- Brands can now advertise on Instagram Stories more easily. They can use a new uploading tool to convert their organic Instagram Stories into ads and can run ads on Instagram Stories existing Facebook ad products. These new offerings are designed to help brands reach newer audiences with existing content and give them more flexibility with how they create and buy ads on Instagram Stories.
Facebook wants to turn Instagram Stories into the next big ad platform, and is trying to get brands of all sizes embrace it.
The company today unveiled a number of updates that make it easier for brands and businesses of all sizes to advertise on the platform, including a new uploading tool that lets marketers who already produce Instagram Stories to repurpose them as paid ads.
Businesses can now also use Facebook’s Canvas ad format on Instagram Stories as well as well, allowing them to more easily run the same ads across Facebook, Instagram and the Audience Network.
Instagram Stories has been growing at a rapid clip in the little over a year that it’s been around for, with over 250 million daily active users and more than 50% of businesses on Instagram creating stories in the past month, according to the company. These tools are designed to help brands reach newer audiences with existing content.
The updates are also designed to give advertisers more flexibility with how they create and buy ads on Instagram Stories. For example, brands looking for a more polished experience can opt for Canvas ads, which should allow them to create compelling and fast-loading fullscreen ads.
And for brands with limited resources (like smaller businesses), they can just upload their existing organic Instagram Stories posts and use them as ads using the Power Editor and Ads Manager tools.
Mattress brand Casper, for instance tapped Facebook Canvas on Instagram Stories during a recent campaign, using the fullscreen ads to educate its audience about its product benefits and warranty, as well as share client testimonials.
On the other hand, online flower retailer The Bouqs Company opted to use the creative tools of the native Instagram Stories camera such as face filters, boomerangs and drawing tools to create a regular Instagram Stories post and then repurpose it as an ad.
“Our goal is to always engage customers authentically and share content with them that inspires and adds to their experience,” said Tricia Teschke, senior social and content manager at Buoqs.com. “Being able to leverage what we see working well organically on Instagram Stories to effectively and more efficiently reach customers is a powerful tool to drive impact with social.”
For Jill Sherman, social media head at agency DigitasLBi, this definitely makes Instagram more attractive.
“Glossy ads stand out, especially on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, where photography and organically-produced content is king,” she said. “Many have argued that native content is the best content for a long time, and now we’ll finally be able to pressure test this argument on Instagram, because glossy ads can finally go head to head with natively-created Stories.”
The new uploading tools are particularly attractive to smaller businesses that rely on Instagram for their marketing efforts, said Sherwin Su, director of social activation at Essence.
“It’s a smart move for Instagram to enable marketers to easily create content that’s vertical and native to the Stories interface,” he said. “The lower the barrier to creating relevant and feed-optimized Instagram content, the more advertisers will be attracted to using their advertising tools.”
Brands now also have the option to automatically add Instagram Stories to their Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network campaigns. With this, Facebook’s goal seems to be to make Instagram Stories an important part of a marketers’ media mix on the platform.
Procter and Gamble’s SK-II brand recently tested the waters, running a split-test to see how Instagram Stories performed in conjunction with its feed campaigns across Facebook and Instagram. The skincare brand saw promising results, achieving a brand lift of 13 points in awareness for its new product Genoptics and an increase in reach by 30% amongst its target audience of females in Japan aged 18-54, versus running on Instagram and Facebook feed alone.
In addition to making it easier for brands to run ads on Instagram Stories, Instagram is also letting users share Stories with their friends directly. Starting today, users can share Stories in Direct, simply by tapping the direct icon in the bottom right corner, selecting a friend or group to share it with and clicking on send.