In case you hadn't heard, consumers love Instagram Stories. And because of that, brands do too.

There are over 500 million daily active Stories users worldwide. Younger users are particularly active on the platform: 59 percent of millennials and 70 percent of Gen Z watch stories, and many engage with brands by swiping up on content and clicking through to shop.

For those new to the platform, Instagram Stories are images and videos located at the top of the Instagram app that last for 24-hours then disappear. When users finish a story, the next one starts playing immediately.

The nature of IG stories--one image or clip appearing on your screen right after the other, makes the medium ideal for advertising. Since the ads flow along with the organic content, some users don't even realize they are watching them at all. Others actually welcome the interaction from brands that they like. A recent study reveals that a quarter of millennials and Gen Z check out IG Stories for the products and services they may want to buy.

That level of brand integration and user engagement can be huge for brands--particularly those that make the most of their advertising opportunities while the platform is still fresh and consumers are open to messaging.

As you plan your IG Stories strategy and budget for 2020, here are three recommendations to keep in mind. 

Engage Your Target Audience

Here's an eye-opening stat for marketers and brands: consumers are 58 times more likely to interact with branded content on Instagram than on Facebook. 

But consumers don't stop to engage with just any type of advertisement. To grab users' attention, you need a combination of powerful images, clear content, and a persuasive call-to-action (CTA). If your CTA effectively communicates where the user should go next, they will be more likely to swipe up on your advertisement and head to your linked content (this could be a landing page, product page, blog, etc.). 

There are seven objectives that companies can select from for their Instagram story ads: brand awareness, reach, video views, conversions, app installs, lead generation, and traffic.

Be sure to choose the objective that best falls in line with your business goals, and build your content around that. 

Make Your Ads Memorable 

With a quick swipe of the finger, users can disregard your advertisement and move into the next story. For this reason, your advertising needs to command their attention right away. 

One way to create memorable ads is by using storytelling that plays to consumers' emotions. You can make your advertisement funny, interesting, nostalgic, or educational. Making users feel something builds a connection between them and your brand.

Use high-quality, eye-catching videos and images. Make sure you include your brand name and use clear wording so that users understand what your business does and how you can solve their problems in a matter of seconds.

Be aware: captivating videos and photos can come at a cost so you should set aside some real marketing dollars for creative (an intern with an iPhone probably isn't going to get the job done).

Go for Videos 

Advertising with videos instead of images on Instagram Stories is more effective for a simple reason: you have more time to capture users' attention. With videos, you get one whole minute to sell to consumers whereas images only are featured for five seconds. 

Your videos must communicate what your company does and focus on how your products can fix users' pain points. They should be short, sweet, and most importantly, entertaining. Remember, users can click out of your ad at any time. Think about what you can do to make them want to watch your video until the very last moment.