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How 25 Brands Are Using Instagram Stories

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How 25 Brands Are Using Instagram Stories

There are over 200 Million businesses on Instagram. And, according to the platform, 90% of people on Instagram follow a business. 

Why could this be? As people are increasingly using social media to research prospective purchases, Instagram serves as an outlet for brands to creatively show their products, services, or happy customers in action.

One of the ways that brands on the app share content with audiences is through branded Instagram Stories. These Stories enable audiences to learn more about your brand and what you offer — generating interest with prospective buyers and creating trust. 

In this post, discover high-quality Instagram Story tips and tricks from businesses that effectively use the feature on the platform.

If you’ve been on Instagram for a while now, you’re probably more than familiar with its Stories feature. But if you’re new to the platform, here’s a quick explanation of Stories:

While an individual might use a Story to show photos or videos from a vacation, work, or other aspects of their daily life, brands often use this feature to highlight photo or video content about their product, brand, or a topic related to their industry. By doing this, the brand might entertain and gain awareness from Instagrammers who enjoy tapping through random Stories.

To make your content even more interesting, you can also add GIF stickers, text overlays, filters, and interactive features — like polls and quizzes — to Stories after you upload or shoot them. You can also optimize your Story by adding text overlays with relevant hashtags or by adding handles of users that are affiliated with the content.

Whether you’re new to the app or a pro, you might be wondering where to start when it comes to using this feature for your brand. You might also worry that this strategy could be expensive, time-consuming, or require graphic design skills.

The truth is, creating Instagram Stories can actually be pretty simple and fun for your social media managers. Case in point: recent HubSpot research found that 46% of marketers already leverage the feature in their marketing strategies, and 55% are planning on increasing their investment in Stories for 2022.

To help you plan your Instagram Story strategy, we’ve compiled a list of 25 brands that have mastered the app feature. Although the brands on this list are larger companies, all of them have strategies that could be easily scaled to fit the marketing budget of smaller companies.

25 Brands Using Instagram Stories

Abercrombie & Fitch

Abercrombie and Fitch, a clothing company, often uses Instagram Stories to call attention to their offers. By sharing high-quality product photos, they’re more likely to capture audience attention, spark interest, and inspire someone to make a purchase. 

In the image below, Abercombie and Fitch shares a Story featuring an exclusive online-only item and includes a “Tap To Shop” link. 

branded instagram story: abercrombie & fitchTakeaways: 

Abercrombie and Fitch stands out with its high-quality product photos, and the copy included in their stories. It doesn’t just share a picture of a product but also reminds viewers that it’s time to start shopping for the holidays and that they can quickly begin shopping for the holidays by tapping to shop.

LEGO

While LEGO commercials and other branding material might be more targeted to children, its Instagram approach is targeted to older audiences that will buy the product. These audiences could include young adults that love puzzle projects, or parents that might buy a set for their children.

LEGO’s Instagram primarily highlights works of art made with their products. While this might be interesting for younger people on Instagram, it could also be fascinating to older people who used to play with LEGOs and might want to buy them for their children.

LEGO adds to these Stories with interactive polls and quizzes. In a recent Story celebrating Harley Davidson, they showed a LEGO replica of a motorcycle and included a quiz that asked, “How many LEGO elements are in this life-size Harley?” This is a great example of how a brand can use a relevant quiz to engage people in an interesting way.

LEGO branded Instagram Story

Takeaways:

LEGO’s Instagram is a great example of how a brand that sells a product primarily to one age group can adjust its content for social platforms that host audiences from other generations. While they’re still on brand and hone in on LEGO nostalgia, they do a great job of creating interactive content specifically for the young adults on the platform.

NASA

NASA leverages beautiful space imagery, pictures of cool gadgets they work with, and interesting space discovery news to create Stories that speak to science lovers. On any given day, you might see a Story about a new planet, polls related to space travel, or quick historical fun facts.

NASA’s style is surprisingly casual and easy to comprehend. Although the organization’s content discusses complex topics like space, science, and technology, its Stories do a great job at cutting to the chase by explaining what’s interesting or newsworthy in a way that’s understandable to those without science degrees.

To pull in viewers, NASA begins Stories with an interactive element or text that summarizes the topic they’ll discuss. Here are two pages they used to kick off different Story editions:

NASA Instagram Story

Takeaways:

NASA’s strategy of grabbing audiences with quick, understandable, and interesting information can be key on many fast-paced social media platforms where people merely glance at a post or tap quickly through a Story before moving on to the next interesting piece of content.

When it comes to their overall approach, NASA does a great job at leveraging the strong content and information it has readily available to create unique Stories about space. While some brands might need to get super creative and brainstorm Story content from scratch, NASA recognized that its photo and video content would align well with Instagram Stories.

If you’re part of a smaller brand that has highly visual products or content, you might want to prioritize visual social platforms like NASA has done. Not only will it be easier for you to leverage visual content that you’re already creating, but you’ll have a leg up on brands that aren’t as visual.

Additionally, while some people might be intimidated by scientific discussions, they might still follow NASA because the brand publishes jargon-free stories that simply explain need-to-know details about complex topics. If you have a highly technical or complicated product or service, take a page from NASA’s book and use Stories as a chance to be more accessible to your audience.

MIT Technology Review

MIT Technology Review’s Instagram content isn’t only for academics and science experts. The publication actually does a great job of creating and telling stories most of the Instagram’s audiences can understand.

One of the publication’s Instagram Story strategies involves taking long-form pieces of content and abridging them for the platform. Because MIT Tech Review is verified with over 1.1 Million followers, it’s able to include “swipe ups” in Stories. A swipe up is a CTA that says something like, “Swipe up” or “Read more.” When a viewer sees it, they can swipe their finger upward to see a page or article from the publisher’s website.

If you can include swipe ups, this tactic is both creative and might be helpful for boosting traffic to full stories. Users might read an interesting, but short, Story — like the one below about 2019 technology fails — and want to swipe up to see a full long-form article.

MIT Tech Review Instagram Story

Takeaways:

While NASA leverages its exclusive visuals, MIT Tech Review similarly leverages its readily available editorial content. Rather than writing separate news content for Instagram Stories, they adapt pre-written articles that they think will be interesting to Instagram readers.

This abridged-content strategy could be excellent for publishers or brands that regularly blog. If a brand can’t link Stories to their website just yet, they could still create a shortened version of a blog post and alternatively include a page that says the article’s link can be found in the Instagram account’s bio.

Harvard Business Review

The Harvard Business Review often centers Stories around management, professionalism, and career-life. Like the MIT Tech Review, it uses a casual tone of voice and similarly adapts long-form content into abridged Stories. However, one key difference is that HBR is a bit more interactive.

While HBR embraces Instagram’s poll, quiz, and other interactive Story features, it also gets creative by adding its own spin on interactivity to a story. In the example before, the publication shows users a burn-out checklist which they can screenshot and check off. The story then gives you advice for what to do if you checked any of the boxes.

Harvard Business Review Instagram Story

For readers that want to know more, they offer a swipe up to a long-form article on their website.

Takeaways:

Although the name “Harvard” can sound intimidating, the publication’s Stories are easy for any reader to follow. This is a great example of how a brand can succeed by talking directly to the young, more casual audience of Instagram.

