to its 400 million daily users, visual appeal and an engaged young audience.

Initially, Instagram tested ads on Stories by partnering with 30 brands. Nike, Unilever and Capital One were some of the beta testers of advertising on Instagram Stories.

After two months, Instagram finally released ads on Stories globally for any small or big brand interested in tapping into the potential of the new tool.

Want to figure out if you can benefit from the power of Instagram Stories? Take a deep dive into the new feature with us.

Read more: A begginer’s guide to Instragram’s direct response ads

Why you should advertise on Instagram Stories

Instagram’s highly engaged audience made Stories pick up quickly after its launch. The platform hit 150 million daily users.

The first brands to advertise on Instagram Stories felt the power of the new feature. Nike’s first campaign generated 800,000 views in 24 hours.

Instagram Stories is also a good opportunity because it offers a new avenue for advertisers interested in Facebook ads. Recently, Facebook admitted being running out of places to put ads in its News Feed. With Instagram Stories, the social network now has more inventory to sell in its Audience Network. Besides, 70% of Instagram users follow a brand on the platform, an incredible opportunity for marketers.

How to advertise on Instagram Stories

Each ad can be composed of either five seconds images or 15-second videos. Brands can tie multiple 15-second stories together to convey its message just like users do.

The ads will appear on user’s feeds with a ‘sponsored’ message at the bottom and will play the sound automatically. Users can skip them at any time by swiping.

The ads on Instagram Stories can be managed through Facebook’s Power Editor, Ads Manager or API.

How to create an ad on Instagram Stories

Currently, brands are only allowed to use Instagram Stories for campaigns that have reach as the objective.

Follow these steps to get your Instagram Stories campaign started.

  • Go to Ads Manager
  • Click the option Create an Ad
  • Select the reach objective
  • In the Ad Set section, click Placements
  • Select the Edit Placements, then select the Instagram placement
  • Click Stories
  • Follow the rest of the steps to continue building your ad campaign.
  • When you’re ready, click Review Changes to publish your changes

You can use the same targeting and measurement tools you use for Instagram and Facebook ads. Instagram has also rolled out a free analytics tool called “Stories Insights” in which brands can see the reach, impressions, replies and exits.

For more details on how to set up a campaign on Instagram, check out our guide for success on Instagram.

Tips to advertise on Instagram Stories

Use good storytelling

Successful ads on Instagram Stories are those that mimic the Stories medium. Instagram users share pieces of their lives every day to tell their own stories and share parts of their lives with their followers. Brands should do the same and provide users with the same intimacy and experience.

Airbnb, one of the first companies to advertise on Stories, promoted its Airbnb Experiences product on the platform. The 15-second ads highlighted the unique experiences Airbnb users could have through the Airbnb Experiences product. The ads showed travelers exploring Toronto, participating in a cooking class in Japan and brewing some coffee. It was like having a window into their lives for a few seconds.

Invest in strong visuals and personality

Instagram is a visual platform. When it comes to Stories, exploring the power of an image is even more important to avoid users swiping and skipping your ad. The clothing brand ASOS created a powerful editorial shoot for its debut in Instagram Stories. It appealed directly to their audience by exploring details of the pieces and building upon the personality of the brand.


Use celebrity power

Celebrities make for effective and catchy advertising. It is not different on Instagram Stories. Maybelline ran two Instagram stories with makeup artists Manny Gutierrez (known as MannyMUA) and Shayla Mitchell (known as MakeupShayla) to promote a new mascara. On an interview, the brand explained the move saying these artists already use platforms like Instagram to connect with their followers, which results in greater impact and engagement when the ad is released.


Think vertical

Instagram is a platform made for vertical video. Its feature Stories is incompatible with the traditional horizontal format. You have to think vertical and adapt the video for a comfortable mobile experience to be successful. Louis Vuitton France shot an entire campaign using vertical video to raise awareness of its spring-summer 2017 collection on Instagram.



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