Instagram Stories is a popular feature for users of the image-sharing app, but marketers are only putting about 16% of their Instagram budgets into Stories, per a study by marketing platform Smartly.io shared with Mobile Marketer.
While the percentage dedicated to Stories is small, it has grown from 13% in January to 16% in March, when it appeared to level off. Stories is a versatile format that can be used for numerous types of campaigns, such as branding, app installs and user acquisition, per Smartly.io.
Instagram added Stories two years ago as a way to compete with a popular similar feature on rival Snapchat. Stories lets users string together a series of images in a single post that disappears after 24 hours.
Instagram has about 800 million users worldwide, including 300 million accounts that use Instagram Stories to post a wider range of content to the photo-sharing app. Given the popularity of Stories, it’s interesting that more brands haven’t adapted their marketing programs for the feature. Ads were first introduced for Stories in early 2017.
Instagram is still a relatively young digital marketing platform, so while it is garnering a lot of interest from marketers looking to reach a highly engaged mobile audience, many are still trying to figure out what works and what doesn't for their brands. For example, influencer marketing on Instagram is popular, with 92% of marketers planning to ramp up their efforts here. Brands are also experimenting with interactive content like polls and action buttons. Facebook is gradually building out the functionality of Instagram to transform the service into a mobile commerce platform. Instagram this month quietly added an in-app payments feature that lets users register a debit or credit card as part of a profile, set up a PIN and start making purchases, per TechCrunch.
Instagram continues to add functionality for brands on Stories as well, including porting over Facebook's popular carousel ad format earlier this year.
Meanwhile, advertising on social media has gotten more complicated now that the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has gone into effect. The law on May 25 changed how personal data can be collected and used. Companies that are based outside the EU must follow the rules if offering their services in the region. Privacy group Noyb.eu filed complaints against Google and Facebook (whose services include Instagram and messaging app WhatsApp) within hours of the enactment of GDPR, arguing that consumers weren’t being given a "free choice" in the use of targeted advertising to use the services, per the BBC. Facebook said in a statement that it had spent 18 months preparing to make sure it met the requirements of GDPR.