Instagram is starting to let brands advertise in between its 24-hour video stories section even though the feature just launched in August.
Why already? Why not? The scale is there—the Facebook-owned app is revealing today that 150 million people have been using Instagram stories daily. That represents a 50-million-user increase in just three months.
Around 30 brands are trying the new full-screen ads. That includes Capital One, Asos, Nike, Buick and Airbnb. The promos will first be measured solely by the number of people reached. In the coming months, the mobile player plans to expand to site visits and other metrics.
"I think [marketers] are excited about the pairing of this format with the advertising capabilities that we've built over the last couple of years," said James Quarles, vp of Instagram Business. "They can target people that matter to them. They have the ability to reach as many as efficiently as possible. And they have access to a suite of measurement tools to see what worked."
Instagram stories ads will be sold on the platform's auction-style, automated system that charges cost-per-thousand-impressions rates, which are based on a number of demographic factors such as age, gender and location. It will be open to the platform's 500,000 worldwide advertisers. When Quarles was asked about how often Instagram stories viewers would see the ads, he said the system will work to ensure relevance.
"It will look at interactions, liking, time spent, exits," he said. "Did someone move onto the next story, or did they leave the stories tray entirely? All of those are great signals and give us a great sense of people's behavior and the relative performance of the ad."
In the coming weeks, companies that use Instagram business tools will be able to view data from the stories channel. "One-third of our top stories have been from businesses," Quarles said, adding that Mercedes-Benz has been using the feature this week to take viewers behind the scenes at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
"There is a pace and an acceleration in that part of the product," he added. "It shows a new side of what people share on Instagram."
The stories let the digital platform's 600 million monthly users curate daily moments in a format that disappears after 24 hours. They are similar to Snapchat's stories, which offer users a personalized way to share photos and videos with followers, and the mobile app was a pioneer in disappearing content.
Separately, Airbnb's ads appear to be an extension of a campaign that launched last week. The home-rentals brand used livestreaming on Twitter and Periscope to inspire vacation-minded consumers to travel to Hawaii and Detroit while stirring their interest in Cameroonian cuisine. Check out more details from the campaign here.