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July 14, 2017

By now, the playbook is clear. Facebook builds a strong product, attracts hundreds of millions of users, and then turns on ads in said product. The ads move from awareness ad units to more direct response, performance advertising options in the matter of months.

And so it went once again with Instagram Story Ads. After effectively halting Snapchat’s rise, Facebook rolled out Story Ads for branding and awareness objectives.

After a few months of testing – proving out success with the likes of Airbnb and Red Bull – the offerings expanded into the mobile performance advertising space. App Install Ads were announced in late May 2017.

Now, after running Instagram Story App Install Ads with multiple clients, we’re sharing the 3 most important lessons performance advertisers should know before trying the new unit.


1. The Performance Gains Are Worth Chasing

One client is seeing 37% Better CPIs compared to Instagram’s normal delivery location 
We were skeptical at first, too. Story ads and Stream ads are housed in the same channel, after all. And, after years teaching prospects to click for our intended action, Instagram Story Ads now urge them to “Swipe Up” instead.
Advertisers are using techniques to draw viewer’s attention to the “Swipe Up” CTA
But, once again, Facebook’s playbook worked. The undeniable truth is that Instagram Story Ads perform for mobile advertisers. The proof? One client is seeing 61% better CTR with 37% better CPIs. That’s astounding, and even more so when you consider it’s a comparison against Instagram’s stream placement, which already regularly beats out Facebook’s feed location for many advertisers.


2. Forget First 3 Seconds. It’s Now First 1 Second.

31% Less People Watch 3 Seconds of a Story Video compared to Stream Video

Facebook has spent the last few years trying to remind big advertisers that they can’t just take their TV ad and throw it on Facebook. Their research has shown that Facebook specific video, in some cases, improves viewership by 37% over standard TV format ads.

Now, there’s a new dynamic to understand: advertisers can’t just take their standard Facebook ad and expect it to do well on Instagram stories. The reason? Attention spans have shrunk even more in the new product experience of quick snaps that is Instagram Stories.

Our research has shown that 31% less people watch 3 seconds of an Instagram story video compared to an Instagram stream video. Whereas advertisers used to consider the first 3 seconds of a video as an intro, they will now consider the first 1 second of a video to be the intro in a format like Instagram Stories. If you’re not able to grab attention quickly, you won’t have much of an audience.


3. Story Ads Benefit Those Who Weigh View-Through Most

View-Through Installs Are 15% Higher on Story Ads compared to Stream Ads
If you’re part of the 46% of advertisers that consider 50-100% of all View-Through conversions, then Instagram Story Ads will likely be more favorable to you. Why? We’ve found that view-through installs are 15% higher on Story Ads compared to Stream Ads. These results match with the fast-paced, ephemeral nature of the product.

Instagram Story Ads, both direct response units like App Install Ads and ones geared towards awareness, will continue to evolve and ultimately make Facebook’s growing ad behemoth more durable. In the meantime, Facebook is already on to the next page in their playbook – rolling out Messenger Ads last week.

Interested in optimizing your Instagram Story ads? Learn more about Bamboo’s Instagram advertising services >

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