Instagram’s boom was one of the most exciting areas of digital advertising growth we witnessed in 2018. This year alone, Instagram has surged from 5% to 15% of customers’ Facebook spend and we only expect this trend to continue. Due to its rich ad format, deeper level of user engagement, and less crowded feed environment, advertisers are becoming more and more willing to pay a substantial premium for Instagram ads. So, why are so many advertisers turning to Instagram?

The audience

Instagram attracts a highly engaged global audience looking for inspiration. Unlike Facebook, where users come to connect with family and friends, the visual nature of Instagram lends itself well to influencer content. People come to Instagram looking to be inspired and discover the things they care about. This includes content from brands and businesses, with a third of the most viewed Stories coming from businesses, according to Instagram.

While Snapchat is the most popular platform for people aged 12 to 17, Instagram attracts a broader demographic and users across more life stages as 59% of internet users aged 18 to 29 are on Instagram. With Instagram Stories businesses can reach engaged users at scale.

The experience

The Stories format has taken the world by storm. Snapchat piloted it and after its initial success, we started seeing Stories everywhere – WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, and, of course, Instagram.

There are a few reasons the format is so successful and it all boils down to the experience it offers. As people’s attention spans are shrinking due to content overload, Stories offers more information in a visual format and faster. It’s the format of the future.

Advertising on Instagram Stories allows brands to reach users when they’re engaged. Stories are designed for mobile viewing with a visual vertical image or video format. Unlike the Facebook feed, which is often silent, users’ view 60% of Instagram Stories with the sound on. This creates an immersive experience where brands have a chance to capture attention and showcase their products or services.

Top tips for advertisers

Being visual is key
There is no space for post copy or link description in Instagram Stories ads. The placement is all about looks so it’s crucial to use the best quality images and videos. An image from a stock photo library that may have worked on Facebook won’t grab user attention on Instagram Stories.

Grab attention quickly
As the video on Stories is only up to 15 seconds long, the first couple of seconds need to do the job. Consider including branding at the beginning of the video and not at the end. Use text overlays to add a call to action to the ad and influence clicks.  

Use sound
It’s become customary to recommend that advertisers design video for silent social media feeds. Instagram Stories is your opportunity to combine the visual experience with sounds as the majority of Stories are played with sound on.

Think about the environment
More than 50% of Instagram business accounts use Instagram Stories monthly, however, they won’t suit every brand and every objective. Be critical and evaluate if your brand suits the Instagram demographic, whether your creative assets are suitable, and if you really think what you’re doing will grab attention in seconds.