If you’re a person who lives on their phone, you might have become entranced in Instagram Stories. It’s a feature in which pictures and short form videos are posted at the top of your Instagram feed for followers to see. When it first hit the scene many were asking, “How is this any different than SnapChat?” The question seemed valid as it seemed like Instagram’s kingpin Mark Zuckerberg made little effort to differentiate Stories from what SnapChat is already doing. The biggest difference? Zuckerberg’s proven ability to build dynamic business models with Facebook advertising will surely translate over to Instagram. Facebook netted $8.03 billion in revenue in 2017’s Q1 alone, while Instagram brought in $3.02 billion in 2016.

Instagram Stories Now Allow Click-Throughs

In 2017, many businesses have taken advantage Instagram with brand awareness strategies. However, with the inability to use clickable links many of these businesses question the validity of return on investment. While brand awareness marketing is extremely important for long term goals, it can become a tricky to quantify. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, rely on click-throughs to start the sales funnel for their targeted users, offering a more traditional approach to social media. Most recently, Instagram has made its first significant attempt to become a more salesy platform with their launch of Instagram “Swipe-Up” stories. Rather than an ugly link cluttering up a post, it’s as simple as a swipe to gain a click-through. Unfortunately the Swipe-Up stories function is only available to major businesses currently. That being said, it’s important to start working on strategies now. This feature will be available for all Instagram business pages by the end of 2017 or sooner.

Swipe-Up Benefits

  • Though a swipe is no different than clicking a link, it resonates in a way that is less salesy approach. Being something new and mobile friendly, a user is likely to get curious.
  • Instagram skews to a younger 20’s demographic that prefers personalized experiences. Swiping feels a little more natural, and doesn’t intimidate someone in the amount of time it could take out of their day.
  • Instagram offers algorithm benefits in comparison to Facebook. Facebook’s gigantic bidding war amongst advertisers has forced brands to spend several thousand dollars for placement. With Instagram Stories you’re guaranteed that your entire following has the opportunity to see your work at the top of their feed. If 800 people follow your business, you have 800 conversion opportunities on a single picture taken on your phone.

What’s Next?

In 2016, the platform grew 15.1% in its user base with an expected gain of 26.9 million people between 2016–2019. With the massive influx of people it’s going to become more than just posting pictures with friends. Let’s take a look back at Facebook’s development. It started small in colleges, allowed all users to join, skewed extremely young, and didn’t go public until it existed for seven years. It wasn’t even until the last four years that Facebook became a prominent tool for proven ROI in businesses. Instagram’s growth feels eerily similar to me, and the clickable Instagram Story is just a start.

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