Before diving right into the benefits of using Instagram stories for your business, let’s start with some information on exactly what Instagram Stories are and how they work.
Stories were first introduced to the Instagram platform in August 2016, and if you are yet to consider making use of Instagram stories for your business, then now is the perfect time! According to statistics, Instagram stories are used by more than 500 million users every day (Instagram internal data, January 2019). One third (1/3) of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses, with 50% of these businesses on Instagram worldwide posting at least one story within a typical month.
So how does it all work? When you click on someone’s story within the Instagram app, it will then show either a photo or a video (depending on what they posted). For photo content, the image will show for, on average, about 5 seconds. With video content, instagram stories allow for up to a maximum of 15 seconds. This content then remains on Instagram Stories for 24 hours, unless deleted by the user who initially uploaded it.
Unlike that of regular instagram posts, stories do not follow the same format and/or capabilities - allowing you to apply various different filters, text, stickers, GIFs, polls and a whole lot more.
Perhaps one of the most useful features of Instagram stories is the capability of adding web links and URLs to your stories, however, this feature is only made available to verified Instagram accounts - i.e. accounts with over 10,000 followers. Since stories are only visible for 24 hours, it is best to add links for limited time sales promotion offers.
As with all other aspects of online and digital marketing, you will need a well thought out strategy in order to achieve your goals and be successful. The question, as with everything else in life, becomes - where to start? Here are a few suggestions to help you get you started:
So now that you are a little bit more familiar with exactly what Instagram Stories are and how they work - it’s time to take a look at how you can start utilising stories to your advantage!
Instagram stories are now a platform from which you can advertise. Much like Facebook ads, there are multiple campaign objectives that can be optimised for business advertising through stories. Some of these objectives include: Reach, Video Views, Brand Awareness, Web Traffic, Conversions, App Downloads and even Lead Generation! All of this is achieved through various Call-to-Actions that one can utilise with Instagram Story Ads such as; Apply Now, Contact Us, Download, Learn More, Shop Now, Sign Up and may others.
One of the most common mistakes that marketers make starting an Instagram Stories Ads campaign, much like many other marketing campaigns, is failing to choose the right objective from the start. Ultimately, you want to choose the objective that best describes the type of action you are looking for. The reason for doing this is that Instagram will then show the ad to those within your target audience, you’ve previously selected, who are most likely to perform that desired action. For example, if you select “Conversions” as your objective then the ad will be shown to people within your target audience who are not only likely to click, but also to convert.
Just like organic Instagram stories, these ads disappear after 24 hours and appear between regular story posts within a user’s story feed, however, users on Instagram are unable to see the ad coming in advance and thus ads “pop up” and are nicely wedged between 2 pieces of story content that the user was planning on viewing already.
Just like all other advertisements through Instagram and Facebook, you are able to view a multitude of different insights for your Instagram Stories Ads through Facebook Ads Manager. These include overall performance, reach, impressions and video metrics. This allows you to optimise your ads and see which ads are outperforming others - such that your advertising budget is not wasted and is used as efficiently as possible. The ability to have such easy access to data such as this is priceless when it comes to running a successful Instagram stories ads campaign.
So, at the end of the day - if you’re a business on Instagram it is vital that you make use of Instagram Stories and Stories Ads. Don’t waste your time on traditional marketing methods that simply don’t yield results, get real, measurable results through Instagram Stories Ads and start growing your business! Even if you aren’t quite ready to start paying for sponsored advertising, just by making regular use of organic Instagram stories you can start connecting with your audience and expanding your reach today.