Stories came, stories conquered and stories are here to stay. All of us know about the chaos that surrounded the stories feature on Instagram and WhatsApp which led to a mass disapproval for the feature on WhatsApp. The journey of this feature on Instagram has been slightly different to what happened with WhatsApp; stories were introduced almost a year ago in August 2016. Yes, it has been a year and not many of us believed they would stay for this long when they were initially launched.
Even if their journey didn’t have an acclaimed beginning, they have flourished with time and have made their spot in the stories space for apps. Not only have they impressed individuals with their features but have also influenced the business world substantially. More and more businesses are using this feature to redirect viewers towards their website with interactive content. Here are some reasons on why we believe Instagram stories are the next big thing in the digital marketing world:
Stories, stories everywhere
The digital forum started with posts; posts on Facebook, posts on Instagram, posts that were the only form of digital expression and posts that became mundane after a while. We liked and appreciated them in the beginning, but then they became too structured and rigid. It was all getting too monotonous; that’s when Snapchat happened. Stories were introduced and that brought about a new horizon to the world of digital media.
Stories added the much needed freedom that people needed with their creativity. Stories would disappear in 24 hours; they did not need to be perfect, they could be messy, careless or fun. Unlike posts they were a lot more casual in their nature. Slowly as stories progressed, brands, celebrities and influencers started getting into the groove and posted on a regular basis. It provided their followers with a lot of behind the scenes news, and a little sneak peek in their personal lives. It had some designer playing around with their designs or a celebrity walking their followers through their way on-to the stage.
There were also sports team official channels on Snapchat walking us through their locker room and showing use the insides of their team management, who wouldn’t love that?
Influencers and Stories
Stories are widely being used by the brands and individuals, but it hasn’t left the influencers behind either. In fact influencers have been very receptive to this feature. Influencers belong to a clan that has invested a major chunk of their time in building their follower base and they would not like to scare this base away by constant random posts; this is where the stories come into play. They are distinct from the regular posts; they come, stay for a while and then disappear. And more importantly, the stories are a personal space for these influencers; not all the stories are meant for promotional basis.
‘Swipe Up for Link’
With the new updates and features for the stories, verified Instagram accounts now get a new feature, ‘Swipe Up for Link’, in their stories. This feature was mainly launched from the business point of view; it redirects the viewer to the link provided by simply swiping up on the story. It is being expanded to a lot of users along with time; it isn’t available to the non-verified accounts as of now, although there is a bid to make it available to users with more than 10k followers on their profile in the recent future.
It has been of great help to influencers as they can now redirect viewers to the product’s website from their story itself allowing the user to have a seamless process from the influencer’s story to the website. The idea was to make it simpler for the viewer to reach a particular link without having to leave the photo/video posted on the story. It has been a definite game changer with a massive rise of about 15-20% in the conversion rate from the influencers.
Stories have been more successful as they are more conversational and funnier; this helps them in creating high engagement with the user. They are not pushy like most sales related ads and content asking the user to click on a particular link or call-to-action button. It has worked wonders for the brands and in-turn bundled up more business for the influencers. Swiping up on a normal profile would guide you to the ‘Instagram Direct’ of that user.
What lies ahead?
There’s very little that can be said about ‘what lies ahead’ in the digital space as there is always a possibility of a new feature coming in and taking it over. With reference to the stories, there is a certainty that more Instagram accounts would get the swipe up link and get verified. Leading to a substantial increase in the number of influencers, suddenly anyone and everyone you know could be an influencer trying to endorse a product through the power of being famous.
One of the major reasons for this to grow is the nature of the stories; they are more natural, out there, conversational, fun and also have the needed sense of urgency with the time restriction attached to them. This definitely sounds easy on the out front, but we all know how difficult it is to engage viewers to the content and even more to drive them to the link. With stories, you can take that risk, it is a smaller risk, try something, if it works, you’re golden; if not, no problem you try something different the next time. This allows the creators a bundle of freedom, stories to put together are a process of constant trying, learning, reiterating and eventually succeeding.
Starting is always the hardest part, but as these trends are here to stay, there’s every reason to do it now.