On top of an understandable and relatable tone, interactive elements like checklists, polls, and quizzes might make readers think more deeply about a topic than they had before. This might pull them into content because they want to learn more or dive deeper into a topic they were asked to vote on.

Even if you aren’t a publisher, doing something similar could be equally as beneficial to your content.

For example, if you’re running an Instagram account for an extermination company, you might start a story with a poll saying, “Do you know where bed bugs come from?” Then, you could tell a story of where they come from, how to prevent them, and how they can call an exterminator if their preventative measures don’t work.

People might tap through after taking the poll to see if they’re right about bed bug origins or because the question made them realize how worried they are about bed bugs.

America’s Test Kitchen

Like NASA, America’s Test Kitchen, a website and video blog with recipe content, doesn’t go too far off-brand with its Instagram Stories. While many of America’s Test Kitchen’s videos on other platforms show you how to make a recipe, the brand publishes behind-the-scenes kitchen videos and shots of ingredients to amp up audiences for upcoming recipe videos.

In one Story, the Test Kitchen showed photographs and videos of bacon as chefs were testing out bacon recipes. The Story then offered up a poll that asked viewers how crispy they like their bacon.

America's Test Kitchen Instagram Story

Takeaways:

While America’s Test Kitchen’s Story strategy is perfect for food publications, it could also be helpful for restaurants as well. When someone sees a video of a restaurant’s chef cooking a new dish, it might make them crave that meal and go to the restaurant to order it. Additionally, as prospective customers see chefs cooking thoroughly and with care, they might also trust that their food will be prepared well

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston uses Instagram Stories bring its current statues and paintings to life. While you might think that looking at pictures of 17th-century art might bore you, the MFA zests things up by partnering them with funny quotes, meme references, and polls.

For example, they recently presented multiple pictures of horse-related art accompanied with lyrics from the highly-memed song, “Old Town Road.”

Museum of Fine Arts Boston's Instagram Story

Takeaways:

While the MFA is known for being prestigious and academic, it uses Instagram Stories like this to show that the brand can still be both humorous and hip.

This is an example of how a brand that could’ve been considered “dry” on Instagram thought outside the box to show off their product in a whole new way. While it can be beneficial to stay on brand if you align well with a platform, some companies or organizations, like museums or national parks, might want to experiment with odd new content strategies on fast-paced platforms like Instagram.

National Geographic

Aside from Instagram’s own account, National Geographic is the most-followed brand on the platform. Like its standard photo posts, the publisher experiments with a variety of different content styles.

While NatGeo’s Stories usually highlight mini-documentaries, they also occasionally include polls or quizzes. This is a good example of how mixing things up and experimenting with different content styles can keep your audiences on the edge wondering what type of content they might see next.

Like MIT and Harvard, National Geographic also occasionally abridges long-form content in order to promote an article or video that a viewer can swipe up to. In the example screenshotted below, they promote a video that discusses the history of NASA’s Apollo mission, while tagging NASA for some added Story optimization.

National Geographic thanks NASA in an Instagram Story

The brand has also dabbled with sponsored content. In one edition, sponsored by Barbie, they told the story of a female conservation photographer. This was an interesting example of a sponsorship which allowed National Geographic to tell a beautifully shot story about nature, while aligning with Barbie’s mission to encourage female empowerment.

National Geographic Partnered with Barbie for an Instagram Story

Takeaways:

Like MIT Tech Review and NASA, National Geographic leverages the beautiful and exclusive imagery it already has to adapt interesting on-brand content for Instagram. This allows the company to use their resources in an economic way while also promoting long-form content that goes into more detail than the Story does.

While NatGeo does a great job of adapting content, it also experiments with partner content. When even small brands partner with other companies to create content, production can be more affordable, and launching the content could help both brands gain fans from the other’s base.

YouTube Music

YouTube Music uses its Instagram account to inspire users to download the YouTube Music streaming app. By pairing high-quality visuals with audio snippets, viewers get an exciting preview of what’s to come when they download the app. 

YouTube Music branded Instagram Story

Takeaways:

Listening to music is typically an audio-only activity, where people click play and, well, listen. YouTube Music uses Instagram Stories to take the music listening experience to the next level by sharing song snippets paired with high-quality photos of the artists, which is not something that usually goes along with listening to music. 

Audience members know that YouTube sometimes connects the song to the artist, and users may excitedly check its Stories to see if a photo is shared of their favorite artist.

Outback Steakhouse

Like America’s Test Kitchen, the restaurant chain Outback Steakhouse leverages images of delicious food and polls to engage its Instagram Story audiences.

While some Stories feel like ads by discussing promos and deals, others feel more interactive and creative.

For example, in one recent Story, users were shown multiple Outback menu items for each dinner course, then they were asked to vote on which meal they wanted for each course. At the end of the Story, Outback noted a multicourse dinner deal they were offering. This is a great way of highlighting multiple products at once without making your audiences feel overwhelmed.

Outback Steakhouse uses poll tool in Instagram Story

Takeaways:

If you can’t think of an idea for a Story with a more traditional plot and narrative, Outback proves that you can still pull people through a series of images in a way that feels more like an interactive experience than an ad.

A variety of different brands could take on a similar strategy. For example, if you were a marketer for a shoe company could post a Story that allows people to vote on the shoe styles that they’d wear for different occasions. This type of story would allow your audiences to see and weigh in on two different styles of your products at once.

Later, when they can’t figure out which shoes they want to wear to an outing, they might remember your Story and go to your shoe outlet knowing you have a bunch of different options.

Nike

Nike’s Instagram Stories feature interviews with prominent athletes who use Nike products. During the interviews, the athletes talk about their career accomplishments, rather than focusing on Nike products.

In the example below, soccer player Alex Morgan told the story about how she realized she wanted a different career path than her sister.

Nike Interviews an Athlete in its Instagram Story

Although this has nothing to do with shoes, the content aims to motivate athletes who might want to purchase shoes worn by other successful people in the sporting industry.

Takeaways:

Leveraging relevant influencers, like Nike, allows you to create content that aligns with your brand without purely focusing on your product.

People might watch these Stories to learn more about the famous athletes being interviewed. Then, they might trust Nike’s brand more because these successful athletes also trust its products.

While a small company might not be able to hire or film a famous athlete or influencer, they could still experiment with a similar strategy by interviewing smaller influencers or experts within their industry.

For example, if a gym owner wants to gain more clients, they could interview a local athlete about their goals, accomplishments, and what motivates them. People interested in the local athlete might watch the video to learn more about the person, but then consider a gym membership if they want to have similar athletic accomplishments.

Black Girl Sunscreen

Black Girl Sunscreen is a beauty brand that sells sun safety products. It uses its Instagram to share high-quality product photos, share influencer collaborations, and educate audiences on the importance of sun safety and using its products. 

In Stories, Black Girl Sunscreen often shares user-generated content of audiences using its products and relevant brand announcements, like the Cyber Monday announcement shown in the image below. 

Black Girl Sunscreen branded Instagram story

Takeaways:

A great way to keep users engaged on your profile is to share exciting content with them, especially when it comes to upcoming deals. People want to know when they’ll have access to deals for their favorite products, so sharing these announcements on Instagram Stories is a valuable strategy.

Airbnb

Stories are a major part of the travel company’s Instagram strategy. In fact, they have a few different styles of Stories. For example, which gives short profiles of Airbnb customers is called “Experiences, while another — called “Adventures” combines curated and Airbnb-recorded content to show documentaries of unique vacations around the world.

