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What Are Instagram Sponsored Stories?

This week, when scrolling through our Instagram Stories, we saw an account that we were not following pop up with a slick video amongst our Stories. The brand was ASOS and they, along with Nike, Netflix, Qantas and Airbnb, are the guinea pigs for testing Instagram’s new Sponsored Stories advertising.

Instagram Sponsored Story AirBnB

The Stories feature, (which is continually critiqued in it’s similarity to Snapchat) has been huge for Instagram and it’s businesses and influencers, reaching 150 million active users a day (which, funnily enough, pretty much matches Snapchat’s latest daily figures…)

But why are some brands now looking to advertise on Instagram Stories over Snapchat? Snapchat has amazing brand features such as geo filters and lenses, as well as video ads, but the cost for advertising is huge, varying between £8,000 to £600,000 depending on the service you’re after with limited insight into the success rate of ads… Not exactly a turn on for a very niche audience base.

Instagram Ads are currently run through Facebook Ads Manager or by sponsoring your post in-app, allowing you to carefully target and set your own daily budgets, which has so far been working well for many businesses. But, after seeing that 1/3 of Instagram’s most-watched Stories were created by businesses, the idea to test Sponsored Stories came pretty naturally to the decision makers at Facebook. They’re even rolling out new in-app analytics to the Stories, where brands will be able to see how many views they rack up, impressions, reach, replies and exit time (before the click to the next organic story).

There is limited info on the specifics to using this ad tool, as Instagram seem to be keeping tight-lipped on the success rate and the cost of these ads. What we do know is that Stories ads will be sold on a cost-per-1000-impressions basis and will be priced via auction. Interestingly, impressions are counted as soon as you see the ad, unlike Facebook Video ads which need to be viewed for three seconds before being counted as a view. The ads are also very one-dimensional at the moment, lacking any clickable or ‘swipe-up’ links, leading us to question what the USP for this advertising platform is… is it purely for awareness or are the goals yet to be revealed?

At SocialB, we’re loving the way these ‘exclusive’ features are shaping up across platforms, from live video to Stories, allowing brands to potentially get closer to their audiences through ‘be here now’ style advertising. We’ll definitely be keeping a sharp eye on Instagram Stories advertising to see how businesses see success over the year.

What do you think about Instagram Stories advertising?



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