By Chad Keller, COO/Co-Founder of Growth Stackers.
Facebook's newsfeed isn't the only game in town for marketing professionals who create and place social-media ads. Instagram Stories is giving Facebook a run for their money right now. Instagram Stories is fast emerging as a prime piece of online real estate for advertisers. It's where my clients clamor to be, in addition to Facebook.
Indeed, virtually all of them have recently made room in their customer-acquisition campaign budgets for Instagram Stories. The time may be right for you to consider doing likewise.
Attractive Demographics at Instagram
My clients are adding Instagram Stories and seeing impressive return on investment (ROI) on their ad spends because the demographics at Instagram are so very favorable. Facebook used to be the best place to access millennials, along with their parents and grandparents. However, in the last year or two, many millennials have shifted away from Facebook and gravitated toward Instagram. As they've moved over, so have their parents and grandparents in order to stay connected. Consequently, the audiences we've been targeting at Facebook are now also showing up on Instagram.
My clients are happy about that, in part because they can talk to the Instagram crowd for less than what it costs at Facebook. Also, there are, at present, fewer advertisers using Instagram Stories (one of the reasons it costs less than Facebook), which means my clients have a voice heard louder and clearer.
The Popularity of Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories debuted in mid-2016. In short order, it became a top choice among Instagram users for keeping up with friends, influencers and brands. Notably, each Instagram Stories post remains viewable for but a scant 24 hours. Unless saved as a highlight, it vanishes forever after that short time. This helps prevent user's newsfeeds from becoming a cluttered mess.
However, as an advertiser, the ephemeral nature of Instagram Stories postings obliges you to generate a steady flow of content to maintain your visibility. That entails work, but it's worth the extra sweat: the more you converse with your audiences, the more likely you are to successfully influence them and achieve your aims.
The concept behind Instagram Stories is simple. You snap a picture showcasing your brand or wares, size the image to a maximum dimension of 1080 x 1920 pixels, insert relevant text that includes a call to action, and then hit the "share" button.
Currently, you can trick out your posts with engagement-sparking GIF stickers and videos. You can also add a carousel that presents a trio of images or quickie videos in rotation. You can also set up collection ads. After a user clicks your post's call to action, he or she will be whisked to your website before making a brief detour to a page displaying an enticing assortment of your products.
I particularly like that Facebook's Ad Manager function is available for Instagram Stories (no doubt because Instagram is owned by Facebook). I find Ads Manager to be an excellent tool for audience targeting as well as data capture and analysis, so being able to continue using it with Instagram Stories is appreciated.
Great Storytelling Delivers Great Results
My firm's use of Instagram did not begin this year. We go back with the platform a long way, well before the advent of Instagram Stories. Admittedly, it took about six months of experience running conventional types of ads on the platform before we could claim to have Instagram wired. During that time, we continually tested new and different concepts to figure out what worked -- and to understand why it worked.
Our acquired insights from back then remain applicable today with regard to Instagram Stories. Among the most important of these insights: there is a particular type of content capable of generating many views, many website visits and many conversions. The content capable of all this is that which brims with powerful visuals to grab attention and with inspired words to speak deeply to audience needs.
In a nutshell, the creation of winning Instagram Stories requires you to bring to bear the basic elements of great storytelling. Succeed at that and you will have given something of value to the people you're attempting to influence. In return, Instagram will reward you with value of its own -- value to rival even that which you can get from Facebook.
Chad Keller is a Serial Entrepreneur - COO/Co-Founder of Growth Stackers.