It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong. With the unbelievable pace of the tech industry, everyone is trying to make predictions on which company will be the next to boom, including people who have no financial stakes in any of these companies, myself included.
I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a pride thing, or the desire to be able to say “I told you so.” Either way, I get to eat crow now, because I was wrong about Instagram Stories. What I thought was a copycat of Snapchat that had come too late to compete has become an unparalleled player in the social market and might be the sales tool your business is seeking.
As of June 2018, Instagram Stories had more than doubled the active users that Snapchat boasted, reaching 400 million active users to Snapchat’s 191 million. That number has no doubt increased, as Instagram recently announced the ability to promote stories to larger audiences. This is a huge step into solidifying Instagram as a must-have advertising platform for your business.
With the promote feature, users can essentially “boost” their stories in a manner similar to Facebook, showing their stories to a wider audience. By utilizing stories, businesses can promote their ads without committing financially to a fully fleshed out advertising campaign. The feature also generates and targets the kind of target audiences for whom your business is catered. Coupled with the new promote feature, users can now track analytics for stories using the Beta function of Instagram Analytics.
Using Instagram Analytics, businesses can “track lifetime value and retention rates for people who do or don’t interact with their content, and create audience segments to see if people who commented on a particular post generate more value for them.” Due to the ownership of Instagram by Facebook, the platforms integrate as well, allowing you to monitor the crossover between the two. That’s an invaluable tool, allowing you to, as Instagram’s site states: “Join more than 50% of business accounts that created stories in the last month.” That’s a big percentage that’s only going to grow. Don’t wait. Make your business part of that growing percentage.
It’s not fun to be wrong, but it is fun to see an exciting new platform make advertising easier for small businesses, allowing for a reach that may not have been possible before. Snapchat may strike back with their new Amazon integration (or if Amazon simply acquires Snapchat), but for the time being, with much humility, I admit that my reports of Instagram Stories’ demise were greatly exaggerated.