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Instagram rolls out full screen ads on Stories globally

Airbnb ads in stories

Instagram has opened up its Stories platform to advertisers globally for the first time, rolling out full screen, sound-on ad formats to businesses of any size around the world.

It’s a timely announcement that comes just hours before rival Snapchat, the app that first pioneered vertical image-sharing, is preparing to go public.

The ad formats are identical to the way users can create a Story – either images, videos or a mixture of both – and will appear in a user’s feed of Stories with a simple ‘sponsored’ message at the bottom.

The ads will be full screen, play with the sound automatically on, and users will also be able to skip by swiping. For image only, the will appear for five seconds while a video can last as long as 15.

Advertisers can run ads on the Stories platform by tapping in its API, and can optimise and track campaigns using Facebook’s ad management tools.

In January the photo-sharing app tested ad formats in Stories with 30 global businesses, including Airbnb, Asos and Nike.

The platform claims that Airbnb’s series of 15-second video ads that promoted its experiences offering resulted in a double digit point increase in ad recall.

Eric Toda, global head of social marketing and content at Airbnb, commented: “We saw a double digit point increase in ad recall from our experiences on Airbnb campaign that further justifies our investment in ads within stories as they have made a measurable impact for us. Our ability to apply existing targeting and measurement in an experience to reach the right audience, in the right mindset, with the right story at scale has allowed us to achieve the results we were hoping for in a partnership with Instagram.”

In 2016 Instagram more than doubled its advertiser base in six months to reach half a million monthly active advertisers.

The photo-sharing app, once a closed book to advertisers, opened up its ad inventory in 200 countries in 2015 and has introduced a raft of new features over the last few years to make it an advertiser’s playground.

It's using its openness to advertisers as one of its strengths over rival Snapchat, which only opened up its API to brands at the end of January, and doesn't offer the same measurement capabilities as Instagram's parent company Facebook.

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