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December 12, 2018

BizReport: How to use Instagram Stories to engage this holiday

Instagram Stories have become a significant influencer for many brands, and are expected to have a big influence on shopping through the 2018 holiday season. Here’s how merchants and marketers can use Instagram Stories to engage shoppers through the holiday season – and beyond. By Kristina Knight

Interview originally published @ BizReport content also available here.

Kristina: What is all the fuss about Stories? Why should brand marketers put a focus on them this holiday season?

Jose Sanchez, Head of Creative Studio, The Stories ad format, offered on Instagram and, more recently, Facebook, is an excellent option for brand marketers this holiday season as it’s still so new and not an entirely ad-saturated environment. Moreover, it offers a unique format for advertising as it can fit right in with user-generated content. Stories ads are also vertical and full-screen. Unlike the feed, when consumers view a brand’s Stories ad, there’s nothing else on the screen to distract them – it’s only the consumer and the ad.

Kristina: As the holiday season naturally drives up competition in advertising, it’s important for marketers to diversify spend across the social platforms and experiment with different formats. How can Stories help with this diversification?

Jose: Continued platform expansion enables users to be active on different parts of that platform. Where some users might stick to just the Facebook and Instagram feed, others might prefer Stories over the feed. Diversifying spend ensures that brands get their message in front of all relevant users on a given platform, not just some Related to the last point: it’s also about incrementality: It’s more efficient to spend your campaign budgets by incorporating a variety of placements. We have seen that incorporating Stories ads can drive higher click-throughs and lower cost-per-acquisition for brands.

Kristina: When should marketers use Stories ads? For branding or performance marketing?

Jose: Stories is an excellent format for prospecting, upper-funnel objectives and sending quality traffic to your website, and it can also include elements of performance marketing. The nature of the Stories format and the flexibility that brand marketers have with it means it doesn’t have to serve just one part of the marketing funnel during the holidays. Marketers should look beyond conversions when analyzing results to understand how their audience perceives and reacts to Stories. App marketers may have an audience that is ready to buy right away on their phone, while retailers’ audiences may do more research before converting.

Kristina: How do you make Stories Ads fit in with user-generated content?

Jose: One of the more interesting things about the Stories format, that truly sets it apart from all other forms of advertising, is that you can test approaches that are both produced and organic to see how your audience reacts. A great way for marketers to do this is using the iPhone camera to film an entire ad. Perhaps that means footage that goes behind-the-scenes of how a certain product is made or, perhaps, it’s footage of a consumer actually using or testing the product. Another way to get that UGC look and feel is to utilize the Stories design features within the ads, because Instagram and Facebook users often rely on these features to tell their own Stories. Those types of features include elements like GIFs, stickers, text overlays, and interactive cues, like “scroll up” or “swipe right”. The great perk about designing ads to mimic UGC is that it can humanize the brand and bring it closer to its audience.


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