Instagram will start inserting ads into its new Stories feature, as the Facebook owned social network continues to encroach on rival Snapchat’s territory.
The adverts in the middle of Instagram’s Stories will be marked by a small “Sponsored” tag as well as being clearly from a different account. They will consist of a video up to 15 seconds long or a photo that appears for five seconds.
The mobile-based social network said it now has 150 million daily users on the stories feature of its photo-sharing site, a simialr audience number to its rival Snapchat.
The Stories feature imitates that offered by Snapchat, letting users broadcast slideshows of short videos and photos around an event that disappear after they’re viewed, or after 24 hours.
Instagram will start to slip in ads between stories from friends.
While Snapchat also advertises between stories, it’s still building up the infrastructure that Instagram has to measure.
The full-screen adverts, which users will be able to skip, will appear as posts in between those from users you follow.
Instagram is initally testing ads with about 30 clients, including Capital One, General Motors, Buick, Nike, Yoox, Netflix, Qantas and Airbnb.
Ads within Instagram Stories will have access to Facebook’s targeting capabilities, such as age and affinity groups, just like the other ads in Instagram.
The ads for Instagram Stories will be sold at auction and therefore pricing is set based on demand.
The move represents a new challenge to Snapchat ahead of the app’s impending IPO by introducing a rival format for advertisers.
Here’s an example from AirBnB:
The adverts will appear when transitioning from one user’s Story to another, rather than in between individual posts.
James Quarles, the vice president of Instagram Business, said the adverts were designed for “reach” rather than immediately to drive sales, and would not have links to retailers or advertisers’ websites.
He said that a third of the Stories that were viewed already came from business accounts. As well as allowing adverts, Instagram is giving business accounts the ability to see new data on how many people were seeing their stories.
According to Instagram, 70% of watched Stories are viewed with sound.
The adverts will begin next week, including in the UK, with brands including Universal and Asos.
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