The Complete Guide to Instagram Stories for Brand Marketers

The Complete Guide to Instagram Stories for Brand Marketers

It’s no question that Instagram Stories have become a major component of every brand’s social media marketing strategy. Since launching in 2016, this singular feature of Instagram not only garners the attention of over 500 million users every day but 25% of Millennials and Gen Z users leverage Stories for product consideration, making it a very powerful business tool for brand marketers to leverage. As a social media agency, we strategize, create, monitor, and analyze Instagram Stories for many of our clients.

So whether you’re revisiting your Instagram Stories strategy or starting from scratch, we’ve compiled the following insights and best practices to help elevate your brand marketing efforts.

Key Takeaways

  • At the core of Instagram Stories’ 1.7 billion users, you’ll find the majority are Millennials and GenZers (16-34 age range), both using the platform for content creation and content consumption.
  • Brands should be using the unique features of Instagram Stories to further engage their audience (i.e. polls, product stickers, slider feature, etc.).
  • From our sample of clients, on average five Instagram Story panels = one Instagram newsfeed post in terms of impressions. 
  • You can leverage influencers on Instagram Stories by having them seed UGC, drive clicks to eCommerce and by highlighting events.

Knowing Your Audience: Who’s Using Instagram Stories

As a best practice with any piece of your social media strategy, it’s important to center your plan around your audience and where they spend their time. According to GlobalWebIndex, at the core of Instagram Stories’ 1.7 billion users, you’ll find the majority are Millennials and GenZers (16-34 age range), both using the platform for content creation and content consumption.

If you dig a little deeper, it lines up with the young nature of this audience that it’s a near 50/50 split of single users and those in a relationship (including married), and that 2/3 don’t have any children.

As we mentioned earlier, users are both creating and viewing stories rather frequently, but nearly 1/4 of respondents stated that they swiped up on a user or brand story to see more within the past month. This insight is key for brands looking to leverage Instagram Stories to drive traffic to product pages or increase overall web traffic to their site.

GWI Data: 1/4 of respondents stated that they swiped up on a user or brand story to see more within the past month

Stories Analytics: What Metrics to Expect

Instagram Stories metrics for business accounts are comprised of many of the same metrics brands can get from the newsfeed, but also include a variety of specific data items that are unique to the format. Those include the following:

  • Interactions
    • Impressions: The total number of views on each of your individual Instagram Stories
    • Reach: The number of visits a unique account viewed each slide in your story
    • Clicks: The number of times someone uses the “swipe up” feature
    • Shares: The number of times an individual panel was shared
    • Replies: The number of times people reply to your Stories panel
    • Clicks to Profile: The number of times people visit your profile from your Stories panel
    • Sticker Taps: The number of times people tap on a geotag, hashtag, mention, or product sticker
    • Votes: The results for polls or “this-or-that” tactics
  • Navigation Behavior
    • Tap Forward: The number of times someone taps right to move to the next panel
    • Tap Backward: The number of times someones taps to view the previous panel
    • Swipe Away: The number of times someone swipes to skip to the next account’s story
    • Exits: The number of times someone leaves the stories viewer to return to their feed
    • Next Story: The number of taps to the next account’s story
  • Paid Insights
    • When it comes to Instagram Stories Ads there are no specific insights for Stories, but rather the standard Facebook network ad data that accompanies all other units. Those include:
      • Impressions
      • Reach
      • Engagements
      • Clicks
      • Conversions
    • That said, it is worth noting that Instagram ads allow you to leverage a variety of CTA options for your ads. Those include:
      • Apply Now
      • Book Now
      • Call Now
      • Contact Us
      • Download
      • Get Directions
      • Learn More
      • Send Message
      • Request Time
      • Save
      • See Menu
      • Shop Now
      • Sign Up
      • Watch More

It’s also important to know that you can segment the above analytics to see the most recent results within 24 hours, 7 days, and 14 days of activity on your stories.

Setting Goals: Benchmarks for Instagram Stories Success

Now that you know what metrics are available for your business, it’s time to set realistic expectations for what you want to achieve, whether it be through an organic Story post or a paid one. We analyzed three clients from different industries to compare newsfeed performance versus Story performance, as well as set a baseline for Story performance. 

Instagram Stories Benchmarks by Ignite Social Media

From this sample average, five Instagram story panels = one Instagram post in terms of impressions. On average, Instagram Stories serve to 1/5th the audience that typically sees an Instagram post. This will vary by brand, but aim for 3-5 panels to get the most out of your Instagram Stories; shorten if your completion rates are consistently low. 

Creating Exceptional Instagram Stories Content

Instagram Stories are easy for users to rapidly consume and then swipe on to the next one, so it’s important to make sure your brand stands out visually and entices users to engage with the content. That said, Instagram does a great job of providing brands with an arsenal of creative and engaging tools to help do just that. Here are six tips to help with your creative that more importantly give you insights about your audience.

  • Series Polls: Poll stickers are a great tool to get your followers talking and interacting with your brand. By stringing together multiple polls, you can create a series poll, like a game, that entices your audience to stop and interact with your Stories. These kinds of questions don’t require a lot of thought, are fun to answer, and are a great way to create a lasting memory with your followers.
  • This or That: Tap into this simple opportunity by asking your audience which colors they prefer, what products they like to use for certain scenarios, or by tapping into current events that align with your company values. You can see this come to life in the example below for our Visit the Outer Banks client.
Ignite Social Media & OBX Instagram Stories This or That Examples
  • Choose Your Own Adventure: Utilize Instagram’s tap and swipe through features to engage with your audience in a fun and interactive way. Tapping through for fun questions or assembling a short story capture audience attention and keeps them coming back for more.
  • Product Stickers: This sticker allows you to tag specific products in Stories, just like you can with regular Instagram shopping posts, no matter how big or small your following. This helps to create a super streamlined way for your audience to shop your products.
  • Quiz Stickers: These stickers are a fun why to test your audience around trivia or frequently asked questions related to your brand or products. You can learn about how to setup Instagram Stories quiz stickers here.
  • Emoji Slider: These playful sliders allow you to interact with your audience in a fun and spontaneous way, as well as giving them more flexibility with their answers.

For more creative best practices, check out this post on How to Design On-Brand Instagram Stories.

Leveraging Influencer Partnerships through Stories

Brands can also find success not only through owned content on Instagram but by leveraging influencer partnerships. However, this is the one time where follower size matters as only influencers with 10,000+ followers will have business accounts that enable them to use the swipe up feature as well as provide more meaningful analytics we mentioned above.

While there’s a multitude of ways to take advantage of influencer Instagram Stories, here are 4 ideal concepts to try on your next campaign.

  • Driving Clicks for eCommerce: Influencers optimizing content for web traffic through the swipe up feature
  • Seeding UGC: Influencers prompt followers to share content that focuses on your brand
  • Promoting an Event: Influencers share their journey getting ready for an event, raising awareness and inviting followers to also attend. This is also a great way to make followers feel included who can’t attend by having the influencer share exclusive behind-the-scenes content during the event.
  • Highlighting Optimal Use Cases: Tasking influencers to highlight your brand in DIY or How-To content in a new way that promotes consideration of your brand when the audience goes to replicate the activity.

Additionally, in light of recent events, influencers have reported a 33% increase in brands seeking partnerships to create their photo and video assets. Partnering with influencers purely for Instagram Stories content creation is another great way to generate assets on a platform that so dependently relies on exquisite creative.

If you need help getting started creating Instagram Stories or if you are looking for Instagram Stories to help drive business results, fill out the form below to get in contact with us.

Ignite Social Media