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Marketing with Stories on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat

How Consumers and Marketers Are Using This Creative Format

About This Report
Stories are hot in social media, and the ad opportunities are growing fast. How are consumers using stories, and how do they respond to marketing in stories?
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Facebook is making a major push for stories across all of its apps, betting that consumers and marketers will gravitate toward this form of ephemeral communication. Stories are a creative playground, an enticing way to reach mobile-savvy young people and the latest twist on influencer marketing. But while they have been a hit on Instagram and Snapchat, few Facebook users have taken to them so far.

Are users watching stories on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat?

Hundreds of millions of social users across Instagram and Snapchat are using stories on a daily basis. However, usage is less common outside of the Gen Z/millennial generations, and Facebook hasn’t cracked the code yet.

What are marketers doing with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat stories?

Many marketers are now using stories for organic (unpaid) marketing on social platforms. Paid advertising opportunities are growing quickly, and stories are also becoming a vehicle for ecommerce and influencer marketing.

Which social media platforms are most popular for story marketing?

Instagram is now the platform of choice. Fewer marketers are using Snapchat, and Facebook is far behind. Stories on Messenger and WhatsApp will also be an option for marketers.

Why should marketers use the story format?

They are mobile-friendly, video-centric and full-screen. Story ads can be cheaper than feed ads because there is less auction competition right now, and the platforms are actively encouraging trial. Some marketers also report better engagement with stories vs. feed ads.

What are the challenges to creating stories for brands?

Story creative isn’t as easy to execute as it looks, and the vertical format is still new for some marketers. For marketers with reach objectives, the feed may outperform.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report analyzes consumer usage of stories on social platforms, explores marketing and advertising opportunities and provides examples and best practices.

KEY STAT: The number of daily story users tops 400 million worldwide for Instagram and WhatsApp, while usage on Facebook and Messenger is lower. However, all are ahead of Snapchat’s total user base.

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.

14expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. How (and Why) Stories Took Off
  3. Four Ways Marketers Can Use Stories
  1. Best Practices for Marketers Using Stories
  2. Key Takeaways: What’s Next for Stories?
  3. eMarketer Interviews
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Liz Cole
Vice President, Group Director, Social Strategy
Interviewed October 11, 2018
Gil Eyal
HYPR Brands
Co-Founder, CEO
Interviewed October 29, 2018
Jen Forrest
DEG Digital
Director, Social Media
Interviewed October 16, 2018
Aaron Goldman
4C Insights
Interviewed November 1, 2018
Christine Göös
Copy Lead, Head of Content
Interviewed October 25, 2018
Toto Haba
Benefit Cosmetics
Senior Vice President, Global Digital
Interviewed October 15, 2018
Caleb Kruse
Fluent, Inc.
Head, Social
Interviewed October 10, 2018
Jeff Miller
Snap, Inc.
Global Head, Creative Strategy
Interviewed October 9, 2018
Victor Pineiro
Big Spaceship
Senior Vice President, Social Media
Interviewed October 2, 2018
Maria Smith
Product Director
Interviewed October 16, 2018
Jim Squires
Head, Business and Media
Interviewed October 19, 2018
Claire Stapleton
Head of Social, Core Brand
Interviewed October 11, 2018
Anita Walsh
Horizon Media
Vice President, Social Strategy and Marketplace Buying
Interviewed October 9, 2018
Stan Chudnovsky
Vice President, Messenger
Interviewed October 3, 2018


Debra Aho Williamson


Tricia Carr
Managing Editor, Interviews
Rahul Chadha
Senior Analyst
Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Lauren Fisher
Principal Analyst
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Yoram Wurmser
Principal Analyst
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