Instagram is starting the new year the same way they ended the last one: with new updates and further investments into the business section of their platform. A new update is supposed to roll out globally soon, which will allow businesses to place advertisements into their Stories.

Ever since Instagram Stories were launched in August of 2016, Instagram has been putting a lot of effort and resources into the new format. And the statistics show that they have been very successful with their efforts. Instagram reported that 150 million users use the format daily. This means, one in four Instagram users actively uses the format each day. The engagement resulting from Instagram Stories is astonishing. One in five stories gets a direct message from the viewers. Statistics like these prove that Instagram hit the nail right on the head with the introduction of the format. Many updates that Instagram launched in the past months were aiming at monetizing the app for businesses and brands. The same goes for Instagram Stories. Instagram has been tracking the success business accounts have been having with the format. According to Instagram, one in three of the most watched Stories are shared by business accounts. This proves once again that users are interested in brand related content on the platform. Combined with the fact that about 70% of users follow a business account on the app, it is more than clear that Stories and Instagram in general have large potential for businesses.

Update for Stories: Insights for Stories

The first addition for Instagram Stories is aiming at the optimization of the format for businesses. Business profiles will receive statistics and insights into their Stories. The update will include figures representing the reach, impressions, replies and exits for each individual Stories. These numbers will serve as a great basis to optimize Stories as a business. This way the shared content will be worthwhile and of interest for the target group.

Full Screen Advertisements in Stories

The big news are ads for Instagram Stories. As 70% of Instagram Stories are watched with the sound on, it seems only sane to invest into this opportunity and allow for even greater influence throughout the format.  The new format will give business profiles the opportunity to place advertisements for their products in their own Stories. To ensure businesses are able to reach the desired target group with their ads, the new update will also include insights regarding targeting, reach and other measurements. Instagram is trying to make the Stories ads as efficient as possible right from the beginning.

At first, around 30 clients worldwide will be presented with the possibility to share ads in their Stories. These include Maybelline New York, Nike, Netflix, Bacardi and ASOS. These businesses will have the honor to participate in the test-run for the new ads, giving Instagram the opportunity to learn from them and make adjustments if necessary. Throughout the course of a few weeks, the option is supposed to be available to all businesses worldwide. Businesses profiles can choose between images that will be shown for 5 seconds or videos that can be up to 15 seconds long. This way, Stories ads will still have the same possibilities as the regular Stories.

What makes the Stories ads special and unique in the world of social media are the analytics and insights. Other platforms who have a similar or even the same Stories format, such as Snapchat, lack the deep insights businesses can get about their ads. Snapchat ads don’t offer the same deep insights and analytics and other platforms don’t offer a Stories format that is so variable and distinct as Instagram’s is.

Future Updates

In their own statement, Instagram stated that they are working on a variety of other functionalities for the Stories format. One specific update will include the “direct response” option in the Stories. Generally speaking, all future updates will aim at making Stories and Instagram as a whole an even better fit for businesses. Instagram is working on wider possibilities and options for the platform, making it a social network as well as a business advertising network.

Cover photo:  unsplash.com/changyuhu

This post is also available in: German