With the rise of social media influencer (SMI) marketing, and the need to calculate accurate dollar value of social media coverage, it is paramount that the social media monitoring industry agree on standards for post value. While value of posts across several platforms can oftentimes be straight forward, Instagram stories present more of a challenge. In this article, we will propose a set of standards for calculating dollar value of Instagram stories in hopes that this can serve as a starting point for a much-needed industry-wide discussion.
Calculating Dollar Value of Instagram Stories: The ChallengesInstagram stories are subjective, in which the social media influencer (SMI) is in complete control of the creation and content of the stories they post. As such, to accurately calculate the value of these stories and to avoid inflation of value through various social media techniques, we must have common standards and parameters set in place. The challenges when calculating the dollar value of Instagram stories include the following:
1. A viewer (or a researcher) is blind to story statistics. As of now, there is no way to assess the actual engagement of the posted story.
2. Instagram stories can be videos or images, should they have the same value?
3. Instagram stories may or may not tag the brand, should this be taken into consideration?
4. The coverage of a product can be done in one 15-second story, or in several stories back-to- back. Should these count as one post or several?
5. A story may include several products from several brands, how should the value be split?
6. A story may be added to the accounts archive, or it may be left to disappear. Should archiving it hold any added value?
There are countless scenarios that a story can take, therefore it is of great importance that the industry agrees on standards.
Calculating Dollar Value of Instagram Stories: Proposed Standards At VEER , we propose the following standards.
At VEER , we propose the following standards.
1. The value of each story should be linked to the number of followers, with a specialized weighting system that considers relevance, authenticity, and content quality of the promotion in addition to other factors. Rationale: The weighting system allows customization of value based on the tier of the influencer and their reputation.
2. Videos and images hold equal value. Rationale: Although videos may look like they require additional effort, this is not necessarily true. Giving videos higher value will push influencers to focus solely on video posts, which may deprive the industry and the client from high-quality imagery and coverage of their product.
3. Tagging and hashtags should not add or subtract value from the story.
Rationale: This standard was based on monitoring 20 accounts of top influencers in the UAE. The standard for influencers with high numbers of followers is that they tend not to tag.
4. Several back-to-back stories discussing the exact same product(s) should count as one post—not as several.
Rationale: Counting these stories as independent posts will largely inflate the value of coverage, and yet these stories are seen by the same audience at the same time. Vastly different from TV ads, in which value is directly proportional to length of coverage, the dollar value of Instagram stories or other social media posts should not be held to same standards.
5. The value of each story should be split equally between products mentioned in the story. Rationale: Sharing coverage directly impacts brand voice, especially if the second product comes from a different brand.
6. Archiving a story should not add to its dollar value. Rationale: The value of a story is related to the direct impact it leaves on viewers. Even if a story is archived today, there is no guarantee as to how long it will remain archived. It is virtually impossible to continuously monitor each account’s archive.
We at VEER hope that the aforementioned standards can serve as the starting point for serious industry-wide discussions. We hope to reach a consensus on the calculation of dollar value for Instagram stories, and we greatly look forward to these discussions.
By: Dr. Ali Mohamad, Co-Founder and CEO, VEER