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Instagram is Testing a Full-Screen Stories Display as Stories Usage Continues to Rise

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Are you ready for the next stage of the Stories takeover in your Instagram app?

Back in May, we reported that Instagram was testing a new double-story Stories feed with some users. Now, Instagram has confirmed that it’s also testing this somewhat intimidating full-screen Stories display:

Instagram Stories full screen

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by AdWeek marketing manager Julian Gamboa, some users are now seeing a prompt below their double-story Stories display to ‘See all stories’. When tapped, the Stories display then expands to full screen (depending on how many Stories you’re eligible to view), creating a Connect 4-style display grid of tappable Stories.

Instagram has confirmed the test to TechCrunch, noting that it’s currently being tested with a small number of users. 

Instagram’s actually had this in testing for some time – back in April, reverse engineering analyst Jane Manchun Wong spotted the code for a full-screen Stories display in the app.

As Wong notes in her tweet, this full-screen display was a result of manipulating the existing code, and I honestly thought this was a joke, and that Instagram would never actually do this. Seems I was wrong, and Instagram is indeed so focused on Stories that it’s willing to create a full-screen, all-encompassing Stories display.

Really, the new test points to the likely future of Instagram, which will be one where the app opens to a full-screen Stories display, like TikTok does with its video clips, in order to align with increasing Stories use.

With more people using Stories, at some point, it seems likely that Instagram will look to switch the main focus of the app from the traditional post feed to a Stories feed, with the ‘classic’ Insta stream shifted another tab. That, of course, would be a significant change, but as parent company Facebook has repeatedly noted, Stories are on track to overtake the news feed as the primary surface for social media engagement, if they haven’t already.

It makes sense for Instagram to evolve in line with user behavior.

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It doesn’t, however, seem likely that this full-screen display of Stories bubbles is the best way to present Stories. If more people are using Stories more often, opening to the first Story seems like a better way to go. And with people already become more accustomed to this type of presentation through TikTok, which continues to see increased usage, it would be little surprise to see Instagram make this change at some stage in future.

The likelihood of that happening will at least somewhat depend on how users in this test respond to both the double-decker and full-screen Stories displays. If people in the test pool end up using Stories more, and coming back more often, you can bet that Instagram will look to push the concept further, and as it seeks to fend off competition from TikTok, replicating that app’s UI, and matching user preference, seems like a logical progression. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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YouTube Announces New Targeting Options for CTV Campaigns, Improved CTV Buying Tools

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YouTube TV Reaches 5 Million Subscribers

Connected TV has become a key video consumption trend, with YouTube reporting that CTV viewing – i.e. people watching YouTube content on their home TV sets – is now its fastest-growing content surface.

And with that comes new opportunity for advertisers, with the capacity to run TV-like ad campaigns for much lower cost, and with much more specific targeting, which could be hugely effective in building brand awareness and recognition.

And now, YouTube’s looking to provide more options on this front, with the addition of specific audience ‘guarantees’ for video campaigns, as well as improved processes for buying CTV inventory.

First off, on audience guarantees. Using Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) YouTube will now give advertisers the opportunity to maximize audience reach among specific target markets, based on vetted audience reach insights, in order to maximize your messaging.  

As explained by Google:

When setting up your guaranteed deal, you can now choose a specific age and gender demographic, like adults ages 18 to 49, and pay only for the ad impressions that reach your target audience as measured by Nielsen DAR. This feature works for all types of video campaigns – including for connected TV ads – and comes at no additional cost for advertisers.

The option essentially provides more control for your campaigns, in terms of exact audience reach. Nielsen’s DAR insights incorporate census-based data, advanced machine learning methodologies, and third-party datasets, to facilitate deduplicated insights to specific consumer segments, helping to ensure that you’re reaching exactly the right people with your ads.

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That could be a big help, especially for brands that are looking to measure the resonance of their campaigns with specific audience subsets.

YouTube’s also looking to simplify CTV media buying, by providing more ways to purchase CTV inventory.

“To help CTV buyers deliver more coordinated ad campaigns, YouTube ads can now be purchased within Display & Video 360’s insertion order dedicated to connected TV ad buying. This simplified workflow features parameters designed specifically for CTV campaigns to help minimize technical blockers that typically limit reach on CTV devices. Because it puts YouTube side-by-side with other top CTV inventory, it also makes it easier to optimize for common goals or control ad frequency across your entire CTV media mix.

That could make it easier to incorporate YouTube CTV inventory into your broader media mix, which is more aimed at larger-scale advertisers, but could also provide optimization opportunities for smaller brands too.

And again, with CTV viewing on the rise, it’s worth exploring your opportunities in this respect, and considering how TV-aligned messaging could help to improve your reach and resonance.

Indeed, according to eMarketer, CTV consumption is projected to steadily increase over the coming years.

Traditional TV is losing its appeal, as consumers get more accustomed to watching whatever they want, when they want it, while the shift to short-form video has also exacerbated the trend towards more compact video content, even on your home TV set.

And as younger generations get more accustomed to these new consumption trends, you can expect this to become a more embedded activity, which is why CTV trends should definitely be on your radar for media placement.

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Audience guarantees are now available for Programmatic Guaranteed ads running with publishers on Google Ad Manager in the US, with more regions coming soon.

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