The Latest Breakout Channel For Publishers: Instagram Stories

[Originally published on the Dash Hudson blog.]

The journey to success on Instagram Stories was never going to be a straight line for publishers. We took a look at how the best publishers are using the channel in 2019.

How does a publishing firm powered by long-form storytelling, glossy editorial shots, and years of heritage win on a channel made for snackable snippets? We watched the best publishers’ Stories for a couple of weeks to uncover the latest trends and concepts. We’ll dig into those tactics but first, let’s refresh our memory of the publishing industry benchmarks for Instagram Stories.

Industry Benchmarks

Publishers are often wondering where they sit in terms of Instagram Stories metrics — from reach and impressions, to swipe ups and exit rates. In our experience, the KPIs that matter most when it comes to Instagram Stories are reach, impressions, exit rates, number of stories, and cards per story. The results are in, represented as percentages of your audience.

ICYMI: We found every Instagram Stories performance benchmark you need to know, by industry. Find it here.

Instagram Stories Trends

1) Headlines

Instagram has always presented a riddle for publishers when it comes to driving traffic to their website, but those days are over. Swipe ups are a surefire way to bring fans on-site from that attention-grabbing Story. Just in case you’re still swapping out your link in bio every day, we should mention LikeShop, another traffic driving lever to pull.

2) Q&As

What better way to meaningfully engage with your online community than through Instagram Stories? The poll and Q&A functions will help you gain a better understanding of your fans and allow you to bring them further into your world. And they love it.

3) Interviews

Mini shows are becoming a norm on IG Stories, and we’re seeing brands creating quality low-budget video specifically for the channel. Publishers often pose questions (see above) and have an industry expert or famous faces answer them via Stories. The strategic and engaging method is keeping fans coming back for more.

4) Exclusive IG Series

One way to tackle that exit rate and keep your impressions high throughout your story is to build miniature series into your strategy — sort of like a listicle, but in Stories.

5) How Tos

This is content repurposing gold. Take the expertise out of print and share the valuable wisdom with your wider audience on Instagram Stories. Providing your fans with tangible advice will keep them coming back time and time again.

6) Behind-the-Scenes

Who doesn’t love a good BTS Instagram Story? The ephemeral nature of Stories lends itself perfectly to the on-the-fly vibe of being behind the scenes and filming from your phone. It brings your audience even closer to your brand.

So the answer is yes, publishers are most definitely creating Stories-first content. But that’s not to say that repurposing is dead. Forward thinking brands are finding new ways to translate long-form content into bite-size snippets guaranteed to bring their audience on-site.

When it comes to metrics and benchmarks, the best approach you can take is to look at your own Stories data and track the performance over time while continuing to test new strategies to determine your own benchmarks — relevant to your brand’s specific goals and your unique audience.

Stories doesn’t need to be a big Instagram data blackhole. You can access all your Stories metrics through Dash Hudson in one beautiful, easy-to-use dashboard. Find out more here.

Header image: @britishvogue

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