Marketingblatt - Marketing Blog


Using Instagram Stories in Marketing

W4 | W4 / April 20, 2018

Social media try to keep users engaged and create buzz by introducing new features. Instagram, which belongs to Facebook, introduced its stories feature a year ago and started monetization earlier this year. Learn more about the use of Instagram Stories in marketing below.

Snapchat started a new trend when it launched in 2011. The app, which is especially popular with teenagers, allowed its users to share text messages, images, and videos that disappear once they are viewed by the recipient. Soon, the platform allowed companies to share vertical videos with followers that disappeared after a day. Ephemeral marketing was born. Videos in portrait format became fashionable. The ephemeral nature of the shared content made it appear authentic and spontaneous. And which brand doesn't want to appear authentic?

Every trend finds its imitators. After Snapchat refused to accept a takeover by Facebook, Facebook began to incorporate the competition's features into its own apps. The most prominent and successful example of this is the integration of the Stories function in Instagram in August 2016. Since March of this year, companies can also use Instagram Stories for advertising. Hence brands can use the feature in two ways: on the one hand, as an additional form of communication with their followers and on the other as a tool to reach users who are not (yet) followers.

How to use Instagram Stories

Before we go into paid advertising, a few basic things about Instagram Stories: images, videos, and GIFs can be posted as part of a single story. Photos and videos are displayed for up to 10 seconds. Stories can be composed of any number of photo and video sequences. The videos and photos can also be modified with emojis and writing. By tapping on the screen of their smartphone, individual sequences of the story can be skipped by users. Stories can be viewed several times, but they automatically disappear 24 hours after they were posted. Therefore, users and companies have a lot of creative possibilities. However, companies looking to add Instagram Stories to their communication repertoire should consider a few things:

  • Stay on topic: Instagram Stories was designed to bring more spontaneity into the social media world. However, as a company, you should not post anything without hesitation. Take people behind the curtain, take them to events, or provide practical tips. It is important that the content matches your company and its offers.
  • Preparation: Do not randomly collect any impressions that you post as a story. A story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Outline your story before you create and publish it.
  • Be short and crisp: Your story should consist of three to six individual segments. The number of segments is displayed in the form of bars. If users see 20 bars, they probably will not watch all segments.
  • Interaction: Users can not like or comment on stories. However, they can react in the form of direct messages. Point users' attention to this feature at the end the story with a call to action, such as a topic-relevant question. If you do this, you should also follow up on their messages and interact with them. This is how you build trust!

Advertising in Instagram Stories

The Facebook Business Manager allows you to create ads for Instagram Stories. Your story ad will then appear as a sponsored post between the stories that users have subscribed to. Basically, only photos and videos in the 16: 9 portrait format may be used. Ads are shown to users up to 15 seconds. Users can skip ads by tapping the screen. The following objectives are currently possible:

  • reach
  • conversions
  • Video views
  • App Install
  • traffic

Hence, Instagram Stories can be used to motivate users to do something like visiting your website, watching a video, installing an app or buying a product. However, it must be noted that the targeting does not work quite as precisely as on Facebook. This is due to the fact that keywords can be more difficult to implement in a primarily visual app.


Instagram Stories can add spontaneity and easy-to-create storytelling to a brand's social media marketing. Meanwhile, more and more companies are experimenting with paid stories to increase their reach and increase sales. The latter is obviously also dependent on your target group.
Read more about Social Media Marketing.

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Sarah Wilhelm
Sarah Wilhelm
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