Marketing with Stories 2021

They’re Evolving on Instagram (but Disappearing From Twitter). Here’s How Marketers Can Use Them Effectively.

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About This Report
The explosion in vertical video is creating both opportunities and challenges for the Story format. Stories are evolving quickly on Instagram and remain a top venue for influencer activations. But Twitter’s decision to kill off Fleets shows they aren’t popular on all platforms.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Stories are still an essential part of Instagram, with new tools for creators and the potential for a larger role in social commerce. But Twitter’s decision to kill off Fleets shows that the format isn’t viable on all platforms.

Stories have been around for nearly eight years now. Are they still important for marketing?

Yes, especially on Instagram. They inspire consumer engagement through interactive features such as polls, quizzes, and Q&As, and they are one of the last remaining ways to reliably drive traffic off social media platforms. Although vertical video venues such as TikTok have grown in popularity, Stories are still capturing consumer interest.

What’s up with Stories on LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter?

These platforms were part of the third wave of adopters (Snapchat was the first, followed by Instagram and its siblings). However, lack of user engagement led Twitter to announce that it’s shutting down Fleets in August. LinkedIn is still pushing ahead with the format, but Pinterest may have the more interesting take, with Stories (called Idea Pins) that don’t disappear.

What’s new with paid ads in Stories?

Instagram’s ad formats are much stronger than they used to be, and paid ads are also starting to roll out on LinkedIn. But there are indications that ad spending on Instagram Stories may be reaching a plateau due to high ad load.

How will Stories evolve next?

We expect Instagram and its siblings will bring more social commerce features to Stories. We also foresee more video and interactivity. The rise of short-form video is something to keep an eye on, but we believe the uniqueness of the Story format will help it solidify its place as an important venue for social media marketing.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report discusses the state of Stories for organic marketing, influencer marketing, and paid advertising; the role the format might play in social commerce; and how marketers can position themselves for success.

KEY STAT: Instagram Stories are still highly popular for influencer marketing, according to US marketers surveyed by Linqia in March 2021. Most expected to use the format, even as the percentage of those planning to use TikTok more than quadrupled since December 2019.

Here’s what’s in the full report

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16expert perspectives

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    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. The State of Stories in 2021
    3. What’s New with Instagram, Snapchat, and Other Story Venues?
    4. What’s Next for Stories and Story Marketing?
    1. How Can Marketers Position Themselves for Success with Stories?
    2. Key Takeaways
    3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    4. Read Next
    1. Sources
    2. Media Gallery

    Interviewed for This Report

    Conor Begley
    Tribe Dynamics
    Co-Founder
    Interviewed June 11, 2021
    Avi Ben-Zvi
    Tinuiti
    Vice President, Social
    Interviewed June 7, 2021
    Keith Bendes
    Linqia
    Vice President, Brand Strategy
    Interviewed June 11, 2021
    Alessandro Bogliari
    The Influencer Marketing Factory
    Co-Founder and CEO
    Interviewed June 14, 2021
    Nick Cicero
    Conviva
    Vice President, Strategy
    Interviewed June 1, 2021
    Liz Cole
    VMLY&R
    Executive Director and US Head of Social
    Interviewed June 3, 2021
    Alex Collmer
    VidMob
    Founder and CEO
    Interviewed May 25, 2021
    Arjun Desai
    LinkedIn
    Product Marketing Manager
    Interviewed June 25, 2021
    Kaitlin Deveau
    LinkedIn
    Product Manager
    Interviewed June 14, 2021
    Michael Dobson
    iNvolved Media
    Senior Vice President, Digital Media
    Interviewed June 3, 2021
    Jill Gray
    VidMob
    Executive Vice President, Global Client Solutions
    Interviewed May 25, 2021
    Matt Higgins
    Blue Hour Studios
    Vice President, Strategy
    Interviewed June 9, 2021
    Luke Kallis
    Snap Inc.
    Vice President, US Advertiser Solutions
    Interviewed June 9, 2021
    Mae Karwowski
    Obviously
    Founder and CEO
    Interviewed June 14, 2021
    Kylee Lessard
    LinkedIn
    Product Marketing Manager, LinkedIn Pages
    Interviewed June 14, 2021
    Colleen Stauffer
    Pinterest
    Global Head of Creator Marketing
    Interviewed June 9, 2021

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    authors

    Debra Aho Williamson

    Contributors

    Jasmine Enberg
    Senior Analyst
    Lucy Koch
    Junior Analyst
    Natalie McGranahan
    Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
    Yoram Wurmser
    Principal Analyst