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Why Instagram Stories are a tale of video success

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The rise of video has been unprecedented since the birth of YouTube 13 years ago . We are turning to video as the most engaging form of content and all the major social platforms – namely Instagram – are prioritising it.

Sites like YouTube used to have a stranglehold on video content, and to some degree they still do – with movie trailers and music videos still being ‘premiered’ on YouTube.

But we are seeing a shift in how the younger generation approaches and produces video content, through ‘stories’.

Would it surprise you to learn that over 300 million Instagrammers use the stories function?

Ironically, most stories you see on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are hardly page turners. Yet they are rising in popularity – we’ve seen this by the decision to trial a stationary story bar on Instagram, and by Facebook mobile including stories in the messaging app – although under a different guise of ‘your day’ (we all know what you’re doing Facebook).

Stories are essentially the progression of ‘live posting’. I’m sure you are familiar with the term, where you see a running commentary of a social media livewire rapidly posting their reactions to a tv show, event, or birth of a child (seriously). Yet instead of words, it will be bursts of live videos.

Luckily for us, there is a duration limit, with Instagram limiting each ‘story’ to 15 seconds. Although, there isn’t a limit for how many 15 second clips can be posted…

The question is, why has this soared in popularity?

Why are brands now starting to create their own stories? Well to put it simply, it’s a powerful way to promote content. And the analytics are much deeper than a normal post because you can see the decision-making of your audience.

One of the big advantages of stories is that you can link directly to content, products or external webpages in a much more visually pleasing way than a Tweet or Facebook post. You can upload photos, draw with a digital pen, add a moving GIF (and branded GIFs for that matter) and of course, emojis. These are all great ways to make the content warmer and make the user feel more like it’s tailored for this inclusive platform.

These all sit very well in the younger generation’s world. The more stuff that is moving and colourful – the better!

Stories are short, snappy and disappear after 24 hours. So, if you miss your chance to click, you could miss out completely – this is encouraging more users to click as soon as a link pops up. Hello traffic.

But how do brands really benefit from it?

Our agency focusses on financial and tech clients, so you can imagine that the proposition of ‘stories’ is usually rejected as on first glance it might appear not to fit with these sectors. But there are ways that it works perfectly.

Live Q&As:

Instead of a long and boring live stream, we can now post quick and snappy posts that allow you to see which questions were forwarded or replayed the most. Giving you much more insight than a viewer count. Setting up an interview with an CEO can now be dynamic and digestible.

Building hype:

The reveal of a new product or event works perfectly with the story function. Effectively, you have multiple bites of the cherry, as a user must go through all posts of a story to remove it from the story bar. This way using a countdown or teasing an image reveal will build hype and get the user more interested than if it was a single post. From a tech point of view, revealing teasing screenshots of software or images of hardware will build hype and get users scrambling for the answers.

Polls / voting

Polls are already a really popular tool across social, but the difference now is that stories allow you to actually see which users voted for which answers. This enables you to understand the thinking of your most influential users. From a brand point of view, you can drill down into finding who your biggest followers are and create content designed for them to engage with, finding more audiences for your brand.


Not all stories are page turners, but they sure are new, exciting and changing the video landscape.


Contact us if you have any questions about how influencers could help your brand.

Adam is BrandContent’s Social Media and Video producer, you can learn more about him here.

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Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall

Hi, I’m Chris, Content Editor at BrandContent. I work on content strategy, planning and creation. I have nearly 15 years’ experience as a journalist and editor. I bring a newsroom mindset – along with a heavy dose of pedantry – honed from writing for the likes of the FT and Sunday Times. Outside of work? Pizza and my two small children are the first two things that come to mind.

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