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Instagram brings ads to stories, offering new opportunities for marketers

Instagram is heating up competition with some of its direct competitors by introducing skippable ads to its Stories feature.

The new feature puts the social media application in direct competition with Snapchat. Monetizing its Stories feature is also another step for Instagram towards making its app more marketer friendly.

?Immersive storytelling through Instagram Stories engages and invites our community to be part of an adventure," said Eric Toda, global head of social marketing and content at Airbnb. "Instagram provides us the perfect tools to build awareness around our recently launched product Airbnb Experiences, handcrafted trips designed and led by our hosts.  

?By creating and publishing experience-driven stories, we can truly captivate and reach travelers wishing to book aspirational trips on Airbnb.?

Sponsored stories
When Instagram launched stories five months ago, it seemed pretty clearly to be a take on Snapchat?s popular Story feature that lets users pin a certain number of posts, both still photos and videos, into one ?Story? that can be viewed by followers.

Snapchat had been making use of that feature for a while before Instagram introduced its own.

But Instagram?s version of the idea took off, earning more than 150 million daily users since its launch.

The Stories feature has also been a big hit with businesses, of which 70 percent of Instagram users follow at least one. 

Instagram has found that one third of the top most viewed stories on the app are from business-owned Instagram accounts.

With that kind of power behind it, it made sense of Instagram to begin monetizing those stories by showing ads during stories.

The ads are skippable, meaning that consumers can easily tap through them as they view a story.

With this move, Instagram stories have essentially become indistinguishable from Snapchat Stories, having essentially all of the same functions.

Instagram Stories
Instagram has long been successful with the simple service of letting consumers post and share images, but in recent months the social media platform has been trying to branch out into other services as well.

In addition to Instagram Stories, the platform rolled out Instagram Live a few months ago. 

The move towards monetizing Instagram Stories has put the platform in more direct competition with Snapchat. The rivalry has already seen competition along single brands such as Fendi, which recently ran a campaign through both Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories (see story).

As time goes on, Instagram will likely mine data from these advertisements to further support branded use of the platform.

?We?ve seen a great deal of success over the past year with landing our brand messaging through video content formats, which are naturally engaging and emotive ways to speak to our audience, and have been impressed with the early signs of success we?ve seen with Instagram Stories," said Leila Thabet, content and engagement director at ASOS. "We?re eager to be able to showcase how Instagram Stories will help drive brand awareness and engagement amongst new audiences and continued international growth in 2017.?