Instagram Stories is now up to 400 million daily users, and Facebook executives have noted that the Stories format is on track to become the primary social sharing platform, overtaking the News Feed before the end of the year.
The trends indicate that you should be considering where Stories fits into your social media marketing strategy – but given it’s such a new and different format to master, how can you know what you should be aiming for?
What qualifies as ‘good’ Instagram Stories performance? What type of Stories content should you be posting?
Lucky for you, the team at Delmondo have got your back. Delmondo, a social analytics company, has been specifically focused on the evolution of the Stories format, developing the industry standard for reporting both vertical video and Stories (Snapchat and Instagram) performance.
Given this, the company is perfectly placed to provide insights into key Stories trends and usage – which they’ve done in their latest report, which highlights their findings from over 5,000 Instagram Stories over the last six months.
Here are five key insights from the report
1. Stories Reach
First off, the Delmondo team have sought to put together accurate benchmarks for Stories reach.
Of course, this is difficult because every brand is different, but the Delmondo team have separated their findings by vertical to try and hone in their figures.
As you can see, the average reach rate for Instagram Stories is around 7.2% of your Instagram following, with significant variations dependent on your sector. As noted, this is not definitive, but it may help give you a better idea of what success looks like in terms of your Stories performance.
Delmondo also notes that the average reach rate for regular Instagram posts is around 3x more than Stories viewership.
Of course, that makes sense – Instagram has more than a billion active users, and fewer than half of them are also using Stories, while Stories also disappear after 24 hours. Delmondo’s team makes the point, however, that Instagram Stories are ‘intent-driven’ (the user has to choose to view them) and Stories also take up 100% of the screen.
Worth considering in your calculations.
2. Stories Length
Delmondo’s data suggests that shorter Instagram Stories work best - but longer ones in which users are invested can also work.
As you can see, completion rates are highest for Stories of ten frames or less, but subsequent completion rates are fairly stable for Stories between 21 and 40 frames long.
“This suggests once you get past 20 frames, most people are invested enough to keep going.”
That finding could be particularly relevant for Stories from events or functions, where you’re giving your viewers an inside perspective. If you can’t capture all of the relevant info within the ideal ten frame benchmark, you can go longer, and it won’t necessarily mean a significant viewer drop-off.
As it is with video – and as you would likely expect – the first frames of your Stories are key.
As per Delmondo:
“We found that on average, more people exit on the first frame than any other part of your story. For people to continue watching they need to be hooked. This means if your first frame is dull or repetitive, the majority of your audience isn’t even seeing the real content you’re spending the time producing.”
Front-loading Stories content is also a key part of Snapchat’s Stories advice – as per their recent best practices video, Snap says that your initial Snap should go for five seconds or less, and that the first two seconds of your sequence matter the most.
You need to consider your hook, and how you deliver it, to get viewers in, and keep them around to see more.
4. Best Time to Post
There’s a heap of ‘best times to post’ advice out there for all social platforms and post types, and the real, true answer is that ‘it depends’. It depends on your brand, your audience, it depends on your niche – the factors that will truly dictate your best time to post will be specific to you, and you’ll only be able to accurately determine them through trial and error.
But general guidelines do narrow down the field – if you are going to start testing best times, it’s good to have the broader research on hand to guide your experiments.
So when’s the best time to post your Instagram Story?
Late night to very early morning sees the best completion rates.
Why is that? There’s some argument to be made that early morning times always appear in these reports because there’s less competition for user eyeballs. Fewer people posting means less content for users to see, so the chances of your posts standing out are much greater.
This could also be true on Instagram, especially for brands, most of whom are no doubt posting during business hours, while users – particularly given the more immersive nature of Stories – are likely waiting till they have their time free to be able to lean back and consume such content.
5. Stories Content
The Delmondo team has also provided some tips on the most effective types of Stories content.
Some of these notes are likely content-specific – you’re not going to get Chuck Norris to promote your business. But they provide some good pointers on content types to consider, which will get viewers to stick around and view more of your frames.
These are just some of the notes included in Delmondo’s full report, which you can download for free (with sign-up) here. If you’re looking to get into Instagram Stories – and as noted, given the growth and trend stats, you likely should be – this is a great report from an industry leader in Stories analytics.