Instagram opens ‘Stories’ ads to all marketers

Brand managers who are looking to reach millennials can now craft sponsored content to be placed between users’ posts. As the app’s user base grows, the opportunity is attractive.

Instagram’s Stories feature is getting some significant upgrades—just as the luster is starting to wear off of rival Snapchat’s IPO.

The Facebook-owned app has introduced geostickers—a feature that Snapchat pioneered—in Jakarta, Indonesia and New York City. Users that click on the stickers will be sent to a location page to see more Instaram photos from the tag’s region.

The feature is expected to roll out to more cities in the coming months.

If it entices more users to post stories, that’ll be good news for marketers, who now have the option to advertise in Instagram’s “Stories” section.

An company release said:

By optimizing for reach, you can show your ads to the maximum number of people in your audience and control how often they see your ads.

The feature, which is now open to all brand managers, can be found in Facebook’s Ads Manager or Power Editor. The photo or video (that’s 15 seconds or less) you upload will show between user’s posts.

Instagram touts 150 million “Stories” viewers and creators. When you think about the platform—quick snippets of engaging content—it presents a formidable responsibility for marketers creating content.

Keep in mind that there’s a chance people won’t automatically watch it with the sound turned on. Be visual and interesting. As with anything PR pros do, authenticity is paramount.

Remember that ads that are too polished are going to be seen as marketing, but content that tries to hard to be unpolished can also be seen as lame attempts by stodgy brand managers to appeal to millennial users.

If we’re to believe Instagram’s press release, the payoff potential for the advertising opportunity is high.

For Airbnb, which launched a beta “Stories” ad campaign, the gambit was a success. The company saw “a double digit point increase in ad recall from [its] experiences on Airbnb campaign that further justifie[d] [its] investment in ads within stories, as they have made a measurable impact,” an Airbnb spokesperson said.

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