Why Instagram Stories Are a Must for Marketers | Marketing Maestros | Blogs | ANA

Why Instagram Stories Are a Must for Marketers

October 18, 2019

By Meg Wise

Bibit Unggul/Shutterstock.com

Upon its launch in 2016, Instagram Stories seemed nothing more than a copycat Snapchat feature. There was much discussion over the future of Stories and the minds of mobile consumers, social marketers, and brands were open, but not entirely bought in. Today there is no doubt as to the virality of this snack-able video platform feature, with some projecting the daily user total will reach close to one billion by the end of 2019.

As a brand, you don't need to solely commit to a year-long Instagram Story publishing strategy to reap the benefits. You can also leverage influencers who fit your brand to publish for you, share your brand story, and connect with fans where they’re most open to hearing from brands. In our current media landscape, influencers are the new publishers. Some are turning social accounts into empires. Just look at Arielle Charnas (@somethingnavy) or Huda Kattan (@hudabeauty). Brands are tapping into influencer marketing due to influencers' ability to retain the attention of highly engaged and emotionally invested fans. What better way to tap into that engagement than with Stories, arguably the most engaging feature of Instagram. With action provoking features such as polls and endless options for creative design through GIFs, AR, and a rainbow palette of brush strokes, Stories offer an elevated experience that doesn’t happen in-feed.

However, there is a perceived difficulty to forecast or measure performance and an inherent belief that the ephemeral nature deems Stories as less valuable. Or, there’s a perceived difficulty to forecast or measure performance when working with influencers. The bottom line is, if brands don’t begin to place value on Stories, they’re missing out on an opportunity to foster connections with audiences and drive ROI.

At Fullscreen, we’ve seen a shift as users spend more time in Stories than in-feed, both from a consumption and publishing perspective. This is especially true among Gen Z consumers, who are seeking IRL unfiltered content. We’ve learned that Stories are incredibly powerful based on our experience executing branded influencer campaigns with Stories at the center. Over several years we’ve been gathering data from bespoke, high-touch, branded influencer campaigns, resulting in over 9,000 unique data points, thus developing an informed methodology for forecasting the success of Stories. This methodology is imperative to remain on the forefront of the evolving social landscape, thus, meeting our clients' needs for transparency and accuracy in measurement.

Brands may express hesitancy over tapping influencers for Stories, stemming from the perceived lack of discoverability beyond 24 hours but, according to CoSchedule, the lifespan of an in-feed post may be as little as 2.2 hours. You may get likes and comments in-feed but with Instagram Stories Analytics, you can access sticker taps, clicks, replies, taps forward, back, and exits. You can differentiate between the number of unique accounts that viewed your Story in addition to total views. Both in-feed and Story content strategies serve distinct purposes for brands, however, the minutiae of data provided from Instagram Story Analytics can paint a bigger picture if you’re willing to dig deep. Analyze the information available to you and harness it to improve your content strategies in the future.

Harnessing the power of Stories to make meaningful connections with audiences will ultimately drive brand results. Here's how:

  • Dedicate yourself to better forecasting and measurement of your influencer campaigns. Accurately forecasting views leads to a stronger content strategy. You can’t assume you’re going to get 500K views from an influencer with 500K followers so you may need more partners or content to get there. Although one size doesn’t always fit all, there will always be creators who pull in larger amounts of views on average. Look to data to determine who they are and find ways to partner them when it’s a good fit.
  • Commit to best practices in order to maximize results. Post when you know audiences are online, use creative storytelling to engage audiences through features, fight follower fraud, and lean on the influencer’s best practices in terms of date and time of the posts.
  • Go beyond views to discover deeper layers of engagement. Who cares if it’s short-lived if it leaves a lasting impression? With Instagram Analytics you can access detailed metrics and derive performance metrics such as view rate, engagement rate, cost-per-click, and estimated completion rate. You can also surmise anecdotal performance of your brands or influencer partner’s storytelling skills based on their ability to hold an audience.
  • Learn, experiment, and optimize. Testing and learning are key. Stories can complement what you’re already doing in-feed if they’re used to their full potential. Pay mind to engagement drop off — when are people losing interest? Do stories with polls or questions lead to more link clicks? Evaluate your influencer partners and lean into those bringing you results. Seeking the answers to these questions will get you closer to the optimization you’re seeking.

Meg Wise is integrated marketing manager at Fullscreen.

The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

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