Instagram Brings Ads – And Measurement – To Stories

vishalshahimgInstagram will allow ads in its Stories section, the company said Wednesday. It also unveiled brand measurement tools.

“Over the first holidays with Stories we’ve gotten a chance to peek into what people do when they’re home and with their families, at a level of depth and intimacy we haven’t usually had with Instagram,” said Vishal Shah, director of product for Instagram’s business platform.

Stories allow users to post content that disappears after 24 hours – a feature pioneered by Snapchat. Introduced in August, the feature has 150 million daily users, on par with Snapchat’s global user base.

Instagram ads will run between Stories in the feed. Audio is automatically on (70% of Stories are viewed with sound, Shah said) and the ad initiates a full-page takeover.

Instagram thinks it can provide “an unmatched advertising experience in stories that combines targeting, access to measurement, self-service creation tools and API ad partners,” Shah said.

Snapchat is notoriously unaccommodating to businesses on its platform, with brands struggling to be seen and receiving minimal audience or engagement data, a deliberate strategy meant to preserve a sense of authenticity. The result is that brands commit less money to Snapchat because they’re unable to evaluate spend accurately.

“We heard so much from businesses about wanting insights as part of what they needed to reach people in the Stories format,” Shah said.

Instagram is differentiating its product from Snapchat by releasing business account measurement tools. Instagram already provides brands data on reach and engagement within Stories, but will add impression data (which provides a true audience number), user comments and conversations generated by the posts and story drop-off data.

“We’re excited to see how brands think about integrated storytelling to get their message in front of people,” Shah said. “Given the measurement and targeting capabilities on the back end, it gives businesses a tool they actually need.”

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