Here’s an example of one of Airbnb’s experience pieces which centers around a customer who regularly stays in Brooklyn. Aside from explaining what the customer does, Airbnb also uses polls and quizzes related to her job to get people interested in the history she researches:

Airbnb highlights customers in its Instagram Stories

While Airbnb creates a lot of high-quality video and animated content for its stories, they also don’t shy away from sharing high definition customer videos while crediting and tagging them.

Here’s another screenshot from one of the brand’s Adventure Stories where they included videos of an Airbnb customer swimming with sharks and credited them with their account handle:

Airbnb Instagram Story features video from customers

Takeaways:

One of the best ways to gain brand trust is by telling or presenting stories from happy customers. Airbnb’s Instagram team recognizes this and centers its storytelling strategy around that.

While they film and present their own beautiful footage and documentaries, they also are wise to share user-curated videos and images — a great opportunity to show its fans how pleased customers were with their trips.

Although this customer experience strategy works well for Airbnb, it could work for a variety of other companies, especially if they are still building up their customer base or selling a disruptive product that no one’s used before.

For example, if a new ride-share company had a few happy customers but wanted to boost its marketing strategy, it might create Stories where customers talk about interesting places that their shared ride brought them to, or maybe they’d discuss an interesting driver they met on a long ride. They could earn trust when prospective customers see how happy and safe customers felt when using the ride-share service.

Starbucks

Starbucks uses Stories to share customer testimonies, new product launches, and other interactive content. Although a lot of the brand’s content revolves around its drinks, the Stories don’t feel like advertisements because they embrace fun facts and interactive polls and quizzes.

In one example, Starbucks asks viewers to guess which drink is coming back. It then shares the best answers and reveals the S’mores Frap and image. To add some extra interactivity, viewers can vote on what type of S’mores Frap they prefer and guess how many s’mores are shown in a video.

Starbucks Instagram Story

Takeaways:

Even if they center specifically around a product rather than a narrative or plotline, Stories like these can still be fun from beginning to end. Starbucks does a great job of using interactive features to engage viewers.

By offering open ended questions and quizzes, they might engage with people who don’t like a specific beverage, but want to guess anyway. With the polls, they can gain similar engagement, while also possibly learning more about what drinks and flavors their audience prefers.

Telfar

Telfar is a luxury fashion brand well known for its bags. Like many other brands on the list, it uses Instagram to share new product announcements, user-generated content, and high-quality product photos. 

In the image below, Telfar uses Stories to share info about an upcoming event. 

telfar branded Instagram story

Takeaways:

People spend a significant amount of time on social media per day, so announcing events on Instagram Stories is a valuable strategy. You’re likely to reach your audiences where they spend a significant amount of time, and they’ll be excited by the opportunity to participate in an event for your business.

Instagram

Yes. Obviously Instagram is excellent at posting Stories on its own platform. But, even though the brand is giant, they still rely on their fanbase for most of the content.

Almost all of Instagram’s Stories are filled with photos or videos submitted by users. This allows Instagram to show off some of the most beautiful imagery and the most interesting videos on the platform. Because they tag and credit users who submitted content, they also give those accounts some great promotion. This, in turn, makes Instagram look like they care about their community and how people are using the app.

Here’s a screenshot from a motivational story created by an Instagram user:

Instagram's Instagram Story with curated content from users

Takeaways:

Whether you’re marketing a small business or large business, you always want to be picking “low hanging fruit.” For those that don’t know this common startup saying, it means that if you see a huge opportunity in front of you, you should grab it. Just like you would grab a delicious-looking apple that was hanging low to the ground off of a tall tree.

By sourcing and republishing interesting content from some of its most engaging users, Instagram grabs its low hanging fruit and makes a delicious juice out of it.

Odds are, you’re not Instagram’s size — and you probably don’t have your own thriving social platform to pull content from. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t curate content from your customers in a more scalable way.

Like Airbnb, Instagram benefits greatly from highlighting content that was already created by its fans. If you’re a small business that regularly gets some type of content from your customers or fans, you can create a sense of trust and community by sharing it and acknowledging those individuals.

For example, if you run marketing for a clothing outlet and keep getting pictures of people wearing the dresses it sells, you could make a Story that shows photos from customers who wore those outfits to different outings. Like Instagram, you could tag those customers so they or their followers might see the Story.

In another scenario, say you’re running a local art studio. You might want to publish a Story that includes photos, sculptures, and paintings from your students. This allows your students to feel like you care about their success and want to share it, while also showing prospective students how much they could learn if they took your classes.

Sephora

Sephora is an international retailer for beauty products and personal care items. With more than 20 million followers, audiences turn to their accounts to view educational content about the products they sell, collaborations with influencers, and unique images and videos about products. 

The images below show that the brand shares informational content about its rewards program and upcoming offers on Instagram Stories. 

sephora (1)

Takeaways:

Sephora’s Beauty Insider Rewards program is well known, as people can exchange points from purchases to receive free items. Sephora uses Instagram stories to show users what products they can expect to have access to with a certain number of points, generating excitement among users and inspiring them to make purchases to receive their free items. 

NBA

The NBA regularly posts behind-the-scenes styled Instagram Stories which might highlight post-game celebrations, interviews, and other off-the-court happenings.

For example, a recent Story followed the Toronto Raptors parade in Ontario, Canada and showed clips of players with family members and posing for photo ops with the Canadian rapper, Drake.

NBA Instagram Story

Takeaways:

When you show the people behind a company or brand, it makes it feel more relatable or trustworthy. With the NBA, we often see players looking serious and tough as they play basketball. But, when you see them off the court, you realize that they’re human, just like you.

Although someone might not be a sports fan, they might still watch behind-the-scenes stories like this to learn more about the faces behind the brand or to get insight on how the world of sports works.

In other industries, people might also respond well to behind-the-scenes video. For example, if you’re marketing for a school or gym where professors and trainers might seem intimidating to prospects, showing Instagram Stories that follow them in their daily lives might make prospects less apprehensive about signing up for a course or membership.

Wayfair

Wayfair, an online furniture and home-decor company, publishes Stories that fall into five home-related categories: Wall Art Wednesday, #WayfairAtHome, Home Renos, Multifunctional, and Design Services.

When you visit its account page, instead of featuring multiple individual stories, they show you icons for each category. Once you click in, you’ll see multiple Stories that relate to each group.

How Wayfair organizes Instagram Stories on its profile

Regardless of which category the Story falls into, Wayfair is always creatively weaving product shots into it in either a humorous or creative way.

Here’s a screenshot from a Story where the brand uses humor to show off wall art:

Wayfair jokes about wall-hangings in its Instagram Story

In another example, they give valuable tips for home renovation that acknowledge Wayfair products:

Wayfair highlights spice rack in Instagram Story

Wayfair includes a “See more.” swipe up call to action in every page of its Stories which allows viewers to swipe directly to a product immediately after its shown.

Takeaways:

If you’re working at an ecommerce company, or want to highlight and sell products quickly, Wayfair’s strategy could be beneficial. These Stories allow possible customers to see products in action and used in real-life scenarios, which might make them want to make a purchase.

If you can’t link your website to your Story, you could alternatively stick a product line link in your Instagram bio, then create a Story highlighting products that will be shown on that webpage. At the end of it, rather than including a linked call to action, you could direct viewers to your bio.

