Why Marketers Should Care About Instagram Stories Ads

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Instagram Stories are kind of like the new kid on the block on the Facebook ad platform. Being able to promote ads on Instagram Stories rolled out in March of this year (2017).

Earlier this year they were being tested by major companies like Airbnb, Nike etc. for advertising purposes. After the testing, Facebook shared an Airbnb success story, Airbnb saw a double-digit point increase in ad recall when they shared their “experiences ad” on Instagram Stories.

With that kind of impact, it has led many other companies to get on board with testing out Stories as a format for their ads.

Now that Instagram Stories are available to companies of all sizes, we’ll walk you through what they are and why you should consider using them as a part of your marketing mix.

Facebook has also made updates to Instagram Stories recently to make it easier for brands to take advantage of the ad offerings.



So what is an Instagram Story exactly?


Similar to Snapchat stories, Instagram Stories allows users to share a moment/memory temporarily (usually 24 hours) before disappearing from viewers. Users can share videos or images.

Instagram Stories

Home screen with Instagram stories

Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories

Our partner Ricardas Restaurant is brilliant at using Instagram Stories to engage with their audience.  Imagine these stories in ad format!

Specifically, Instagram Stories ads allow companies to share a short ad between users Instagram stories. (Think commercials between tv shows!)

The Instagram Stories ads are up to 15 seconds long, and fill up the entire vertical of the mobile phone (9:16 aspect ratio). The story ad can be either an image or a video.

Viewers can watch their friends stories right till the end (ads and all) or swipe out. They can also share the ads directly with their friends.

Important to note is that once the ad is over a user cannot re-engage with it because it disappears on their home screen. What this means is that your ad needs to be extremely engaging so that users click-through in that one opportunity.

So why should marketers care about Instagram Stories?

Aside from Instagram being one of the most used apps to date with 500 million active users.

According to Facebook, 50% of businesses have been using Instagram Stories in the past month. As previously mentioned, some big names have seen an impact from this ad format.

Many, using different filters and other strategies to showcase their brand’s unique identity.
Here are some of the top reasons Marketers should use Instagram Stories Ads:

1. You can repurpose other ads
Brands can also use Canvas ads on the Instagram Stories platform. This means you can run the same ads across Facebook, Instagram, and the Audience Network.

The good thing is that businesses won’t have to spend time creating new ad formats for Instagram Stories since canvas ads will run across all platforms.

You have the same options to choose the objective of your Instagram Stories ad as well just like other forms of Instagram ads. For example, engagement, app installs, lead generation, awareness, etc.

The story allows users to click through to one specific URL to capture the conversion.

You can also repurpose regular Instagram Stories posts as ads. Yes, that does mean your filters, boomerangs, and drawings can all be used in an ad.

2. It’s more seamless
Since Instagram ads are slotted between a user’s story they have the potential to look a lot less like an ad and more like native/organic content.

This is important to a lot of users who don’t want their experience on the platform to be disrupted, thus keeping them on the platform longer.

People also don’t like being sold to. Smart marketers make their ads seamless and Instagram Stories allow for a more seamless advertising experience, without pissing off your target audience.

Bottom line: your audience will probably be more receptive to being touched this way as long as your targeting is correct and you’re touching the right people.

3. Fullscreen = Full attention

Facebook Ads

The story ad format is very immersive since it fills up the entire screen of a phone. It, therefore, requires your audience’s full attention.

This is a positive thing because it means that your audience cannot be distracted by other things on the screen and with such short attention spans, this can be a real issue!

Many brands die for this opportunity! To have their ideal audience fully immersed in their ad is a dream come true.

The fullscreen allows for this, but it’s up to brands to keep the content of their Stories engaging so that users don’t feel compelled to swipe out of the ad.


Final thoughts
Instagram Stories are a unique way to deliver your ad content to your ideal customer.

Experiment with this platform to see if you can benefit from the seamless, immersive, and fullscreen benefits.

Follow the likes of big brands like Airbnb to see if you should include them in your marketing mix.

Want to create dope Instagram Stories Ad Campaigns? Let Abacus help you!