Stories: A cultural mainstay for brands to master

Stories is a new medium that does more than help people share moments.

Stories lead V3Stories across the Facebook family of apps give people the power to enhance the creativity of their communication and expression, and easily interact. With photos, videos, creative tools and camera effects, storytelling is now participatory, personalized and more interactive, bringing people much closer to the brands and people they love.

What Stories means for people

Every day across the world, one billion stories are shared across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger helping to broaden people’s perspectives and keep them connected. In a 2018 Ipsos study among Stories users, respondents agreed Stories enable them to experience new things outside their everyday lives, help them feel closer and more up to date with friends, and make them part of a larger community.

The characteristics of Stories help cultivate specific behaviours. For instance, because they’re ephemeral, meaning they only last for 24 hours unless saved, they encourage sharing that is more authentic, fun and frequent. In addition, the fact that they’re short-form, fullscreen and vertical makes them immersive and quick and easy to consume – a natural fit in the mobile-first lifestyle so many consumers have embraced.

What Stories means for brands

Stories also enables marketers to connect with their customers and communities in innovative and engaging ways, and to drive results across the marketing funnel. In fact, the same Ipsos survey found that more than 50% of respondents say they have visited a website to buy a product/service as a result of seeing it in Stories.

The characteristics that people love about Stories – authentic, immersive and creative – also give businesses opportunities to reimagine brand storytelling. Businesses can use interactive elements such as the polling sticker in Instagram Stories to encourage engagement or incorporate native Stories elements like stickers to make the ad feel natural for the platform.

To build this Stories creative Buyma partnered with Enigmo, a Facebook Creative Partner.

Brands should build Stories-first creative to drive results

With over three million monthly active advertisers on Stories as of January 2019, Stories are becoming an essential part of the marketing mix. However, connecting and driving business outcomes requires building creative that matches people’s expectations of the format and inspires them to take action.

Cosmetics company Birchbox partnered with MakeMeReach, a Facebook Creative Partner, to develop this Stories-first campaign.

Since Stories has changed the way consumers communicate, it’s important for brands to deliver messages in ways that fully embrace its narrative power and the way people navigate the screen.

A recent Facebook study found that building creative with a Stories-first approach helps drive effectiveness. Stories-first refers to fullscreen creative assets designed specifically for Stories with creative considerations in mind. These incorporate the Stories consumer experience, design and/or the creative tools, for example natural tap-and-hold interactions to pause or select interactive polling stickers. In Facebook’s testing, the Stories-first approach performed better across objectives:

  • 99% chance of Stories-first outperforming automatic default template for view content
  • 64% chance of Stories-first outperforming automatic default template for purchases
  • 73%chance of Stories-optimized outperforming other options for app events

Interac used Stories as part of a Facebook and Instagram video ad campaign earlier this year. The video was created by Toronto’s Zulu Alpha Kilo as a way to build awareness of Interac Flash with the message “a safer way to pay”. Following Facebook’s mobile-first creative best practices, Interac branding appeared in the first three seconds and the ad could be viewed in an on-the-go, sound-off environment. To gauge how receptive the audience was to the campaign, a Facebook brand lift study established its success and found lift in ad recall, message association and in the 25-to-34 demographic.

From awareness to sales, Stories ads help businesses drive results across the consumer journey. Every brand has a story to tell. In today’s era of narrative-driven marketing, Stories gives every brand the opportunity to bring their messages to life in new and exciting ways.