What We Learned About Instagram Story Performance by Analyzing Over 800 Accounts
Given Instagram stories’ quick adoption by more than 300 million daily users, recent Facebook ad integration and confirmation that an option to share stories directly to Facebook is coming, it’s no wonder that brands and influencers are actively exploring the format.
Since launching Delmondo’s Instagram story analytics offering in August, we’ve monitored more than 800 active Instagram accounts to identify early usage trends and best practices.
Here’s a summary of the key trends we’ve found so far.
User Consumption is High and Brands Are (Tentatively) Making Grabs for Their Attention
There’s no doubt that brands and influencers alike are aware of the opportunity stories provide to grab increased reach and engagement, but we noticed a lower adoption rate than the 50% of businesses Instagram reported had posted a story in the last 30 days back in August.
Of our sample of over 800 active Instagram accounts, only 16% had posted a story within the last 30 days.
Influencers Are Right At Home
Our key performance metric of interest during our analysis was Completion Rate - the total percentage of people who watched a story from start to finish. We found this metric to be of particular value since it helps level the playing field for accounts across all verticals and with wide ranges of followings.
Given that high post performance is part of the criteria needed to be labelled an 'influencer' on any platform, it’s no surprise that the Influencer vertical lead all others in story completion rate.
As you can see, Influencers were followed by the 'Entertainment' and 'Sports' verticals, both driving an average completion rate of 67%.
Brands looking to test the waters of Instagram Stories, might leverage this data to consider partnering with an influencer for either a brand integration or an account takeover campaign, given the success of their content.
Keep Your Storyboard Tight
You know that sinking feeling you get when you scroll into a 30-post story from a friend who got way too excited at The Met?
Don’t feel bad. Most people feel the same way about over-indulgent stories. We noticed a direct correlation between completion rate and story length, with a steady downward trend that synced with an increase in the number of posts per story.
One interesting break from this trend was a slight uptick in completion rates for stories with more than 60 posts.
Our sample size of stories with more than 60 posts was quite small, but with brands like Chipotle testing this flipbook-esque creative execution, this is definitely a format we’ll be monitoring for more insights in future.
Leverage Early Afternoon and Late Evening Key Posting Times
Recommended posting times are always of great interest, but also require the caveat that great content always has an advantage over bad content posted at the optimal day and time.
That said, out of the posts that drew a completion rate of more than 70%, we did see a much higher index of posts during two key times: early afternoon and late evening.
As noted, this is not definitive, but it may provide some guidance as to where to start experimenting when determining your Instagram Stories process.
We'll be monitoring the performance of Instagram Stories to determine more usage trends, in order to help optimize campaigns, and maximize audience response. Hopefully these notes highlight some key learnings you can apply to your own Stories planning.
A version of this post was first published on the Delmondo blog.
Follow Nick Cicero on Twitter