Instagram Stories is now bigger than ever, after increasing its daily view count to an impressive 150 million in just five months. As its prevalence grows, Instagram is capitalizing on the social-sharing format’s reach by allowing brands to insert ads between their Stories (essentially temporal slideshows of user-generated images and videos shared within the span of 24 hours).
Skippable, full-screen ads are currently being tested with more than 30 global partners including: Capital One, General Motors, Buick, Nike, Yoox, Netflix, and Shiseido, among others. One of these clients, Airbnb, is currently utlizing the feature by adding 15-second video ads into its Stories.
Instagram has a huge advertising problem, mainly due to the fact that celebs and public figures on its service do not label their promotional posts as such, so the fact that video ads within Stories will carry a “sponsored” label appears to be a step in the right direction. However, it could be argued that branded Stories are essentially ads anyway.
Instagram claims that 70 percent of its 600 million users are following a business and that one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses. It also reveals that roughly 70 percent of stories are being watched with the sound on. Overall, the statistics indicate that Stories are ripe for advertising, with brands such as fashion label Mulberry already boasting an increase in site engagement from swipable links in Stories.
To help businesses track their influence on Instagram, the photo-sharing app is also launching analytics for Stories including reach, impressions, replies and exits. The feature is bundled with Instagram’s business tools for business profiles.
Instagram’s ads expansion follows in the footsteps of its parent company Facebook. The big, blue social network announced its plans to test mid-roll ads within videos earlier thismove is seen as a way for Facebook (and publishers) to make money from videos, which the company claims will make up 70 percent of all traffic on its platform by 2021.
Users worried that the changes may affect the viewing experience on Facebook and Instagram should keep in mind that pre- and mid-roll ads are ubiquitous. Both YouTube and Twitter utilize them in one form or another, and Snapchat began inserting skippable ads between Stories last year.
Instagram has not specified how much it intends to pocket from the promotional content, although Facebook is thought to be keeping 45 percent of ad sales (the same deal offered by YouTube).
Nonetheless, the good news for Instagram is that its plagiarism has paid off. Despite pinching Stories from Snapchat, the format has taken off on its service. Since October, Stories have nabbed an additional 50 million daily views, and they continue to boost engagement — with Instagram claiming that one in five Stories gets a direct message from its viewers.