If you end up creating a bunch of Stories that fit into just a few categories, you might also want to consider presenting them as featured Stories like Wayfair does on its profile. That way, if someone is interested in one product category over another, they’ll know where to click to see relevant content.

Caffe Nero

The New England-based Italian coffee chain, Caffe Nero, uses its Instagram Stories to highlight new products, menu items, and it’s baristas. Recently, the company posted a Story about its “Barista of the Year” competition and award which highlighted the winner as well as eight baristas who were named as finalists.

Caffe Nero Instagram Story

Takeaways:

Whether you’re marketing for a local business or a chain, Stories can be a helpful way to highlight unique aspects of your brand — especially devoted and friendly staff.

By highlighting nine highly-skilled baristas and showing an award ceremony, Caffe Nero shows prospective customers that its employees are pleasant, want to help customers, are good at making coffee, and enjoy their jobs. It also makes Caffe Nero look like a brand that cares about both its staff and good customer experiences.

If someone has to pick between a huge restaurant chain with unhappy staff and a smaller chain with staff that cares about customer happiness, odds are, they’ll probably choose the second option because their experience might be smoother and more pleasant.

New York University

NYU’s Stories center around topics that you might see in a student newspaper. In any given story edition, you might find student profiles, historical fun facts about NYU, graduation speeches, and university-related newsbites.

In one Story, published on Valentine’s Day, NYU discussed alumni who fell in love:

NYU Valentines Day Instagram Story

In the same Story, they also highlighted instances of sibling students

NYU highlights sibling classmates in Instagram Story

And just recently, NYU published footage of its Pride Parade:

NYU covers Pride Parade in Instagram Story

Takeaways:

Because Gen-Z and millennials flock to Instagram, this type of student-friendly content seems very well targeted. While many in Gen-Z are starting to enroll in college programs, some millennials might still be thinking about getting a first or second degree.

When prospective students are preparing to make a huge investment in college, they want to choose a school that cares about its students. With the strategy of telling interesting student stories and covering campus events, NYU gives possible students an idea of what going to the school might be like. These Stories might also show them how fun and diverse NYU could be.

If you’re part of a business that requires students or customers to pay large annual fees, one great way of showing them it’s worth it is by highlighting current customers or students. Emotionally, prospects might connect with people in their situation who are happy with a big investment that they made.

While this strategy works well for colleges and universities, it might also benefit other programs, such as a networking organization. For example, if you’re trying to market a group where members pay to attend networking events, workshops, or other career training, you might post Stories that talk about members who found jobs after joining, or use the platform to show videos of current members at an interesting networking workshop.

Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness leverages its diverse customer base by promoting gym triumphs in its Instagram Stories. Its featured Story includes one customer triumph or success story on each page with teaser language encouraging viewers to swipe up to the Planet Fitness website.

Planet Fitness Instagram Story

The best thing about this Story is that it shows successes from a wide range of people. While you might see a highlight about an athlete preparing for a marathon one day, you’ll also regularly see moms going to the gym, friends working out together, or other testimonials about customer milestones.

Takeaways:

Planet Fitness continues to define itself as a “judgement-free zone” by showing realistic accomplishments by every-day people. Those who want to go to the gym might see these stories and feel like Planet Fitness is a realistic and welcoming place for them to start working out.

Every-day person success Stories can be a great way to lighten up your brand image if you think prospects are too nervous to come to you. Aside from gyms, this could be an approach for other businesses or brands that might be intimidating to customers.

For example, because people can get nervous around lawyers, a law firm might want to use Stories to post video testimonials from clients who won their court cases with help from the organization. In another scenario, a nutritionist might have patients volunteer to talk about their wellness success. 

The Jimmy Fund

The non-profit organization which raises money for cancer research and treatments regularly keeps Instagram followers up to date with the projects its funding, cancer-survivor testimonials, and updates on its annual 5K Fun Runs.

Although cancer is a tough topic, The Jimmy Fund’s Stories are optimistic and promote the charity’s successes.

In one Story, the organization toured a state of the art cancer treatment center that they had helped fund:

Jimmy Fund Instagram Story at Cancer Center

In another, a cancer survivor gives five tips for living with the disease:

Jimmy Fund Instagram Story where cancer survivor gives tips to others with the disease

Takeaways:

If you’re a marketer for an organization that asks for donations or funding, you might already know that you’ll need to gain trust from your following in order to get the money you need. One of the best ways to show that someone’s donation will be put to good use is to promote how the funds are effectively being used to help others.

By using the Stories feature to present funded projects, like new cancer treatment centers, viewers can literally see what their money could go toward.

If you’re just getting a philanthropic organization or fund off of the ground, another way to earn trust could be by creating content that is valuable to the group you’re trying to help.

For example, along with noting what the charity has been funding, The Jimmy Fund also posts advice for cancer patients and cancer survivors. While those living with cancer can benefit from this, those who aren’t will see that the organization genuinely cares about the group it says it supports.

Lowe’s

The home-improvement store uses a variety of different story styles to show off its products. While most are created by Lowe’s, other [1]stories are curated from customers.

In one curated story, viewers can watch a woman refloor her bathroom with tiles she bought at Lowe’s:

Lowe's How-to Home Improvement Instagram Story

In a story created by Lowe’s, the brand takes a similar approach as Outback Steakhouse by allowing viewers to vote on which type of paint color they preferred in a specific room:

Lowe's uses polling tool in an Instagram Story

Takeaways:

While home-improvement might be nerve-wracking to someone who hasn’t done it before, Lowe’s uses colorful imagery and creative stories to show how fun and creative it can be. Because Lowe’s shows its own tools in these stories, novices who don’t want to be overwhelmed by product choices might just buy the exact same supplies so they can replicate what they’ve already seen.

If your company offers DIY products, whether they relate to home-making, cooking, art, or other activities, showing them in action can be a really great way to encourage purchases. How-tos and demonstrations can excite prospective customers and show them how easy it can be to do a home project. Because of this, they might run straight to your store to buy similar supplies or ask your staff to show them other products for another DIY project.

Tips for Creating an Instagram Story

If this list has inspired you to create a branded Instagram Story, here are a few key takeaways to remember as you begin to brainstorm your first edition.

  • Identify and leverage content that might already align well with the platform. Do you have great customers that you can interview on camera? Or photos or videos of your product or service in action? While you’ll still want to adapt imagery or Story lengths to fit the platform, don’t be afraid to publish Stories with curated or pre-created content that you think will engage Instagrammers and prospective customers.
  • Create content specifically for the platform’s audience. Whether you’re adapting content or creating it from scratch, make sure you’re posting about topics that younger and more-visual Instagram audiences will engage with.
  • Use interactive features like questions, polls, and quizzes. These add depth to a story and might enable users to think about each topic more seriously.
  • Keep stories quick and to the point. Don’t overwhelm your audiences with too much text or too many pages. This might cause them to tap out of your story.
  • Add a swipe up if you can. These can be a great way to gain traffic through Instagram. Don’t have the swipe up feature yet? Here’s how you can get it.

Stories can be a great way to add some unique and engaging content to your Instagram strategy. If you’re ready to make one, but feel overwhelmed by all the app’s features, leverage the strategies used by the brands on this list — your audience will surely enjoy it. 

