If you thought Instagram Stories would remain a blissful haven from the ads blitz on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat (increasingly) and Instagram’s own feed for long, yesterday’s news just proved you wrong.
Instagram Stories ads are one more sign that Instagram is continuing its strategy of adopting ideas originating on Snapchat. At the moment, only ads from select companies (Airbnb, Netflix, and General Motors among the lucky few) are being shown, with plans to let more marketers in on the fun in coming weeks.
An instant success?
As with ads on Snapchat, Instagram Stories ads will take up the entire screen. Instagram Stories ads will be served to Stories’ 150 million daily users, who will see either a photo ad lasting for 5 seconds, or a 15 second video ad. But fear not, ad-averse users: only people who view multiple stories consecutively will see the ads, and just like on Snapchat, they are skippable.
The biggest question facing Instagram Stories ads is whether users will be amenable to them, instead of skipping them outright. However, seventy percent of Instagram users already follow a brand or business, which means that most people are already used to seeing advertisements on their newsfeed and less likely to dismiss an ad out of hand.
More money, more problems
Nevertheless, while it is understandable that Instagram might want to wring every bit of profit out of its product, it is disappointing from a user perspective. It took Snapchat four years to implement such an intrusive ad structure. Instagram launched Stories in August, which means users have had only five months to experiment with the new feature. By comparison, after Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012, it took over a year and half for ads to start appearing on the photo-sharing platform.
The most recent figures suggest that Instagram Stories has as many daily active users (DAUs) as Snapchat, which explains why Instagram chose to monetize it so quickly. But by doing so, they run the risk of alienating potential users who don’t wish to see any ads. The question here is, has Instagram Stories chosen to make a quick buck at the expense of future growth? Will Instagram Stories ads give Snapchat an opportunity to regain some lost momentum?
Only time will tell. But it does look as though Instagram’s determination to overtake Snapchat is finally paying off.