Instagram Stories Ads: What We Know

We‘re not surprised that Instagram has announced plans to slot adverts in between its user-generated feature, Instagram Stories. After accumulating over 150 million daily active users since last August, we can only resonate with the confidence behind their bold move to generate more business. Losing general active users will not come into play, considering Instagram Stories holds 50% of the company’s total user base.¹ Pfffft, Snapchat who?

How will the ads work?

The time sensitive ads will join an array of Instagram’s advertising solutions; including photo ads, carousel, and 60 second video. This year takes note of engagement figures; analysing impressions alone should be left in the dust of 2016! Here are a few key facts on how the ads will function:

1. 30+ brands including big hitters like Nike and Netflix will be testing ads on the platform later this month, and will eventually roll out globally

2. Ads will be available in a 5-second photo or 15-second video format, with a `sponsored` label adorning the bottom

3. Audio will automatically play as users tap through

4. There is currently no option to click through or swipe up to an advertiser’s website

What can they do for businesses?

Instagram says the ads will create a more organic viewing experience, with the user consuming them as they would any other content. One in five Stories on Instagram gets a direct message from its viewers³, giving businesses an opportunity to drive sales and build mass brand awareness. Here’s what we know:

1. Brands will get information from Facebook about user’s interests and demographics applicable to them

2. Stories analytics can be checked via the `Insights` button on a user’s profile page

3. The cost of Stories ads are currently on a cost-per-1000 impressions basis

4. Any length of view is counted as an impression

Will they interrupt user experience?

The ads have been designed to blend in for a more natural viewing experience. Tech Crunch critiqued the new service, saying: “Clearly Instagram views the growth of its Stories as strong enough to endure any drop-off in usage that ads cause, and parent company Facebook is eager to see more revenue from its photo acquisition”² There is an obvious pressure in keeping up with Snapchat, who adopted similar ads in June last year.

1. Ads are unclickable and are easy to skip, meaning user experience is barely interrupted

2. Users will not be able to see the ads until they tap through multiple friends’ Stories in sequence²

Are they targeted?

For businesses converted to a business profile, you’ll be able to see the reach, impressions, replies and exits for each story within Business Tools.³ By watching these insights, businesses will be able to create content fitted to their target audience. This is massive for a concept like Instagram Stories or indeed Snapchat, both of which began life as a tool to send disappearing imagery without the commitment of it circling the internet for years. On top of the big brands trialing before the ads launch,  Airbnb will also run a targeted campaign using their regular target demographic of men and women in the US, aged 25-44.

Time will tell as to the success of Instagram Stories after the ads are implemented. But one thing’s for sure, we can’t wait to see who’s ahead of the game this year!

¹ CNBC

² Tech Crunch

³ Instagram Business