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Salesforce rolls out new edition of Marketing Cloud for small businesses

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Salesforce summer 2023 release: The business executive's guide

Today Salesforce announced Marketing Cloud Growth, an edition of Marketing Cloud designed specifically for small businesses.

With help from AI, this edition makes it easy for marketers to segment audiences, create and execute email campaigns from text to image, optimize campaign performance and create unified customer profiles. It also has a prompt builder that can store and manage known reliable prompts for organizations.

Dig deeper: 70% of SMB marketers willing to pay more for tools with AI or automation

Salesforce developed the new edition by looking at the most common use cases for which small businesses frequenty don’t have the people or resources. This includes things like personalizing campaigns and advanced testing.

The company is also letting small businesses (those with fewer than 200 employees) that have Sales or Service Enterprise Edition “get started with Data Cloud at no cost.” Marketing Cloud Growth will initially be available in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to roll out to Europe, the Middle East and Asia by the end of the year.

Why we care. First of all, small businesses need all the help they can get. This creates an opportunity to start using AI within a centralized marketing workflow rather than importing content from independent generative AI tools. Perhaps it’s also a sign of Salesforce moving to compete with platforms (can we say HubSpot?) that more overtly court SMB clients.

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Elevate Your YouTube Channel: Top 4 Video Editing Tools

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Elevate Your YouTube Channel: Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Launched in 2005, YouTube now stands as the second largest search engine after Google.

Almost 2.7 billion people use YouTube worldwide every month and 87.7% of those users access it on their mobile phones.

Owing to the large number of video content available on the platform, you want to ensure that yours stands out.

To make it happen, you need to master effective content creation tips, use fantastic lighting, and invest in powerful video editing software.

There are tons of editing tools on the market that promise amazing results. 

To help you cut through the noise, I’ve curated a list of the 4 best YouTube video editing software.

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s something for you. Keep reading.

1. Movavi Video Editor

1708399564 369 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399564 369 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Top on the list is the Movavi Video Editor, one of the best YouTube video editing software for beginners.

It enables you to create compelling videos using advanced tools like audio correction, motion tracking, and chroma key without requiring any technical knowledge.

Additionally, you’ll find several ready-made YouTube intro videos and a large library of background music and audio clips.

Although the user interface is easy to navigate, Movavi still provides video tutorials to make you feel confident while editing.

Movavi runs on Windows (versions 7 to 11) and Mac OS X (10.15 or higher).

Key Features

  • AI background remover: Replaces backgrounds without a green screen
  • AI motion tracker: Sticks effects and images on moving objects
  • Precise frame cuts: Makes cuts with precision and attention-grabbing montages in one click
  • Color correction: Boosts colors so viewers can stay glued to your YouTube channel
  • Overlay effect: Offers 13 blending modes to create professional-looking videos
  • 4k resolution: Saves videos in ultra-high quality form
  • YouTube Integration: Saves you time by sharing videos directly to YouTube

Pricing

Movavi offers a generous free plan and three paid plans with different sets of features. Here are the prices for various plans it offers:

  • Free
  • Video Editor: $49.95/year
  • Video Editor + Effect Packs: $155.95/year
  • Video Suite + Effect Packs: $94.95/year
1708399564 966 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399564 966 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Easy to use

Tool Level

Beginner/Intermediate

2. Adobe Premiere Pro

1708399565 365 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 365 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

If you’re looking for the best YouTube video editing software that can transform a basic clip into a ready-to-upload video, Adobe Premiere Pro is your best bet. 

It integrates with all the apps in Adobe Creative Cloud to help you streamline your workflow.

Adobe Premiere Pro boasts an extensive range of features, from color correction tools and visual effects to collaboration tools for teams. 

Also, you can optimize the export settings to preserve the quality of your YouTube videos when you share them online. 

Although Premiere Pro is popular among professional video editors, follow the video steps for beginners provided on the platform to learn how to use it. All you need is a powerful computer and willingness to study the available tutorials.

The app is compatible with Windows (10 or later) and macOS Monterey (version 12 or later).

Key Features

  • Text-based editing: Removes pauses with ease
  • Project templates: Retains assets, colors, and branding across multiple projects
  • Speech-to-text conversion: Automatically creates captions and transcripts in over 18 languages
  • Auto reframe: Automatically detects and adjusts aspect ratios to easily upload videos to YouTube
  • Adobe stock library: Offers access to stock video footage, photos, and over 75,000 audio tracks and remix the length to fit your video

Pricing

Adobe Premier Pro offers two paid plans. Here are the details:

  • Premiere Pro: $29.99/month
  • Creative Cloud All Apps: $59.99/month
1708399565 222 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 222 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Has a steep learning curve

Tool Level

Intermediate/Advanced

3. Shotcut

1708399565 295 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 295 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Available on Linux, Windows, and macOS, Shotcut is a comprehensive YouTube video editing software solution. 

It supports various video and audio files, including AVI, WAV, and MP4.

The video editing software is great for complex projects as it allows you to combine several audio, image, and video files into one video. 

Also, editing on the platform doesn’t follow a chronological order; you can make changes at any point.

Shotcut may not be the best editing tool for new content creators because of the learning curve. 

However, the platform has a video editing guide, including a community of Shotcut users who are willing to assist you.

Key Features

  • Native timeline editing: Supports all video and audio formats, including 4k and 8k resolutions
  • Cross-platform editing: Gives you the option to start a project on macOS and switch to Windows without hassles
  • Video effects: Offers built-in effects like auto-rotate, white balancing, timeline fader, and 360° video filters, without installing any plugins
  • Display and monitoring: Ability to preview videos in low resolution to improve the speed of real-time effects
  • Keyframing: Option to define the start and finish points of effects along the video timeline such as transition, sound, and brightness or contrast

Pricing

 Shotcut is completely free to use as it’s an open-source software solution

Usability

It has a steep learning curve

Tool Level

Intermediate

4. Lightworks

1708399565 259 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 259 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

If you’re looking to create the best videos in a short time, Lightworks is the way to go. 

It’s the best YouTube video editing software for beginners who are willing to learn video editing as they grow their YouTube channels.

Similar to Shotcut, the platform is loaded with all the tools you need to go from a beginner to a pro.

You can edit, color correct, add titles, and more using the drag-and-drop interface. 

Also, it’s compatible with YouTube video format and resolution for ease of uploading content.

All versions of Lightworks can work on Windows (8 and later), macOS (10.14 and later), and Linux.

Key Features

  • Universal timeline: Accommodates video footage of any quality, size, or frame rate
  • Flawless audio editing: Offers various audio effects and the option to sync with video for an immersive experience
  • Visual effects: Offers a simplified suite of over 700 customizable motion graphics and titles for easy to advanced editing
  • Easy export and share: Allows you to share videos on YouTube directly from the platform

Pricing

Here are the pricing plans offered by Lightworks.

  • Free
  • Create: $9.99/month
  • Pro: $23.99/month
1708399565 484 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 484 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Easy to use

Tool Level

Beginners/Intermediate/Advanced

Pro Tip: According to Attrock guide, the best video maker can offer training resources for non-technical users. This is particularly designed for video marketers who have no high skills in video creation and editing.

Choosing the Best YouTube Video Editing Software

Getting the best YouTube video editing software shouldn’t cost a fortune. 

