The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Story Telling Social Advertising Depositphotos

A brief guide on sequential storytelling



Open Mic article

This content is produced by a publishing partner of Open Mic.

Open Mic is the self-publishing platform for the marketing industry, allowing members to publish news, opinion and insights on

Find out more

May 28, 2021 | 7 min read

Today, storytelling is one of the most important skills that every marketer should master

You may already be practicing it without even knowing it, for example, while creating TikTok videos, Instagram Stories, YouTube ads, and other marketing formats that utilize the principle of a narrative.

In recent years, marketers have been focused on using text and visuals to tell a story on social media. In this article, the Depositphotos team provides more insight into sequential storytelling, a relatively new concept that can enhance communication with clients.

What Is Sequential Storytelling in Marketing?

Sequential storytelling is a format of narrative that combines different stories into a single unit.

The conventional storytelling in marketing puts more emphasis on brand content containing different narrative elements like settings, conflicts, and protagonists. It also contains a description of events, and even though the structure of the story can vary, certain elements must be included, and these are the introduction, crisis, and climax.

The features of sequential storytelling are now widely applied in advertising on social media. You’ll find content creators posting different videos following a single topic. Hashtags are also utilized to make it easier to navigate the different posts.

The main reason why brands embrace sequential storytelling is that it is an effective way to engage with users. It also helps to make the messages more memorable. Statistics reveal that about 75% of YouTube users remember video ad sequencing more than the conventional ad videos that only last 30 seconds.

Places where you can spot sequential storytelling: billboard advertising, video games, challenges on TikTok, stories on Instagram, cinema, modern advertising, graphic novels and book series, YouTube.

Sequential storytelling can be used both online and offline. Here is a sequential billboard campaign by Adidas featuring a hypnotizing GIF-effect.

Impact of Sequential Storytelling on ROI

There are many benefits to using sequential stories for marketing because they offer higher conversion rates and engagements. When customers hear from you regularly, they will easily remember you, and since everything is interconnected, communication is a lot easier.

However, you need to be aware that creating story sequences can be time-consuming compared to creating a single publication or promotional video. Also, creating a plot for individual stories requires a higher-level specialist, and this can be expensive. The financial burden is also high for editing sequences. In some cases, it is not always realistic. That is why some marketers avoid this technique.

The bottom line is that sequential storytelling can result in higher ROI, but it also requires large investments.

Advantages of Sequential Storytelling

  • There is a higher chance for your content to go viral
  • It is more emotionally appealing
  • Higher campaign conversion rates, unlike single visual stories
  • It makes your message and brand more memorable

Disadvantages of Sequential Storytelling

  • It is more expensive
  • Media planning takes more time and effort
  • Content strategy does not offer flexibility
  • Not every content producer likes sequels

Master Digital Storytelling Skills With These 5 Tips

You need to have the knowledge, skills, and budget to be able to incorporate sequential storytelling into your brand strategy. That is why we have provided a list of tips to help beginners.

1. Determine your hero, setting, and conflict

The first thing to do when creating a story is to develop the characters and describe their universe. You’ll also need to come up with a conflict to resonate with your audience. There’s no point venturing into digital storytelling if you do not reach an agreement between these aspects.

The best way to achieve this is by placing your client, employee, or product as the hero and making their environment the setting. For the conflict, you can utilize things that will get their attention, for example, their problems, fears, and intentions.

The stories told in Zero Hunger on YouTube are simple and contain three ‘heroes’: a chef who throws away one-third of his dish, and a trash can.

2. Find your perfect story structure

Sequential storytelling involves different narratives, and maintaining them in a series can be tricky. In some cases, there may be a need to divide long content into smaller units.

There are different types of sequences that you may use (tease-amplify-echo, mini-series, direct shot, follow up, or lead in). However, if you are looking for the best and most promising scenario, you may want to consider these two:

Tease-amplify-echo: It uses a simple structure in which you’ll have an introduction, an important part of your story, and a post-event story.

The mini-series: Features different episodes with different ideas or plots. This structure does not require character development.

Ikea's Product Stories playlist is an example of the Mini Series format. Each video discusses the story behind an Ikea item, and adds value and emotional context to Ikea’s products.

3. Try both sequential and single post metrics

With the sequential approach, you don’t need to create a solid first impression. This is because it takes several encounters for users to remember you, and as such, the remaining content in your inventory will always come in handy.

When you discuss and focus more on a topic, you are more likely to win your audience’s attention. Your first video may not pull in high organic views, but with more videos, you’ll realize an increase in the metrics of the first video. However, you still need to focus on the metrics of all your videos.

4. Explore different platform settings and analytical tools

There are a wide range of services that help copywriters, designers, and marketers with their storytelling approach. With these tools, you can set how your ads are seen with respect to different demographic features.

For example, with a platform like YouTube, you can experiment with different options like “respond to ads,” “skip ads,” or “go to the advertiser's site.” Each social media platform has different features that you can apply in your storytelling approach. Also, with paid promotion features, you can get more of these tools to use.

No Poverty campaign is dedicated to homeless people in LA that are often ignored (“skipped”). By watching or skipping the videos, you are involved in a dialog with a person leaving on the street.

5.Make the most of your budget

Using photos and videos for sequential storytelling can be expensive, but there are different ways to reduce the costs. An example of this is by avoiding the development of new intertextual concepts. A more cost-effective approach is to focus more on your sales funnels.

Another nice alternative that can help you cut down costs is using stock photos and videos from Depositphotos. There are over 200 million files available on the platform, and you can utilize them for your creative projects for a better cost.


Storytelling is an effective communication tool for promoting brands on social media. It is the concept that prompted different social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram to develop innovative sequence features. An example of that is the highlights feature on Instagram, which provides different ways of presenting narratives online.

But will sequential storytelling work for you? This depends on your resource distribution. Sequential storytelling will not be cheap and fast. However, the benefits you’ll get in the long run will be worth it. With this approach to marketing, you’ll get higher conversion rates, unlike when you use single-story campaigns.

Story Telling Social Advertising Depositphotos


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +