Facebook advertisers now have an exciting new option for reaching customers with visually-engaging content through Facebook story ads. You've probably noticed that stories are a popular feature on both Facebook and Instagram (they originated on SnapChat). This feature allows users to create content that's only visible for 24 hours. Until recently, however, you couldn't use Stories to advertise. In 2017, Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) introduced stories ads that gave advertisers a new way to reach followers. Now, this feature is available for Facebook ads.
Get Ready For Facebook Story Ads
In May, Facebook introduced the beta version of Stories ads, making the platform available to a small number of testers. In late September, Facebook announced that Story ads are now available to all advertisers. Facebook Stories ads are similar to the ones already available on Instagram. Facebook Stories work on the same principle as SnapChat and Instagram Stories, with users able to post content for 24 hours to their followers. The focus of Stories is usually visual content, with various filters and effects available to make images and videos more creative. Advertisers have access to these tools as well. Although the platform is now open to everyone, many businesses are still not aware of this option.
Unskippable Stories Ads?
Facebook Story ads are still very new and the social media giant is carefully watching to see how people are responding to them. Some observers, including TechCrunch, are predicting that Facebook will soon introduce unskippable Story ads. This format, already used by Snapchat, makes it impossible to skip through Stories to get to the ones you want to see. In other words, Stories ads might become more like traditional TV commercials. While many Facebook users won't appreciate this intrusion, it will definitely open up opportunities for advertisers who want a more captive audience.
Benefits of Stories Ads
Facebook offers a variety of advertising options. Why should you consider Facebook story ads? There are quite a few benefits to this advertising format.
- Increase visibility and engagement. It's getting increasingly difficult to engage with followers on social media, either with organic content or ads. Stories, however, are clearly visible at the top of the page. According to Instagram, one in five stories gets a direct message from viewers.
- A creative way to use video. Stories are the perfect format for short videos that let you explain your product, event, or idea in an engaging manner.
- Ideal for time-sensitive content. Because of their short duration, stories have an urgency about them. They are especially good for promoting events (digital or live), sales, product launches, and other timely news.
- Builds brand awareness. Since stories are so visible, lots of people see them. Even those who don't engage right away are likely to see your Facebook story ad.
Success Tips for Stories Ads
When planning a strategy for using Facebook Story ads, you can learn a great deal by studying how others are successfully using digital advertising. Facebook provides a helpful page of success stories. While these examples aren't specific to Facebook Stories and include various formats, they give you an idea of how companies such as Budweiser, MailChimp, Covergirl, and many others are reaching their customers with advertising.
While Stories usually only provide a few seconds of content, there's also a way to extend them. Many companies, including Gap, have had good results with Instagram Stories ads by using the Carousel feature, which lets you create longer Stories. With Carousels, you can combine up to three images or videos to make up one Story. A single video within a Story runs for 15 seconds but with a Carousel ad, you can include 45 seconds of video.
With any type of social media advertising, it's important to have a well-planned strategy. As noted, one of the benefits of Stories ads (on either Instagram or Facebook) is that they increase your visibility. Make sure you take full advantage of this. Display your logo prominently. Use a style, tone and look that's consistent with your website, social media pages, and other channels. It's still very early in the game for Facebook Stories ads, providing an advantage to first movers.
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