Tips for increasing social story engagement

As the new kid on the “social content” block, stories are demanding and receiving attention from hundreds of millions of users every day.

Instagram and Facebook alone are recording 1 Billion daily active users. It is no wonder then why marketers are flocking to social stories as a way to generate immediate scale and awareness of their product.


But marketers must approach these new modes of story-telling with a “clean slate”. A common mistake is assuming that traditional modes of digital story creative can easily translate to mobile story formats.

While there are similarities, it must be appreciated that social stories engage consumers differently – both in terms of viewing experience and user mindset.

The linear structure of social stories lends itself to the storytelling habits popularised by modern digital media advertising. But what makes this mode of story-telling different from the others is contrived by the “environment”.

Branded story content naturally matches the flow of user-generated content due to their native integration within existing social feeds. Users flip from friend story content to branded content without disrupting the viewing experience.

Coupled with an immersive full screen design and engagement tools integrated to increase interactive content experiences, it is unsurprising why stories are recording remarkably higher rates of engagement compared with their digital media counterparts.

But to truly benefit from the opportunity social stories can offer advertisers, applying the following best practices are crucial to maximising this channels’ potential:

  • Make a strong first impression. In an already fast-paced mobile environment, you have a very limited amount of time to capture a users attention. After all, they move through stories 50% faster than comparable posts in social media feeds. Avoid adding nuanced details in your story ad; capitalise on the format by being upfront about your stated objective and call to action.
  • When stories first debuted, they were viewed with a “younger sibling” mentality. All the hurrah and excitement was poured into the “first-child” in feed experience, so that when stories were introduced, some of the gloss was gone. But very quickly it became apparent that stories proved to be a highly effective vehicle for direct response. Particularly as traditional in-feed content did not allow users to click out of the environment. 62% of users became more interested in a brand after seeing it in story content. So next-time you implement a story campaign, view it as a direct response opportunity. Not a story telling one.
  • Stories should not replace your in-feed marketing strategy. They should be complimentary designed, and complimentarily marketable. Common visual language needs to be developed across in-feed and story content in order to maximise the potential for brand recognition. In their most effective form, story content will briefly attract attention, while in-feed content can offer more explicit details.


Stories are the fast-growing social media post format, bar none. Their influence on the digital marketing landscape cannot be ignored. But don’t get swept up in the hysteria! It is about approaching this channel in its own unique right, and appreciating that how you may tell a story in a 15 second TVC, should probably be vastly different to have you communicate with users in social stories. But one thing is evident among all others: brands who find ways to aesthetically connect their stories and in feed content can expect greater brand resonance, in terms of first-touch messaging and direct response outcomes.