Social Stories Give Instagram and Snapchat Ads Longer Shelf Life

group of friends sitting on steps looking at their phones and Snapchat ads When it was first released, Snapchat’s disappearing photos changed the game for many social media users. And as the platform grew, users and advertisers alike sought a way to give their posts a slightly longer shelf life for sharability. Enter the newest trend in social media: social stories. Social stories are a collection of pictures of videos that can be viewed as many times as you’d like for a 24-hour period before they disappear. For users, this means a new fun way to keep up with friends. For marketers, it opens up a completely new way  to share their brand story via Instagram and Snapchat ads.

Advertising to Half a Billion Users

When you combine all the social media consumers from the top social platforms, you get an audience of more than 500 million daily users for marketers to tap into. So how can you take advantage of this massive audience pool? Because social stories are built within the programmatic media environment, buying ad space is easy. Goodway’s expert trading team can buy social story ad inventory the same way your other paid social inventory is purchased, as well as at the same time that they buy your display, mobile, and video — adding an additional touch point to your user’s digital journey. Just like when you buy display ads in social media platforms, you can target audiences based on DMAs, lifestyle trends and behaviors, demographics, specific brand categories, first-party look-alikes, and carrier or device operating systems — meaning you get confidence knowing your ads are personally relevant to the people you want to reach. Because social stories are exclusively for mobile users, you can share your brand message in a way that fits how consumers actually use their smartphones with immersive full-screen video ads. Your 10-second video spot is played in a user’s feed when they watch stories from friends, brands, celebrities, and influencers they follow. When 10 seconds isn’t enough to share your message, you can drive viewers to swipe for a feature presentation, small screen-friendly web page, instant download and more, without making users leave the app. As with most video ads, brand awareness metrics like completion rate and reach are the best fit for social story campaigns. However, swipe, click-through, and app install actions can make these kinds of ads a match for online sales and direct response campaigns as well. When creating Instagram or Snapchat ads, remember a few key specifications:

 social stories 10-seconds icon 10-Second Maximum Duration
 social stories full-screen icon Full-Screen, Vertical Videos Only
 social stories frequency icon Frequency, Reach, and App Install Reporting Metrics Only


It’s no coincidence that when Snapchat introduced stories in 2013, Facebook started seeing a decline in engagement from their youngest user audience. After a failed attempt to acquire Snapchat in 2015, Facebook decided to launch their own stories feature in both Instagram and Facebook. As social story features continue to grow, so do the opportunities to advertise to an engaged audience. social stories preferred platform by age group bar chart Despite the still relatively short lifespan of Instagram and Snapchat ads through social stories, marketers are loving the high viewer engagement and interaction they bring. For instance, Snapchat is opened over 20 times per day by users under 25 years old and 12 times per day by those older than 25. So, those targeting younger audiences or consumer brands in the QSR, travel, education, or auto industries are the most common advertisers, but any brand with video creative can run a social story ad campaign. Already, brands like Airbnb and Mulberry UK are seeing amazing results. Airbnb ran a social stories campaign to build awareness and buzz around their newest experiences product during Instagram’s pilot program. Based on the campaign, the company saw a double-digit increase in ad recall. Similarly, Mulberry’s recent social stories campaign received five times more site clicks and increased engagement when compared to the other paid social campaigns.