Platforms like Shotcut and Lightworks offer free tools for both beginners and expert editors.

However, if your YouTube channel is already monetized and you’re willing to spend money on a super-advanced tool, Premiere Pro will be ideal.

Lastly, if you’re ready to level up your video editing game, try Movavi today. You’ll save money while accessing advanced editing features.


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How to Run Spotify Ads: Costs & Key Considerations

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How to Run Spotify Ads: Costs & Key Considerations

Spotify went public in 2008 in a market crowded with rival music services. The music streaming app has shattered expectations by reaching over 602 million users, including 236 million subscribers, across 180 markets. It is now the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service.  

Spotify Ads is also the largest digital audio advertising platform — giving marketers and brands a direct line into the ears of millions of ad-supported listeners.

The breakneck velocity of Spotify’s rise is incredibly impressive. The platform’s active users spend on average 148 minutes a day listening to their favorite music app — and most of these users are enjoying Spotify’s free, ad-supported version.

It’s clear Spotify is seeing vast success, but let’s dive a bit deeper into the world of advertising within the increasingly popular platform. Here’s a quick look at what digital audio advertising is, what Spotify Ads can offer brands and advertisers, and how you can get started. It’s easier than you might think.

The Advantages of Spotify Ads

With a valuation of over $72 billion, strong year-over-year growth in active users, with no signs of slowing down — Spotify has a bright future ahead.

Some marketers have been slow to leverage this new medium of advertising, but maybe now it’s time to pay attention as time spent in these ad units is increasing. Spotify offers marketers many unique advantages that can be leveraged to reach millions of tuned-in listeners across the globe. Let’s cover a few of the highlights:

Expansive and Diverse Audience Reach

Spotify is consistently expanding its reach and has an extremely diverse audience which is a huge benefit for potential advertisers. When advertising on the platform, you’ll have access to:

  • 300 million+ ad-supported listeners
  • Users who spend 2+ hours listening daily 
  • A 24% lift increase in ad recall for audio ads (according to Spotify)

As an added bonus, Spotify reports that “when compared to multi-format campaigns, audio-only campaigns tend to drive more foot traffic to stores at a more efficient cost per visit.”

In addition to effectively reaching an incredibly wide audience, Spotify also collects first-party data from its users that marketers can leverage to inform their targeting decisions.

Consumers Spend A lot of Time on the Platform

Consumers are increasingly investing significant time on the Spotify platform, drawn in by its vast array of content. With almost every song imaginable available for streaming and a steadily expanding library of podcasts, there’s no shortage of entertainment options. 

With their “Broadcast to Podcast” program, your favorite radio shows are finding a new home, seamlessly transitioning from airwaves to headphones. The numbers speak for themselves: 32% of Americans now listen to podcasts regularly, and that number is only growing.

A Ripe Opportunity for Engagement and Revenue Generation

With a commanding presence in the audio advertising arena, Spotify boasts a substantial market share, leveraging its vast user base comprising predominantly Millennials and Gen Z, but also attracting a significant number of older users. Currently, over 317 million users are engaged with the ad-supported tier of the platform, presenting a big opportunity for advertisers. Spotify’s approach to engaging users is multifaceted, employing a combination of audio, video, and display ads to effectively reach and resonate with audiences. 

By utilizing audio when users are most receptive, complemented by engaging video content to enhance messaging, and reinforced through strategic display ad placements, Spotify maximizes ad impact. The platform’s commitment to innovation is evident through its continual enhancement of ad offerings, introducing new functionalities to ensure advertisers can optimize their campaigns and connect with audiences in meaningful ways.

Spotify Provides a First-party Data Advantage

Whenever a user listens to a song, queues a playlist, or creates their own playlist — they are telegraphing something about themselves:

  • How they feel
  • Where they are
  • What they’re doing

This is the power of first-party data, and it’s a golden commodity for marketers and brands when it comes to reaching a targeted audience at the right time.

Consider Spotify’s running playlists for example. Spotify collects data that pinpoints when and how often users listen to running playlists. Brands like Nike put ad dollars to insert themselves into the headphones of users who are fired up and exercising. To put it simply – the ad resonates on an even deeper level.

Brands can use Spotify’s first-party data to reach listeners during very specific moods or activities — all based on the music that they’re engaging with.

Josh Brisco believes that Spotify’s advertising platform will only become more powerful in the future.

“With millions of ad-supported listeners world-wide and robust targeting capabilities, it is a fantastic way to get in front of a desired audience. Its continued user growth and investment in its ad units, capabilities, and overall product make it one to watch.”

How Spotify’s Ad Types Work

Spotify is based on a freemium model — where all users can have unlimited, free access supported by 15 and 30-second ad breaks. However, users can opt to pay for a premium account for an ad-free listening experience (besides certain ad units like homepage takeovers, sponsored playlists, and podcast ads). The great majority of Spotify’s listeners opt for the ad-supported version.

These ad units can play pre-roll and post-roll when users are listening to their favorite songs. Spotify also gives advertisers the option to incorporate video and display options into their strategy. 

Spotify Ads has expanded into a variety of different ad units:

Audio Ads 

Spotify’s audio ads are concise yet impactful, strategically placed between songs with clickable display content to engage listeners. With a maximum length of 30 seconds, these ads efficiently deliver messages to the target audience, spanning both mobile and desktop devices. Beyond direct targeting, these ads have the potential to reach additional demographics as they may play in various public spaces like stores and restaurants where Spotify is used.

With this ad type, you can combine audio messaging with customizable images (i.e: brand names, slogans, and calls-to-action) to drive traffic to designated websites. These ads offer highly targeted options, including geographic targeting, to ensure relevance and maximize impact.

These ads are extremely successful for brands. In fact, a study by Nielsen found that Spotify audio ads led to a 24% increase in ad recall and a 17% increase in purchase intent among listeners. 

 

example of a Spotify audio ad with a companion image, advertiser name, logo, tagline, and CTA

Source: Spotify

Video Ad Takeover (Mobile) 

Designed exclusively for mobile and tablet viewing, Spotify’s Video Ad Takeover offers advertisers a dynamic platform to showcase their brand message. With a strict limit of 30 seconds and a maximum file size of 500 MB, these videos are optimized for seamless integration into the user experience. Displayed in either portrait or landscape orientation with a 16:9 ratio, the ads are strategically placed between songs or during commercial breaks, ensuring maximum visibility when the screen is in view. 

Each video ad is accompanied by a companion banner featuring a customizable CTAs, enhancing user engagement. Advertisers also have the option to include a Branded End Card at the end of the video, providing an active link to their website for further interaction.

example of a Spotify video takeover ad on mobile device

Source: Spotify

Overlay Ads

Spotify’s Overlay Ads (compatible with both desktop and mobile devices), are a straightforward yet effective advertising solution. These simple, clickable display ads are strategically served to users upon their return to the Spotify app, ensuring maximum visibility and engagement. Occupying the full screen, these ads provide a prominent presence, capturing the user’s attention from the moment they re-enter the app. 

