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Marketing with Stories

Consumer Usage and Best Practices for Organic Stories, Influencer Partnerships and Paid Advertising

About This Report
Social media stories are growing in importance for consumers and marketers. Here’s how businesses can make the most of stories for organic marketing, influencer marketing and paid advertising.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Stories are spreading across social media. Twitter and LinkedIn are testing them, joining Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. With consumer usage rising, marketers are increasingly using stories for organic marketing, influencer marketing and paid advertising.

How important are stories for consumers?

More than four in 10 US Instagram users and 34% of US Facebook users watched other people’s Stories in the past month, according to a March survey we conducted with Bizrate Insights. Stories also remain a highly popular format on Snapchat, the app that started the trend.

How are marketers using stories for organic (nonpaid) marketing?

Marketers are using stories to show less-scripted or behind-the-scenes moments, and they are embracing swipe-up capabilities to drive leads, conversions and purchases. According to the Incite Group, 36.1% of B2C respondents considered ephemeral content such as stories critical to their content marketing efforts.

How important are stories for influencer marketing?

In a word: essential. According to influencer marketing firm Linqia, 83% of US marketers planned to use Instagram Stories for influencer marketing this year.

How many marketers are using story advertising?

In 2019, 51% of marketers surveyed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) were using story advertising, up from 42% in 2018. More than 4 million advertisers on Facebook properties worldwide were using Story ads as of January 2020, up from 3 million in 2019.

Is TikTok a competitor to stories?

Indirectly. TikTok videos can’t be strung together like stories can, they don’t disappear, and they can be embedded into stories on other platforms. But TikTok’s vertical format, its appeal to a primarily youthful audience and its tight integration with creators are all commonalities.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report explores the growth of stories as a social media activity and as a marketing format. It also discusses how marketers are measuring the effectiveness of their story marketing.

KEY STAT: In March 2020, more than four in 10 US Instagram users had watched an Instagram Story in the past month.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

24expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Stories Take Hold for Consumers
  3. What’s New from the Social Properties
  4. Organic Marketing with Stories
  1. Influencer Marketing with Stories
  2. Paid Advertising in Stories
  3. Measurement: A Work in Progress
  4. Key Takeaways
  1. Insider Intelligence Interviews
  2. Read Next
  3. Sources
  4. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

TJ Black
@cloudtalk (TikTok)
Interviewed January 30, 2020
Stephanie Bohn
Chief Brand Officer
Interviewed March 2, 2020
Rachael Cihlar
Senior Director, Strategy
Interviewed March 12, 2020
Liz Cole
Vice President and Group Director, Social Strategy
Interviewed March 10, 2020
Alex Collmer
Founder and CEO
Interviewed March 2, 2020
Kristi Daraban
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
Associate Vice President, Social Media
Interviewed March 5, 2020
Alexis Garner
Paid Social Director
Interviewed March 9, 2020
Liz Gottbrecht
Director, Brand
Interviewed March 12, 2020
Trisha Hershberger
@thatgrltrish (Instagram) TrishaHershberger (Twitch)
Interviewed January 29, 2020
Sean Kim
TikTok US
Head of Product
Interviewed March 19, 2020
Nicola Lawton
Senior Strategist
Interviewed March 12, 2020
Tim Leake
RPA Advertising
Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer
Interviewed March 16, 2020
Maryam Maquillage
@maryamnyc (Instagram)
Interviewed March 9, 2020
Kate McElroy
Strategy Director
Interviewed March 12, 2020
Jeff Miller
Snap Inc.
Senior Director, Global Creative Strategy
Interviewed March 9, 2020
Casey Nicoletti
Manager, Social Media Marketing
Interviewed March 16, 2020
Aurelia Noel
dentsu X
Head of Innovation and Transformation
Interviewed March 12, 2020
Oneika Raymond
@oneikathetraveller (Instagram)
Interviewed February 12, 2020
Jessica Richards
Havas Media Group
Global Head of Social
Interviewed March 12, 2020
Robert Rothschild
Vice President, Global Marketing
Interviewed March 10, 2020
Daniel Schotland
Chief Operating Officer
Interviewed March 3, 2020
Susan Wenograd
Interviewed March 3, 2020
Maria Wollenburg
Manager, Social Media and Content
Interviewed March 18, 2020
Alex Zaccaria
Co-Founder and CEO
Interviewed March 10, 2020


Debra Aho Williamson


Blake Droesch
Junior Analyst
Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Angela Kim
Senior Researcher
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Yoram Wurmser
Principal Analyst
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