3 Reasons Why Instagram Stories Ads Have Plenty of Staying Power


Since last writing about Instagram Stories ads in 2017, Instagram has evolved the offering from both a user and advertising perspective. Since rolling out Stories in 2016, Instagram has given users more ways to share and engage with the content, while offering advertisers more appealing features and capabilities, including support for full-screen ads.

With 500 million active users, one-third of the most-viewed Stories coming from businesses, and one in five Stories getting a direct message from viewers, it’s clear that Instagram’s decision to adopt Stories was the right one. Here are three more reasons why Instagram Stories and its Instagram Stories ads will remain a safe bet for years to come.

The Dominance of Mobile Video

Mobile video is impossible to ignore. Full stop. According to eMarketer, the number of US smartphone video viewers will reach 187.7 million this year, with an expectation that it’ll grow to more than 200 million by 2022 or nearly 65% of the Internet-using population in the US. Couple that with the fact that average time spent watching mobile video is expected to be close to 30 minutes per day by next year, and the importance of linking video with mobile has never been closer to the frontline. For Instagram users, their liking for Stories seems like a logical conclusion.

For advertisers, the increased focus on the stories format is logical as well, and advertisers are responding by allocating a more substantial portion of their budgets to meet the market demand. By 2022, mobile video ad spending in the US will swell to $24.81 billion, representing a 55% increase in spending compared to what’s expected to be spent in 2019.

As long as Instagram users are flocking to Stories, expect advertisers to be there too.

Vertical Video Reigns Supreme

Remember when the market wasn’t convinced that vertical video would be accepted by the masses? Sure, you could argue that the initial trepidation around vertical video, which arguably made its debut with the launch of Snapchat in 2011, was a result of the market still adopting mobile devices (mainly smartphones) on a large scale. While this can’t be linked directly, in 2011, the share of Americans who owned a smartphone was just 35%, and the most popular mobile app was Angry Birds. Today, that number is 75%. So maybe that argument isn’t that far off.

Due to the widespread adoption of mobile coupled with an overall acceptance of vertical video—thanks to a higher-quality experience and more effective ad experiences, and we’ve found ourselves living in an ecosystem that not only welcomes vertical video but encourages it.  

As the world moves away from feed-based updates and further embraces the vertical format, Instagram Stories will remain an effective way to reach consumers in a way that mirrors their behavior.

The Market Is Answering the Call

Since Snapchat introduced the short-form, ephemeral format when it burst onto the scene in 2011, nearly every major social platform has honed its sights and diverted its resources to offer a like-minded offering. While the world outside of Snapchat was slow to respond—although the tides began to turn two years after Snapchat’s founding when Facebook tried to purchase the upstart social platform for $3 billion—there’s been an inevitable shift.

First, Instagram added Stories in 2016, which came approximately four years after acquiring the company and five years after Snapchat’s emergence. Following that, WhatsApp, another Facebook-owned property, introduced WhatsApp Status. Then came Messenger Day (now called Messenger Stories), and a year later, Facebook rolled out a similar feature, which represented a blatant move to turn the format into mainstream behavior thanks to Facebook’s ability to reach billions of people across the globe via Facebook’s mobile app.

As if that wasn’t enough, Facebook even earmarked Stories as its biggest driver of growth moving forward as overall adoption plateaued after saturating nearly the entire developed, internet-connected world. Whatever way you look at it, when the industry leaders come to the table, it’s time to take notice.


In 2017, Instagram Stories was being lauded as a blatant copy of Snapchat. It was, and to some degree, still is. However, the reality is that today, the numbers speak for themselves. With 500 million people using Instagram Stories, the immersive and full-screen ad inventory available presents an opportunity no advertiser should pass up. As the world fundamentally changes the way it communicates, Instagram Stories and Instagram Stories ads have all the staying power to remain a key stakeholder in any advertisers’ long-term strategy.


 Learn More about How Instagram Advertising Has Matured

Download our Instagram Research Report

Download Now