Users have the option to close the overlay either by clicking on the designated ‘X’ or allowing it to automatically close after 30 seconds. With a clickthrough URL included, these ads provide a seamless pathway for users to explore further content or interact with the advertised brand. As the first thing users see upon returning to the app, Overlay Ads offer advertisers a prime opportunity to make a lasting impression and drive desired actions.

example of a Spotify overlay ad for Kia Sportage shown on a desktop and mobile device

Source: Spotify

Homepage Takeover (Desktop)

With Spotify’s Homepage Takeover (desktop), advertisers can prominently feature their brand message on the front page of Spotify’s Desktop Homepage for a full 24 hours. This prime real estate allows for maximum exposure and engagement with users. While the ad links directly to the advertiser’s site, it’s important to note that audio is not supported in this format, although videos can be included to enhance the visual impact. 

Spotify offers resources and guidance to assist advertisers in crafting the perfect homepage ad, ensuring it aligns with platform guidelines while reflecting the advertiser’s vision. Additionally, third-party integration enables support for rich media, allowing for even more interactive and engaging advertising experiences. 

example of a Spotify homepage takeover ad for Fate of the Furious on a desktop

Source: Spotify

Leaderboard 

Leaderboard ads on Spotify are clickable ads that appear for 30 seconds, exclusively during a listening session when Spotify is in view. These ads are accessible via desktop player or web app, offering advertisers a direct channel to engage with users during their music or podcast streaming experience. With support for images or short animations lasting up to 15 seconds, advertisers have the flexibility to convey their message effectively within the specified timeframe. 

These ads are clickable, allowing users to interact with the ad content and be redirected to the advertiser’s desired destination. Leaderboard ads support rich media, enabling the incorporation of interactive elements to further enhance user engagement, whether implemented by Spotify or a third-party provider. 

example of a Spotify Leaderboard ad for Kia Sportage under a Discover Weekly playlist

Source: Spotify

Sponsored Playlist 

Distinguish your brand on Spotify with a tailored playlist sponsorship, featuring a clickable display ad and in-playlist media placements. With this feature, you can collaborate with Spotify to select the most relevant playlist for your target audience, leveraging the platform’s extensive user data and insights. For example, Kia recently sponsored Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist, a weekly favorite among millions of listeners worldwide. 

This ad type ensures visibility across both mobile and desktop platforms, reaching audiences wherever they engage with Spotify. Your brand’s logo or ad assets will be prominently featured within the playlist interface, guaranteeing consistent exposure in the playlist queue. 

While anyone can create a playlist for free, opting for the sponsored option provides a strategic shortcut to reaching a large audience without the need to organically build a playlist from scratch. 

example of a Spotify Sponsored Playlist ad on desktop and mobile device

Source: Spotify

Sponsored Session Video

Tailored for mobile listeners, Sponsored Session Video ads on Spotify offer an opportunity to engage users with a brief interruption that presents an offer: 30 minutes of ad-free listening in exchange for watching a video ad on their phone. Similar to typical audio ads, these video interruptions prompt users to opt into an uninterrupted listening experience by engaging with the full video ad. The video ad must adhere to a duration of 30 seconds or less and can include a URL directing users to the advertiser’s webpage for further interaction. 

While specific pricing details for Sponsored Session Video ads may vary based on factors such as targeting options and campaign duration, they are generally considered to be more expensive than audio ads due to their enhanced engagement potential and the value of providing ad-free listening time to users. Engagement rates with Sponsored Session Video ads can vary depending on factors such as the relevance of the ad content and the appeal of the offer presented. Engagement rates for Sponsored Session Video ads tend to be relatively high, with a significant portion of users opting to engage with the ad in exchange for ad-free listening time. 

example of a Spotify Sponsored Session video ad on mobile devices

Source: Spotify

Banner Display Ads

Featured at the top of a Spotify user’s homepage, Banner Display Ads provide immediate visibility upon opening the app. As users navigate within the app, the banner seamlessly transitions to the bottom of the screen, ensuring continued exposure while minimizing disruption to the user experience. 

This strategic placement enables advertisers to capture the attention of users as they engage with Spotify’s platform, maximizing the impact of their advertising campaigns. With Banner Display Ads, advertisers can effectively reach and engage their target audience, driving brand awareness and fostering meaningful interactions within the Spotify community.

Podcast

Spotify offers a unique opportunity for advertisers to reach specific and well-defined audiences through podcast advertising. Pre-recorded ads, typically short audio clips ranging from 15 to 60 seconds, are strategically inserted within episodes. Host-read ads offer a more personalized touch, as hosts deliver the message in their own voice and style, which can enhance trust and authenticity. Another option is branded podcasts, where sponsors have the opportunity to immerse listeners in their brand story by sponsoring entire episodes or series. When it comes to reaching the right audience, platforms like Spotify Ad Studio allow for targeting specific podcasts, demographics, interests, and behaviors. Dynamic Ad Insertion enables ads to be automatically placed in relevant podcasts based on specified criteria. Additionally, direct deals offer the chance to negotiate exclusive placements with high-impact podcasts or networks, further enhancing the reach and impact of the advertising campaign.

example of a Spotify Podcast ad on a mobile device

Source: Spotify

The Cost of Advertising on Spotify

When considering advertising on Spotify, pricing varies depending on several factors, including the chosen ad type, target audience, location, and campaign duration. The minimum investment required for a campaign is $250, with a daily rate of $15. Additionally, ad impressions typically cost between 1 to 3 cents per impression. 

Both audio and video ads utilize a basic auction system familiar to digital advertisers, offering bid caps and the flexibility to adjust bids during the campaign. Targeting options include Cost per Impression or maximum CPM bid, with higher costs expected for targeting popular audience segments. 

To better estimate ad costs, Spotify Ad Studio provides a cost estimator tool. There are three main methods to purchase Spotify ads… 

  • Self-serve through Ad Studio – Which allows advertisers to create and submit ads independently
  • Automated – Where agencies or DSPs manage media buys using dynamic bidding
  • Direct – Involving collaboration with the Spotify team to customize ad experiences or secure guaranteed inventory, although this option may not be suitable for all advertisers due to associated costs.

 

How You Can Advertise on Spotify

These days, almost anyone with any budget can advertise on Spotify. Here’s how to get started.

1. Set Up an Account

First things first, you’ll need to set up your Spotify Ad Studio account to get started. Within this platform, you’ll be able to:

  • Build out audio campaigns
  • Create audio ads using your script and a selection of background tracks and voice profiles
  • Gauge impressions based on your targeting and spend
  • Measure campaign performance within the dashboard

2. Add Basic Campaign Details

When you start creating an ad, the first question that Spotify Ad Studio will ask is if you are promoting something music-related, or representing a brand. Music-related ads are for artists or those in periphery of the music business, like sellers of concert tickets and merchandise. Non-music ads are for every other type of brand that advertises on Spotify.

Once you’ve made that selection, give your ad a name. Since this name will be for internal use only, choose a name that’s both descriptive and easily recognizable to streamline your internal discussions and analytics.

Next, select your ad category. Spotify simplifies this process by offering categories that span across various interests and behaviors. This categorization helps ensure your ad reaches listeners most likely to be interested in what you’re offering, whether it’s lifestyle, technology, entertainment, or any other sector relevant to your brand.

