Behind the application is the business, and behind the business is the need to drive revenue. With Stories, Instagram aims to capitalize on their platform and the enormous consumer reach it has — an impressive following of over 600 million monthly active users. Teaming up with global advertising giants, IG is now dipping its toes into uncharted waters.
Jim Squares, director of product marketing, said in an interview with Fortune that “a two or three-week test period” will be carried out before releasing it to all its active advertisers. Let’s face it, the similarities between Instagram Stories and Snapchat ads are undeniable. But with Snapchat ads, they work mainly with larger brands and keep ads as unobtrusive as possible. If you want to collaborate with big boys like Netflix or Coca-Cola, you’re looking at a budget bigger than what you might have. By contrast, Instagram ads are self-serving and employ auction-based pricing.
When it comes to setting up and paying for video ads inside Stories, it’s a pretty straightforward process, much like Facebook advertising. Not only do you have the ability to target your audience, but the benefits of working with demographic and Internet-based targeting capabilities definitely give Instagram a competitive advantage. On top of this, users can expect more goodies when the format officially takes off. For the time being, Stories seems to be a simple yet efficient way to test out advertising placement.
Instagram also announced that analytics from Stories will also be included in the Business Tools dashboard, sharing basic insights including reach and impressions — with a good chance of more analytics to be seen in the future. It’s estimated that up to 71 percent of businesses will begin to market on Instagram in 2017, and these efforts will not go unnoticed as most users initiate some sort of action after seeing a post.
It took Instagram quite a while before it rolled out any type of advertising or introduced any kind of business feature. When it finally did, however, they didn’t beat around the bush in monetizing the platform.
That’s because Stories represents a stellar opportunity at getting back at its biggest rival — Snapchat — while simultaneously providing an immersive advertising experience. Because Stories take up the entire mobile screen, so will the ads. Sponsored Stories isn’t exclusive to just images; videos are an optional format for both advertisers and consumers alike. Meaning that full-screen multimedia truly makes it both an interactive and engaging experience. There won’t be a difference in engagement between Organic and Sponsored stories; both enable viewers to like, comment and share.
It might not be the traditional once-upon-a-time kind of story, but Instagram’s latest feature is poised to bring happy endings to many — if utilized properly, of course.
Bob Milliken is TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com specializing in helping businesses with their IT needs. Are you ready to #succeed with Instagram? 604.270.1730.