Instagram Brings Carousel Ads to Instagram Stories

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It’s been less than a year since Instagram brought advertising to Instagram Stories— a format that its owner Facebook said in November has more than 300 million daily users. Since then, it’s been working to expand those capabilities, like incorporating ad formats that were already established elsewhere.

Today, Instagram has announced plans to bring its Carousel Ads into Stories. That means the ads in Stories are no longer limited to one piece of media (which could be a photo or a video) — they can now include three. Director of Product Marketing Susan Rose noted that this is something that users can already do with organic (non-ad) Stories, so it seemed like a natural step to incorporate that capability into ads as well.

“It’s a feature that was requested from businesses and advertisers, given the power that they’ve seen through organic stories with multiple pieces of content,” she said. Why three pieces of content, not (say) four or five? Rose said this is “just a starting point.” For advertisers, these kinds of Stories ads aren’t just a way to incorporate multiple types of media.

They also allow them to tell more a little bit more of a (small-s) story in their ads, rather than forcing them to squeeze their message into one image or video. And it gives them an opportunity to incorporate other Instagram features like drawing tools and the ability to pin stickers in videos.

From a user perspective, you can interact with these ads the way you would with any other Instagram Story, pausing or swiping backward when there’s something interesting, or swiping forward when you’re ready to move on. Instagram says it’s starting to test this with a handful of advertisers, including the Gap, Coca-Cola and Paramount, before rolling these capabilities out more broadly. You can see a sample ad from Gap on the Instagram blog.

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