3. Define and Target Your Audience

Targeting is one of the most important steps when creating an ad. If you’re targeting the wrong people, your brand’s message is unlikely to resonate. Ad Studio allows you to target audiences based on:

  • Who they are (age & demographics)
  • Where they are (city and geography)
  • How they listen (devices & connectivity)
  • What they listen to (genre, playlists, podcasts)
  • Predicted interests (lookalike targeting)
  • Off-platform behaviors (custom audience match & 3rd party interest targeting)
  • Past interactions (brand exposure, sequential messaging, real-time retargeting)

As mentioned above, one of Spotify’s key targeting features is the ability to target by listener behavior – we highly encourage you to check out this feature. When targeting through Spotify, you can also use first party data like your own customer lists and demographic information to create custom audiences (country, location(s), age group, gender, platform, language). Keep in mind that these are seen as the building blocks to creating a custom audience. You can also target by interests and behaviors but this is optional. For example, target based on podcast or playlists they listen to, favored genres, or for certain contexts (like a workout playlist).

If your objectives change at all throughout your campaign – no worries – you can make changes to your target audience at any time.

4. Set Your Budget, Objectives, and Schedules

Now we’re ready to start building out the finer details of the campaign. Start by selecting your ad format—be it audio, horizontal video, or vertical video. Then, choose if you want to place these ads across music and podcasts or limit them to music only. As we previously covered, there are a variety of ad formats to explore within Spotify’s Ad Studio.

You also have the option to exclude your ads from appearing during podcasts labeled as “sensitive.” This is an important consideration if you’re concerned with brand safety, or just wouldn’t want to appear during an ad break for a gritty true crime episode. On the complete other side of the coin, you can choose to target your ads to appear during episodes focusing on specific topics that resonate with your target audience, such as business, fashion, or technology.

Next, you’ll be able to schedule your campaign and set a budget. Spotify gives marketers precise control over the start and end dates for the campaign, right down to the minute. 

Then it’s time to set your budgets. Spotify lets you approach this in two ways: Daily budgets and lifetime budgets. It’s worth noting that daily budgets are not strict caps but guidelines, as Spotify may adjust spending based on demand to maximize your ad’s impact. However, setting a bid cap is still crucial for controlling expenditure, preventing overbidding, and ensuring your campaign remains cost-effective.

While you’re building the ad, take note of Spotify’s deliverability gauge on the right side of the page. This helps you estimate how much you’ll need to budget to reach your intended audience and the likelihood of fully utilizing your budget each day. 

Finally, you’ll be able to set your objective – this is how Spotify determines appropriate placements for your ad. You can choose between three options:

  • Impressions – Spotify will show your ad more often. Unlike reach, this is based on how many times the ad is served, rather than how many people it reaches. Note that 
  • Reach – Spotify will show your ad to more people. For example, you could show your ad to 1,000 people one time using this objective.
  • Clicks – With this objective, you’ll only pay if someone clicks on your ad. Clicks are almost always the most expensive option, but it’s perfect for brands seeking to increase conversions.

Spotify also allows for setting frequency caps to manage how often your ad is served to individual users, ensuring your message remains fresh without overwhelming your audience. You can set frequency caps on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This is especially important for advertisers who want to use the Impressions objective.

The last item on this page allows you to set bid caps. Unlike your budget, this is a hard cap on how much you’ll spend to place a single ad. Strategically setting bid caps is crucial for controlling expenditure, preventing overbidding, and ensuring your campaign remains cost-effective. If you’re not sure what a good bid cap is, Spotify provides a recommendation to get you started – you can always run the campaign and fine-tune the bid cap later.

5. Create Your Ad and Upload Your Audio

At this point, it’s time to put the final touches on your campaign. Add a unique name to the ad – this is for internal purposes only, so choose something that will help your team stay organized. Then, enter your brand’s name complemented by a compelling tagline and indicate the language that your ad is in.

After that, you’ll upload your ad’s image, ensuring it meets the minimum resolution requirement. Under the image upload field, you’ll be able to include a direct click-through URL, which is where you’ll send listeners if they choose to engage with your ad. To help them engage, you’ll also be able to select a Call-to-Action from a dropdown list of options, such as “Listen Now.”

If your campaign leverages audio, you’re presented with two paths: upload a pre-existing audio file or use Spotify’s in house creative team to produce your ad, including background tunes and even script writing. Simply provide a creative brief, and their team will try to produce your ad to the best of their ability.

For those using video ad formats, uploading your content is as simple as drag-and-drop, with additional capabilities for viewability tracking via third-party vendors. This ensures your ad not only reaches but resonates with your target audience.

Once all those steps are done, you’re ready to launch!

6. Measure & Monitor Performance

Measuring and monitoring the performance of your ads is crucial for optimizing your advertising strategy and maximizing your return on investment. With Spotify’s Ad Studio, you can easily track and analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns. Ad Studio provides initial results within 24 hours of your ad going live, allowing you to quickly assess its performance. You’ll have access to a range of key metrics, including people reached, frequency, impressions, completion rate, CPM, CTR, and insights into how long people listen to the ad and the genres they’re tuning into. 

You can utilize third-party measurement tools for more advanced analysis and deeper insights into your campaign’s performance. By regularly monitoring these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into audience behavior and preferences, enabling you to refine your targeting, messaging, and creative assets for improved results. With Ad Studio’s real-time reporting capabilities, you’ll have the actionable data you need to make informed decisions and optimize your advertising efforts effectively.

Spotify Ads Best Practices

We’ve covered everything from Spotify’s overall advantages to various ad types, but how can you make sure you’re following general best practices when it comes to advertising on the platform? Let’s dive in.

Build Strong Messaging

In a recent study, Spotify has found that listeners are less concerned by the length of a creative, and more about the message itself. This means it’s critical to have strong messaging from the start. Be clear, concise, conversational during your ads so listeners grasp the point(s) you’re trying to make quickly. Don’t forget to communicate any additional benefits you are giving your audience like promo codes or sale offerings.

Include a Clear Call-to-action (CTA)

What action are you trying to get listeners to take? Ads on Spotify are on the shorter side so by including a strong CTA (ie: “Buy Now”), you’re allowing users to easily and quickly complete the intended action. Including a clear CTA within your ad is crucial – don’t forget it!

Test and Learn

No matter the campaign you’re running, it’s incredibly important to test and learn from the performance of your ads. You’ll want to take a deeper look into your ad metrics to ensure you’re meeting or exceeding your KPIs to see if tweaks need to be made. As we’ve previously covered, Spotify has a wide range of ad types for advertisers to utilize. If one ad type isn’t meeting your intended goals, be open to testing and trying out new methods.

Conclusion

Not looking to manage your Spotify Ads all by yourself? No problem. 

Creating, managing, and tracking ad performance takes time – we get it. So, if you’re looking to streamline your Spotify advertising process, Tinuiti can help. By working with our team of experts, you can take your Spotify ads to the next level by utilizing a more customized approach to further target your ideal customers. By working with a dedicated streaming audio agency, your Spotify advertising has the ability to stand out among the competition – elevating your brand to new heights in this emerging space.

“By working with Tinuiti, your brand’s Spotify ads are in the hands of specialists who are familiar with audio campaign set up, optimization, and success. Our programmatic team is in the platform daily, making real-time bidding adjustments to campaigns that boost performance while maintaining efficiency. This performance visibility allows us to understand how audio stacks up against your other tactics in a user’s path to conversion. Our programmatic experience and hands-on approach is what sets us apart.”

– Carly Fipps, Programmatic Senior Specialist at Tinuiti

If you’re interested in learning more about Spotify advertising, streaming audio, or how Tinuiti can help your business, contact us today.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Greg Swan in May 2018 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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