Unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely noticed how popular Instagram has become. From a small platform where people could post pictures. To a huge phenomenon where both influencers and businesses push marketing content to millions of views. If you take a closer look you'll see that the dominant aspect of Instagram isn't mere photos or videos, but story content. But, why are Instagram Stories so popular and why do some marketing analysts believe that they are essentially the future of marketing? Well, that is what we're going to elaborate on.
Understanding Instagram as a social media platform
Besides Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is one of the social media giants. It currently has over one billion active users, most of which spend around 53 minutes per day using it. Therefore, if you plan on developing a marketing campaign, you really ought to consider making good use of Instagram stories.
Instagram is usually seen as a casual platform that focuses primarily on visual content. As such, it does have a certain appeal and use in terms of marketing. Namely, people don't see Instagram as a serious, business-oriented platform like LinkedIn. This allows them to lower their guard and not filter out information as they would with standard ads. But, the casual nature of Instagram does have its drawback. For instance, if you are trying to convey an image of professionalism and expertise, you might consider avoiding it. Usually, B2B companies tend to stray away from Instagram, as they don't stand to get many benefits from using it. But, if you are trying to engage everyday customers, Instagram can be a great platform.
Story content on Instagram
While a big part of Instagram is its standard content like vertical videos or images, we will focus on one of its newest features, Instagram stories. The term "newest" has a relative meaning here, as Instagram stories have been around since 2013. But, ever since they were introduced, they've become more and more dominant on various types of social media and even websites. So, why have Instagram stories become so popular, and why do so many marketing analysts believe that they are the future of marketing?
The downfall of written content
For most of its existence, online marketing was based on written content. In order to engage their audiences, businesses designed websites where they posted blogs and promoted pages. Even today, content marketing is largely based on written content, as it gives great SEO value and provides an easy way to convey information to your audience. But, while written content is still relevant, its value is slowly declining.
As new IT technology developed so did marketing platforms. While before you had to rely on written content, today you can make full use of visual, audio and interactive content. With smartphones and fast WiFi, people are able to view sizable marketing content with ease. Videos, animations and stories became much more used in marketing, as you could reliably assume that all of your audience will be able to experience it with ease.
Another reason why short videos and animations became so popular is that they are much easier to digest. "To digest" is a marketing term meaning that a viewer views content and absorbs its message. The main problem that arose with written content is that it became difficult to digest unless you were viewing it with previous interest. This means that a written article does have its audience. But, it primarily consists of people who are already interested in what the article has to say. People with zero interest who stumble upon an article are likely to ignore it together, no matter how well written or informative it is. Fortunately, this is simply not the case with story content. People are more than willing to absorb the bite-sized content presented through Instagram stories, even if the subject of the story doesn't interest them much.
Live events and feeds
Another reason why Instagram stories are so popular is that they provide a live feed. Namely, a lot of promotional events benefit greatly if they are live. A live event has a district feeling of excitement and spontaneity that is almost impossible to duplicate with scripted content. So, it only makes sense to use a live feed when promoting something. Here is where Instagram thrives as it puts live stories first and foremost. Not only is story content situated at the top of the Instagram feed. But live stories are put first. Therefore, by resorting to a live feed you not only engage your audience but also get prime platform real estate on Instagram while doing so.
While Instagram does provide limited options in this regard, it is still important to mention that interactivity is a big part of overall story content popularity. Namely, when creating story content, you get a lot of options for introducing interactive elements. Things like polls, questionnaires, CTA buttons... All of them give a quick and easy way to engage your audience. Multiple studies have shown that interactivity increases both engagement rates and conversion rates. Therefore, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that businesses that use Instagram make good use of interactive elements.
Final thoughts on why are Instagram Stories so popular
The question of why are Instagram stories so popular is something that every marketing manager should be able to answer. Namely, by combining the popularity of Instagram with the high engagement of story content, you get a marketing phenomenon that is easy to comprehend, but hard to make use of. Keep in mind that story content as a whole is simply a new tool for marketing. Written content, and every other form of content, still has a role to play. So, it is your job to understand Instagram stories as a whole and give them good use in your marketing campaign.