With all the hype around the social Stories format - and Instagram Stories in particular - it's to be expected that marketers would be paying a lot more attention to the engaging, full-screen presentation option, and tapping in wherever they can.
The problem is that creating effective promotional content within Stories is not so easy. You have to put together engaging, creative material, which grabs attention within the first two seconds, in order to get Stories viewers to tap through and interact with your promotion.
That's not as simple as putting together a basic Facebook News Feed ad, which can now so easily be re-purposed to Instagram. Expanding your Facebook feed ads to Instagram provides a simple means to tap into the rising popularity of the visual-focused app with your promotions, but it's likely not a highly effective one, as it fails to capitalize on the unique strengths of the platform.
And capitalizing on Instagram's strengths is key - as highlighted by new research from socialbakers, for those brands which are tapping into Instagram Stories, and going to the extra effort to create Stories-specific ads, the response rates are worthy of note.
The team from socialbakers analyzed almost 1,700 Facebook ad accounts to get more insight into the performance of Instagram ad campaigns, specifically.
First off, the socialbakers team found that the cost per click for Stories ads is significantly lower than ads run in the main Instagram feed.
That makes sense - with more than a billion users now active on Instagram, more brands have been looking to tap into feed ads, which, as noted, are now very easy to create as an extension of your Facebook campaigns. With competition being much higher, and the quality of Instagram feed ads not as great, the better performance of Stories ads likely reflects the extra effort businesses are going to to create more specific, full-screen ads for the format.
But as noted, that may also be something of an impediment to adoption - socialbakers also found that marketers are spending far less on Stories ads than they are on feed promotions.
You would expect that would change over time - but then again, the technical capacity required to create effective Stories content could continue to act as a deterrent to significant ad spend, especially when it's so easy to put together a quick, in-feed promo.
The data here underlines a key issue in Stories adoption by advertisers, which could become a more significant problem for Facebook moving forward. While Facebook generates a heap of revenue from feed ads, The Social Network has repeatedly stated that Stories are the future of social sharing, and will soon overtake the News Feed as the key social interaction platform of choice. As that happens, Facebook will need to roll out simplified, improved Stories ad creation options in order to ensure that they don't lose ad investment - which, given the noted skills required to create an effective Stories ad, could prove difficult.
What the data here likely indicates is that Facebook will need to provide more advanced tools on this front. The platform recently introduced a new option which automatically creates video promotional content from a collection of still assets, and you can likely expect them to expand this option to accommodate simplified Stories ad creation as well, at some stage.
But the fact of the matter is that Stories ads are currently seeing less attention from brands. As noted, various tests have shown that you need to capture viewer attention within two seconds, which is not easy to do.
No doubt we'll see increased investment in Stories ads over time, but there are some hurdles to overcome before Facebook's able to fully maximize the revenue potential of the option.