Faced with diminishing growth in advertising and a News Feed that is already filled to the brim, Facebook’s advertising representatives are increasingly looking towards the platform’s new Stories feature as fertile ground for monetisation with ads.
Stories are slideshows and videos that are ephemeral (they’re only up for 24 hours). This is already an extremely popular feature on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) but it has yet to really take off on Facebook proper, despite being rolled out over a year ago.
Still, it would appear that Facebook brass are confident that Stories are going to be the next vehicle for monetization, and to that end they started testing ads in stories in the US, Brazil and Mexico back in May, 2018. Furthermore, many key media buyers have been reported as saying that Stories are being pushed in a big way at meetings with Facebook.
Marketing firms have already seen payoff with Stories on Instagram. For instance, Overstock.com decided to run video advertisements with a Shop Now button and saw an 18% return on this investment in ad spending and a 20% drop in cost per acquisition.
The hope is that Stories driven advertising will be equally successful on not only Facebook, but also on Messenger and WhatsApp. Media agency Wavemaker is even offering free Facebook Stories ads to clients in order to entice clients as to the efficacy of this brand new form of online advertising.
As for the metrics, the success of Facebook Stories ads isn’t being solely evaluated on the number of conversions and -despite the success that Overstock had with their video ad buttons on Instagram- many of the ads currently being beta tested on Facebook Stories do not have CTA buttons.
Nor will Facebook Stories ads replace ads on the main Facebook feed. The ROI on advertisements in Stories is currently only around $1 per day per user. In contrast, ads on the main Facebook feed are currently bringing in average earnings of about $27 per day per user, whereas ads on the Instagram feed are averaging around $9 (this according to the data gathered by Wells Fargo analysts).
Facebook Stories is also still a new feature that has yet to really catch on with user; as of May 2018 there were only 150 million users using the Stories feature which is a tiny fraction in Facebook terms.
Nonetheless, Facebook is doing everything they can to make it easier for both users and brands to start using their stories feature: they can’t, for example, directly link their Instagram stories and their apps that make it easy to reformat News Feed ads as stories.