If you’re still not convinced of the power of Instagram Stories, then I’ll just leave these stats here: Facebook announced in April that over 500 million daily active people are now using Stories (across Instagram, Facebook and Messenger), that’s a rise of 100 million since October 2018.
Stories has changed the way users present themselves on Instagram. The main grid is predominantly taken up with aesthetically pleasing, edited images, but Stories provide an unfiltered version of life. The more off-the-cuff and ad hoc the content, the better, and users are loving it. Authenticity is a word that has been bandied around a lot in the last few years, and the increase in Stories users is testament to the desire for authentic content from people and brands alike.
This is great for organisations with smaller budgets, there is no need to produce sleek images and expensive video for Stories. Add to this that Stories content is transient, which means that brands can give more behind the scenes insights into the people and content. Stories only remain on the Stories feed for 24 hours, so spending a lot of time and money isn’t necessary. Plus, Instagram Stories have so many brilliant tools to use natively in the app (eg stickers, gifs, polls, text) that you’re better not to go overboard with design.
The functionality available when creating Instagram Stories isn’t just to make your image look good, it’s also brilliant for encouraging engagement. The polls, questions and love-o-meter stickers all provide a call to action and actively invite viewers to respond to your content and spend longer thinking about your brand.
Stories lend themselves really well to behind the scenes content. Our wine clients, who were able to capture behind the scenes video and photos during vintage, saw an increase in the reach of their Stories during this period and some great engagement.
Stories also provide an opportunity to humanise a brand with mini interviews with the team, a day in the life style content. Show your followers the people that make your business great in a simple iPhone video. You can even go Live! Most of all have fun.
Until recently, only users with 10,000 followers or more could drive traffic to a website, without spending money on advertising. Since the introduction of Shoppable links, users with a business account and a product to sell online can drive traffic to a website. Sorry alcohol brands, this doesn’t include you yet.
Instagram Stories advertising is still in its infancy, currently only 29% of Facebook advertisers (eMarketer) are advertising on Instagram Stories. And yet Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced that 3 million advertisers have now bought Stories ads across Facebook’s family of apps so there’s plenty of inventory and opportunities to be trialed.
Now is potentially a great time to trial some ads in this space and make the most of low costs, whilst the competition is limited. While Facebook advertising costs keep rising, it seems pertinent to direct a proportion of budgets over to Instagram Stories to test what can be achieved.
Whispers are getting louder about the news feed as we know it disappearing altogether over on Facebook. Groups and Messenger are becoming a priority and if Zuckerberg is to be believed Facebook Stories will be just as big as Instagram Stories.
Get your smart phone charged and at the ready, now is the time to get on board with Stories.