January 13, 2017
By Joey Wu
Earlier this week, Instagram released a sneak peek of the ad types they'll be integrating into their 'Stories' feature to even further monetize the photo-sharing app. Launched in August of 2016, Stories was Instagram's take on Snapchat's disappearing photo and video platform, and provided a way to stop users from "jumping ship" to the hot new social media start-up.
Currently in beta, it is being estimated that all 500,000 Instagram advertisers could begin launching these ads in two to three weeks.
All About Vertical Video Ads
Popping up between the Stories posted by the people you follow, Instagram's newest ad type will include 15 second video ads and 5 second static ads. Much like Stories posted by users, ads can be liked, commented on, and shared. In the near future, Instagram plans to ad more actionable features like the ability to swipe up to find out more information or click-through to a website.
Designed to be native, these ads look, feel, and act like users' posted Stories, with the only differentiating factor being the 'Sponsored' text located at the bottom of the ad.
Unfortunately for advertisers, these video and photos ads can be skipped immediately upon viewing, so these will not fall into the IAB's definition of a viewable ad. Furthermore, any view, regardless of length, will be counted and charged as an impression.
On the user experience front, users will not be notified that an ad is coming and will only experience these ads when watching multiple Stories consecutively.
Ad Specs & Analytics: What We Know So Far
With this new ad placement, Instagram is providing businesses with analytical data, deemed "Stories Insights." Stories Insights will be available to business accounts on the top right section of their page, next to settings. Insights will report on audience size, impressions, replies, and skips of each ad.
Instagram has not yet announced the specs of the vertical ads and has not mentioned where advertisers can go to upload creative for ad creation. Our best bet is that it will appear within the Facebook Ad's Manager next to the option for regular Instagram placements.
Potential Audience for the Ads
Based off the reporting's of Instagram, over 70% of their total users follow a business and 33% of the top viewed Stories happen to belong to businesses. It is only 5 months since the release of Stories and the Daily Active User (DAU) count is now at 150 million out of their total user base of 600 million. That's an increase of 50% since October. Within these few months, Instagram has essentially matched Snapchat's total user base and is set to cash in on the disappearing photo and app trend.