Instagram introduces ads within Stories

Airbnb, McDonald's, Nike and BuzzFeed are testing full-screen ads.

Instagram introduces ads within Stories

Instagram’s five-month-old Stories brings 150 million active users to the platform daily. Now, the social media network is giving advertisers a way to reach them.

On Wednesday, Instagram said it was introducing advertising within the ephemeral image-sharing feature and metrics to measure its effectiveness. The Facebook-owned app said it is partnering with more than 30 companies to test advertising in Stories in the US, including Airbnb, McDonald’s, BuzzFeed, Nike, L’Oreal, General Motors, AT&T, Coca-Cola and Live Nation. The option will become available globally in the coming weeks.  

"One of the requests we’ve gotten from businesses is they want more advanced tools for targeting and reaching people even beyond their followers inside this new experience," said Jim Squires, director of marketing operations at Instagram. "We are going to take all the targeting, delivery and measurement that people have access to on Facebook and Instagram and apply that to Stories with this new immersive format that will be available."

Just like on Snapchat Discover, advertiser content, up to 15 seconds of video or images, will appear full-screen in between posts and will be identified as advertising. All of Stories’ elements are available for use, including Boomerang, Hyperlapse and Stickers.

In order to give advertisers measuring tools, Instagram is also adding a new metrics tab for Stories. A new section of insights within a business profile stows the stats for content posted within the last 24 hours, including reach measurement, replies and the number of people who have exited the content.

"You can now have visibility into what is most interesting and most relevant to your followers," said Squires. "We believe these insights can both help your efforts on Instagram as well as beyond Instagram for your paid campaigns."

According to Squires, 70 percent of people on Instagram follow businesses and a third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses. And unlike in regular Instagram feeds, users tend to listen to Stories with sound. In fact, Squires said that 70 percent of people have the sound on when they are going through Stories. That means that the content used in Stories can be a little more expressive, he said.

"People use content in stories and in the feed to complement each other," said Squires. "We believe that’s going to be really powerful way to use these products."

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