Instagram Stories Remains Missed Opportunity For Many Brands

Publishing content on Instagram Stories seems like a no-brainer for mobile marketers and media companies.

More than half of Instagram’s billion-plus users view Stories on a daily basis. What’s more, average reach rates hover around 5% for brands, and around 4% for those in media, while average completion rates for brands now stand at 86%, and 84% for media publishers.

Yet, according to new findings from Conviva, many brands and media companies appear less than eager to exploit the marketing channel. 

From 2019 to 2020, for example, the average number of Stories that brands posted per week declined from 2.5 to 2.3, while it declined from 3 to 2.7 for media companies.

These aren’t major shifts, but it certainly doesn’t paint a picture of brands and media firms eagerly embracing Stories.

Considering Stories' strengths, it’s not entirely clear why brands and media are not investing more time and money into the marketing channel.

Late in the first quarter, the COVID-19 crisis began to impact marketing plans and the ability of certain publishers to create fresh content. Sports-related publishers have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. 

Beginning in the second quarter of this year, brands also began suspending ads on Facebook properties over objections to the company’s willingness to broadcast messages of hate and racial prejudice. Yet Conviva completed its most recent research in the first quarter, so such suspensions weren’t reflected in its data.

Meanwhile, as indicated by an internal chat between Microsoft executives, some brands have become wary of appearing alongside what they consider to be inappropriate content. For that reason, the software giant put a hold on advertising in the U.S. on Facebook and Instagram in May, and more recently expanded the ban internationally.

If and when brands and media publishers warm to Instagram Stories, Conviva’s latest report offers some guidance about how to make the most of the medium.

For one, the firm found a direct relationship between reach and the number of “frames” in a Story. In other words, the more “frames” -- or individual pages -- that publishers included in their Stories, the more consumers they reached.

Conviva also found that the lowest percentage of user actions -- liking moving onto another Story -- occur on the second frames of Stories.

Therefore, the firm considers the second frame to be a prime content spot, considering it is the least likely to be interrupted.

For publishers looking for creative inspiration, Conviva also suggested breaking panoramic pictures into separate frames, using Story highlights to share important information, and having fun with the various stickers the service offers.

For its latest report, Conviva said it analyzed 920 Instagram accounts, approximately 28,700 stories, and 165,000 individual “frames.”

Late last year, Socialbakers estimated that Instagram Stories accounted for approximately 10% of all ad revenue for Facebook.
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