Our influencer marketing manager in London, Jess Shirling, recently spoke to The Drum about brand opportunities around Instagram Stories and influencer marketing. Here, she shares a few more thoughts on the subject.

Tell us a bit about Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories have just turned two years old, and now have up to 400 million daily active users. With people spending more time on them, Stories are increasingly becoming an integral part of an influencer strategy on Instagram.

What’s so good about them?
Stories are great for in-the-moment, ‘real life’ content, that doesn't need to be constrained to the look-and-feel of the feed, making them an authentic way to communicate with audiences. The swipe-up feature provides a valuable opportunity to link immediately to a brand specific landing page, rather than counterintuitively requiring a user to follow a ‘link in bio’ f0r in-feed posts.

What are their limitations?
When working with third parties like influencers, brands must relinquish a certain degree of control and let influencers speak to their audience in a way that feels natural to them. This is even more true with Stories, which are often off-the-cuff and unedited. For brands that are looking for full control over their content, Stories may not be the most comfortable format to use.

How do you track influencer content on Stories?
Due to the technical nature of stories and restrictions accessing non-public data, it is still quite a manual process. We rely on self reporting from the content creator and often, the content creator will need to send screengrabs so that results can be consolidated manually, calculating metrics such as Story retention and completion rates.

Should brands be using Stories in their influencer campaigns?
For us, Stories are increasingly becoming an integral part of any influencer campaign, rather than being just an add on. For instance, the 'swipe up' feature unique to Stories presents an opportunity beyond communicating a candid brand message, creating a launch pad for click through to other parts of a campaign, such as a microsite or long-form content on IGTV or YouTube.

Brands should evaluate every campaign on a case by case basis to ensure the right message goes out in the right format. However, the best approach is often an integrated one.

You can read The Drum’s in-depth piece on Instagram Stories here.