Starz sees two times the video-completion rates in Facebook Stories than in News Feed

TV network Starz is seeing better results from Facebook Stories than News Feed.

Alison Hoffman, CMO of Starz, said the network has been seeing two times better video-completion rates within Facebook Stories than in the Facebook News Feed. Hoffman would not reveal the average video-completion rates of each channel.

Hoffman said Stories ads are also generating lower cost-per-subscriber rates than ads in News Feed. She said the Starz looked at people who downloaded the Starz app and became subscribers after viewing ads in Stories and then compared those results to what it was seeing from the same ads running in News Feed. Hoffman would not reveal how much the network was saving on each subscriber but said it was “more significant than a dollar or two.”

“It’s early days, but we’ve been comparing News Feed to Stories, just to get a sense of how they’re preforming,” said Hoffman. “People are sticking with it and paying attention, so there’s reason to spend a little more time and focus in Stories.”

Starz first began testing ads in Facebook Stories in September to tease the season-five finale of the network’s show “Power.” A 15-second ad showed scenes from the show’s season finale before calling on viewers to download the Starz app with the first seven days for free. The ad ran for two weeks with the goal to drive app downloads, Hoffman said. Starz also ran a similar ad in Stories as part of an early awareness campaign for the fourth season of the network’s show “Outlander.”

Besides the two ad campaigns, Starz has been testing Stories as a format for organic engagement without paid support on a weekly basis. One goal with Stories is to get existing fan bases of other shows to tune into new ones, Hoffman said. To promote a new documentary series Starz launched in June called “Wrong Man,” it pulled scenes from “Power” and “Outlander” and used the polling feature in Stories to ask questions about each show.

Hoffman would not say how much Starz has spent so far on ads in Stories but intends to continue to test the format. Still, one thing Stories lacks from the News Feed, Hoffman said, is scale. “Looking at the raw numbers, it’s promising, but how is it going to scale?”

Facebook is pushing ads in Facebook Stories as a placement option that complements Messenger, Instagram Stories and News Feed. Advertisers don’t have the option to only run ads in Stories; they have to be part of a larger campaign running across News Feed or Instagram Stories. Facebook also announced on Wednesday that it will be bringing Stories ads into Messenger and now 300 million people use both Facebook Stories and Messenger every day. Facebook previously announced Stories had 150 million users last May and Messenger had 70 million as of last September.

“When marketers use more of our placements, the performance is better overall,” said Maria Smith, director of product at Facebook, at a press event on Wednesday.

Companies like KFC, Kettle, iHeartRadio, Allstate, Chevrolet, Norwegian Airlines have also tested ads in Facebook Stories over the past couple of months. Like Starz, companies are seeing lower KPIs from the format. At the press event, Facebook shared stats from a KFC UK campaign that ran across Facebook and Instagram Stories and generated a 33 percent lower CPV and 19 percent lower CPMs because the ads ran across both channels, according to Facebook.

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