Market Trends

Written by The Marketing Team September 18, 2018

Stories: Our highlight of DMEXCO 2018

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DMEXCO is the meeting place for key players in digital business, marketing, and innovation. And last week we were there in Cologne to celebrate it’s 10th year, with 41,000 other attendees, as well as 1,000 exhibitors and 550 speakers.

The conference this year featured presentations from a number of inspiring CMOs from companies like L’Oreal, Vice and Accenture, as well as some of the world’s biggest digital platforms like Google and Facebook.

And the message from Facebook was clear: Stories, Stories, Stories! As well as running a ‘Stories School’ at their impressive and high-profile stand, the number of Facebook representatives who presented across the two days kept the message clear – Stories is the new ‘it’ format and brands need to incorporate it in their strategies if they are going to truly connect with modern audiences.

Facebook Stories School DMEXCO 2018

Facebook Stories School at DMEXCO 2018

For Facebook it’s all about Stories

This message was set by Martin Ott (VP Europe at Facebook) early on the first day, in a panel discussion around the theme of this year’s DMEXCO conference – C.A.R.E (Curiosity, Action, Responsibility, Experience).

Jim Squires, Head of Business at Instagram, later took attendees on a deep dive into Instagram Stories and the vertical video revolution. And it’s from this presentation that we want to share a few quick highlights with you, since it clearly articulated Instagram’s (and Facebook’s) vision for vertical video going forward.

The Medium is the Message

Jim framed his presentation around the famous quote from Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian professor, philosopher, and public intellectual. As a visionary on the future of media, McLuhan understood before most people that the medium we use to communicate a message changes the way that message is perceived. Logically, that also means that different messages are better geared for different media, and nowhere is that more evident than in Stories.

Stories, more than any other social media sharing medium before, allow people to share moments and experiences throughout the day. Since they are ‘temporary’ they take the pressure off sharing, and allow people to express themselves in authentic ways. Jim spoke about how the ‘medium’ of Stories has brought about a shift in the way people share and interact on social media – making it much quicker, as well as less ‘polished’ and pressured. He also added that the IAB recently found “people feel vertical video creates a more engaging experience”. Most brands care about engaging their audiences, and Stories look to be the medium taking the lead.

MMR_blog_SocialLab-Vans_VIDEOVans and Social.Lab recently discovered the power of Carousel ads in Instagram Stories – a feature still in beta. Allowing up to three pieces of media per Instagram Story, compared to the one available in regular Instagram Stories ads, Vans tested the new feature through the Paragone platform. They gained an impressive click-through (or swipe-up) rate in the test, suggesting that the Stories medium helped to engage their audience in the powerful campaign message – ‘Girls Skate India’.

“We live in a vertical world”

In the presentation, it was mentioned a study has found people hold their phones in portrait mode (vertically) 90% of the time they are in use. Added to that, 72% of millennials say they simply “don’t turn their phones horizontally”.

Stories, now well adopted across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and a number of other social networks, were built for the vertical world.

If it’s true that we hold our phones vertically so much, why are many brands still simply repurposing horizontal video content for use across all formats? Perhaps it’s time to start thinking vertical first, and working to ensure your creatives are designed for this placement that is clearly going from strength to strength.

Need a kicker to get started? Jim shared that 65% of people perceive brands who do vertical video as more innovative. Don’t wait – start testing!

“Tell an integrated story”

Finally, Stories get supercharged when they make up part of an integrated message. Jim advised brands to use Stories, Feed, IGTV and their profiles in a complementary way to deliver a consistent message. He used the example of Seat, who used an integrated approach on Instagram to promote their sponsorship of the recent Lollapalooza festival in Paris.

Seat integrated Instagram campaign
An example from Seat of an integrated Instagram campaign

In your Instagram advertising, why not try using the inherent benefits of both Stories and Feed to communicate a consistent campaign message? Use Feed ads to capture attention with stunning imagery, for example, and an accompanying Stories ad to take the user deeper into the message your communicating.

Seeing success from your Instagram advertising doesn’t come by chance! Campaign and ad set up, as well as continual optimization, requires a lot of thought. You can learn more about putting together a successful Instragram advertising campaign in our Ultimate Guide!

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