Instagram has announced that Stories ads are now available to all businesses globally. If you looking to reach the 150 million people using Stories daily, now you can, with immersive, full-screen video content, presented in vertical format.
Instagram launched Stories ads with selected partners back in January - as you can see from the above example, Stories ads appear when you move between Stories, which makes them less intrusive in your Story flow.
Instagram Stories ads can be up to 15 seconds in length and are currently only available on a CPM basis. Ad views are counted as soon as the ads appear - there's no three second view threshold like there is with Facebook video content (this also aligns with how Snapchat counts views). Stories ads are signified by a small 'Sponsored' marker at the bottom center of screen (which you can also see in the example above). The ads play with sound on by default and are skippable.
Also worth noting - only 9:16 vertical images and video can be used for ads on stories.
How effective such ads might be is not totally clear at this stage - a recent report suggested that 69% of Snapchat users skip ads on the platform "always" or "often", a figure that increases to 80% percent among 18 to 24-year-old users. But then again, that's not much different from industry averages - 80% of people skip ads on YouTube, while the average click-through rate for a Facebook ad is reportedly around 0.98%.
As with all things social, individual results will vary - if you have a good ad and your audience is using Instagram Stories, it's likely worth consideration. And when you add in the fact that you can use Facebook's advanced targeting with Instagram ads, it may offer more appeal than Snapchat - but again, it depends on your audience.
To create an Instagram Stories ad:
- Go to Facebook Ads Manager
- Click Create an Ad
- Select the Reach objective
- In the Ad Set section, click Placements
- Select the Edit Placements, then select the Instagram placement
- Click Stories
- Follow the rest of the steps to continue building your ad campaign
- When you're ready, click Review Changes to publish your changes
As noted, Instagram Stories ads use the same targeting and measurement tools as ads that run in the News Feed on Facebook and Instagram. In addition to this, you can also use the available data to target audiences who've seen your Stories Ads and reach them on Facebook or Instagram, or you can do the opposite, targeting Stories ads at audiences that have seen your ad on Facebook or Instagram feed, helping to expand your message and increase brand exposure.
It's another consideration for your social media marketing process - and may become a bigger one moving forward with the addition of Facebook Stories. Perfecting the Stories ad format could be a way to get ahead of the curve - if you believe (as Facebook seems to) that Stories are the way of the future.