How Instagram Stories Have Evolved Since Stay at Home


#15_ How Instagram Stories Have Evolved as a Result of COVID-19

Since Instagram Stories launched in 2016, brands have been using the medium to connect with their audiences on a deeper and more authentic level.

With millions of engaged users visiting the platform every day, Instagram is an important part of many brands’ marketing mix.

If you’re unfamiliar with Stories, think of them as a slideshow of images or videos that’s ephemeral by design. Each image or video lasts for 15 seconds, and the entire story disappears after 24 hours. Brands and influencers can add text overlays, hashtags, @mentions, filters, stickers, polls, and other interactive features to their Stories to drive more engagement.

For example, businesses can add stickers to Stories that enable consumers to click buttons to order food, buy gift cards, and donate to fundraisers, among other things. In fact, many brands are using Stories as a sales channel. One study found that 59 percent of Stories have buttons or calls to action that take consumers to shoppable pages.

What’s more, research has also found that consumers are 2-3x more likely to engage with Instagram Stories than regular posts. Making the news even better for brands is the fact that, according to Instagram data, 68 percent of consumers become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in a Story

Add it all up, and Instagram Stories are an incredible sales and marketing vehicle for brands across all verticals—including LEGO, Outback Steakhouse, and Nike.

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Instagram Stories in the Stay at Home Era

Instagram Stories were already helping brands supercharge their social commerce efforts. Since 2020, Instagram has seen a 40 percent increase in traffic, and more and more people are watching Instagram Stories each day—even stars like Seal.

Brands and influencers alike are capitalizing on these trends. According to a March 2020 survey, 75 percent of influencers in Italy were posting more Instagram Stories while staying at home. What’s more, another report from the same period found that influencers were posting 6.1 Instagram Stories per day, a 15 percent increase, which translated into a 21 percent increase in Stories’ impressions.

The same trend is happening in the United States. Influencers, for example, are using Stories more frequently and getting more views and engagement because of it. To illustrate, one study found that nearly 80 percent of influencers are reporting higher engagement than they had pre-2020.

“There’s been an exponentially higher amount of Story views and likes,” explains Erica Chan Coffmann, an influencer who runs Honestly WTF. “People are tagging me in Stories, saying ‘Look at the thing I created using the Honestly WTF tutorial,’ and I’ll repost it.”

Instagram Stories: Examples of Success

Shrewd brands see the writing on the wall and have already pivoted accordingly.

For example, Sephora recently announced a partnership with Instagram that creates a digital storefront in which audience members can check out directly from their feed or through Stories while earning Sephora loyalty points.

Similarly, a number of personal care brands—like Pampers, Mustela, Native, Flamingo, and Puracy, are using Instagram Stories to educate and engage with their audiences to learn more about them.

Don't Sleep on Instagram Reels, Either

In response to the rise of TikTok, Instagram has unveiled a feature called Reels which enables brands and influencers to recreate similar videos for Instagram’s user base. 

Already, brands are leveraging the new feature to connect with consumers on the popular photo-sharing social network to great effect. For example, one popular influencer recently posted the same video to Instagram and TikTok, where it got 17 million views in 24 hours and 2.1 million views in 72 hours, respectively. 

We expect that more and more brands and influencers will try out Reels and achieve similar success due to Instagram’s devoted user base. A healthy mix of marketing channels is better for brands. MikMak’s top-performing clients use up to 29 media channels to drive engagement and commerce. If you have the resources to do both TikTok and Reels, you should do so. 

Making the Most out of Instagram Stories

As you can see, brands can benefit from using Instagram Stories effectively during the Stay at Home driven social media growth of 2020 and beyond. Instagram offers some advice on how to succeed with Stories. Also, Canva created several free templates for Instagram Stories, so you don’t even need any design skills to create great campaigns.

But that advice and those free templates will only get you so far.

Making the most out of Instagram Stories starts with understanding your audience on the deepest level and knowing when and where they want to shop. 

We may be a bit biased, but we believe that if you’re looking to create a seamless multi retailer shopping experience that enables you to unlock the full promise of social commerce, MikMak is the best tool for the job. 

But don’t just take our word for it. Schedule a demo today, and take it for a spin yourself. Here’s to taking your slice of the social commerce pie!

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