Over the last few years, Instagram Stories has become a must-use content format for brands. Stats show that Stories usage has overtaken in-feed content, making it the prime posting and engagement option for consumers.
If Stories has not been part of your social media marketing strategy, you are missing a massive opportunity for your business! By utilizing this feature, you can maximize your performance in a medium that still feels new to many. But what are the best practices for Stories?
Socialinsider and Wave.video have recently analyzed over 650,000 Instagram Stories and 64,000 Instagram Story ads published between April 2019 and September 2020. This study has given us insightful data around how to create the most engaging stories, how powerful video is for stories, and how many stories to post daily.
Brands post 7-8 stories per month, but posting up to 5 stories per day ensures a retention rate of over 70%
More investment into stories, more advantages! 70% of people who watch a brand’s daily stories will tap through the first 5 stories. Last year, data showed that 6 stories per day were the sweet spot, which means that viewers’ attention span is slightly declining. Regardless, creating a successful Instagram strategy needs to include posting multiple stories per day vs. using the feature here and there.
52% of stories are video, and they outperform image stories on both tap forward and exit rates
Brands divide their stories’ creative type almost equally between video and image content. Video content is especially popular with large brands that have over 100K followers, as it equals about 55% of their story posts.
These brands are on to something, as video content is proving to be more productive than image posts. Images have a higher tap-forward rate, regardless of the number of stories brands publish. This could be because videos are more engaging, as they have the power to keep viewers watching for longer.
Exit rates for video stories are also lower. Overall, image-based stories have an average exit rate of 5.64%, as opposed to a 5.54% average exit rate for video stories. The exit rate indicates the engagement levels of users with the content posted in stories, showing how many people drop off a brand’s story before it finished playing.
Video stories also spark more conversations, as the reply rate is higher across the board.
One of the main goals of any brand post is to drive engagement and spark dialogue with users. The video format seems to be the most successful way to do this, inspiring a higher reply rate than images, regardless of the size of a brand’s Instagram account.
Video stories have average reply rates of between 0.02% and 0.18%, while stories with images have rates of 0.01% to 0.14%, depending on the size of the profile. It is also important to note that the smaller the brand, the more engaged the audience is.
While larger brands have more followers, most of them can be passive. Small brands tend to have followers that are genuinely interested and engaged in the content posted.
Link clicks are the main objective brands set for story ads
Aside from organic stories, story ads are a great way to boost your Instagram results. A third of all Instagram ads (33.6%) are placed in stories, and their primary goal is to obtain link clicks. Based on the data in this study, 39.58% of story ads have set link clicks as an objective, and 30.66% of ads are seeking conversions, making click-through rate extremely important!
Other campaign objectives, such as reach and lead generation, are nowhere near as important, accounting for less than 10% of ads.
Story ads with videos have a higher CTR than story ads with images: 0.59% vs. 0.29%
Unlike organic stories, video is the main creative type in story ads, amounting to 74.6% of story ads. The reasoning is simple: click-through rates. The average CTR of video stories is 0.59%, as opposed to a 0.29% CTR of image stories. Since most brands see link clicks as their main objective for story ads, the CTR becomes the only metric that matters.
Instagram Stories have become an increasingly important part of social media marketing, especially in 2020, when people have had to spend more time indoors, turning to their phones for entertainment. While creating a successful Stories strategy is not one-size-fits-all, it’s wise to consider these findings and see what works best for your business.
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