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From boosting engagement rates to helping brands show a more human, spontaneous side, Instagram Stories has proven itself as a marketing powerhouse. Its importance has magnified once Instagram’s algorithm made it more difficult for brands to get the visibility they once could in News Feed, driving marketers to turn to the ephemeral feature in the quest to reclaim their audience’s attention. The numbers speak for themselves: according to Instagram’s reports, one-third of the most viewed Stories are the ones published by businesses, while 20% of Stories result in user interactions via direct message.
Now, there are different ways to utilize the potential of Stories to promote your business, and a devoted Instagram marketing strategy will incorporate all these different tactics. Running Stories ads stands out as one of the key strategies, helping businesses reach wider audiences, raise brand awareness, and boost conversions.
Stories ads are placed on the platform amidst organic content, as equals – except they’re not. This means you’re simultaneously fighting for two things. Not getting tapped away the moment the viewer recognizes sponsored content is the first. In the case you win this fight, round two is fighting for actual engagement in a sea of Stories.
In this post, we’ll go over some really useful tactics for making your ads on the ephemeral platform more captivating and engaging so that you can maximize their potential – and reach new Instagram marketing heights.
Pull your audience into a conversation
Conversation is a two-way street, and that’s why it’s going to be one of the biggest tricks up your sleeve for driving valuable engagement.
How do you pull someone into a conversation? You speak to them directly, okay. Better yet, you ask them a question and wait for a response.
Dunkin’ Donuts did a marvelous job of facilitating interaction in their Stories ad campaign. The company creatively utilized the polling sticker feature, which was new at the time, to create an interactive video ad. One-fifth of the people who watched the ad voted in the poll and further results revealed that the ads that featured polling stickers had a 20% lower cost per video view than those without.
Keep it concise
Keep in mind that you have only about two seconds to capture the viewer’s attention and convince them not to swipe away. Whatever you do, brevity is your best friend.
Make your value proposition clear within this miniature time window and use all the tools at your disposal to immerse the viewer into your story. First and foremost, you’ll need to rely on compelling visuals to capture the viewer’s attention and keep their eyes on you, as well as to imprint your brand image in their memory and stay top of mind. But don’t hesitate to invest your creativity to experiment with how you can captivate viewers through bold text, displaying human faces, and using sound.
Surprise and delight
To get a solid grip on the viewer’s entire mind, come at them with the element of surprise. Be bold and go for the strange, shocking, and counterintuitive (within the means of appropriateness, obviously). Trust us, science is at your side – with studies showing that humans remember images based on how distinct they are, you want to go for the unexpected and wake your audience up from their social media slumber.
Noom, a nutrition and exercise brand, does a great job of this in their GIF-formatted Stories ads. The campaign features a woman just about to crush a bunch of eggs with a hammer, with a message saying “Throw out the rule book on dieting”. Simple and effective.
Get the right influencer on board
Collaborating with influencers stands out as one of the proven ways of boosting Instagram engagement, and Stories ads are no exception. Moreover, paid ads are definitely the right time for bringing out the big guns by featuring a human face, and one that’s well-established in your targeted niche at that.
But the most important thing is to get the right person – someone who’s regarded as a trusted figure in their respective niche and who cultivates a solid relationship with their follower base. Ideally, this follower base will comprise your target audience as precisely as possible. Don’t get caught up in numbers and metrics or feel that your business is too small to capture the eye of an influencer. Follower counts aren’t that important, and we’re already immersed in the era of micro-influencers – or even nano-influencer, who have very small, but highly engaged and trusting audiences.
The “pay to play” model has been in effect ever since the changed algorithms on Instagram and Facebook pushed brands further down their audience’s feeds. Stories ads can certainly bring a high ROI, but you want to make sure that you play your cards right. If you haven’t yet done so, get started with Instagram Stories ads here. Once you get your strategy up and running, make sure to implement these tips to create more powerful, engaging ads – and drive impressive results.