When Instagram first released their Stories feature in August 2016, I didn’t look at my regular post feed for at least a week. Between boomerangs, drawings, little emojis, and the enduring appeal of ephemeral entertainment, I was hooked.
Soon enough, my friends and I were using Stories for parties, for soccer practice, for political opinion, for what have you.
But here’s the thing — I didn’t come from Snapchat. I had deleted my Snapchat account two years previously, fed up with having 800 seconds worth of snaps to watch and people “wondering” why I hadn’t gotten the memo to meet them for drinks.
For me, Stories did what Snapchat hadn’t — they made communication that was not only imperfect and fleeting, but also non-demanding and purely fun.
Brands using Stories for advertising
Soon enough, brands started popping up in our Stories feeds as well.
Unlike Snapchat, Instagram was able to attract advertisers in droves to spend on the platform. For one, the audience has ballooned to more than 400 million daily users of Stories alone — easily doubling Snapchat’s 191 million.
Facebook, who owns Instagram, rolled out their own Stories feature at the beginning of October this year. While they may still be relatively new to the concept and finding their groove, there are already 1 billion Facebook Stories shared daily, per their Q3 earnings report.
And where the people are, the advertisers go — marketers are including Stories in their holiday budgets more than ever.
Stories trending in 2018 holiday ads
In our recent research report with Kenshoo, we looked at digital advertising trends for the 2018 holiday season.
Among many things, we asked which new opportunities advertisers were pursuing this year. Here’s what they said:
38% of brands state that they have included Facebook Stories in their holiday marketing plans and 37% have included Instagram Stories, making these two of the most popular new advertising opportunities for the 2018 holidays.
A further 31% considered Messenger ads but did not include them in this year’s strategy. As we reported previously, Facebook is still struggling to figure out how to monetize Messenger.
Of brands who do plan to invest in Facebook Stories this holiday season:
- 71% think Facebook will be the most important channel for awareness
- 63% think Facebook will be the most important for sales
- 73% plan to spend on Instagram Stories as well
Interestingly, Snapchat, the app responsible for beginning the Stories craze, will receive very little of these marketing
dollars this holiday season comparatively, with only 10% of brands planning to advertise on the platform.
Although Snapchat initially popularized this content format with a mass audience, its moves to attract advertisers were slower to get off the ground.
Instagram, on the other hand, took the idea and ran with it — their CEO even admitted back at the 2016 Stories launch that “They [Snapchat] deserve all the credit. This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”
What is it about Instagram and Facebook Stories that’s making advertisers latch on?
Besides the aforementioned boomerangs, drawings, little emojis, and the enduring appeal of ephemeral entertainment, Stories offer a lot of value that traditional posts don’t. With Stories, brands can post more frequently without compromising style or aesthetic. They can link directly to an outside website. They can showcase a more personal, enjoyable side of their brand — and ultimately connect with their audience in a new way.
In our research, we asked brands which trends they see as the breakthrough developments this holiday season. Their answers?
- “Humanizing brand stories”
- “Making an emotional connection through digital ads”
- “Developing an engaging narrative journey”
Stories it is, then!
To learn more about the numbers behind social media Stories in 2018 holiday advertising spend vs 2017 — along with a wealth of insight on mobile, platforms, budgets, conversion/acquisition, and much more — download our full report, Digital Advertising Trends for the 2018 Holiday Season.