It’s been a few weeks now since Instagram launched ‘Stories’, a feature that allows its users to stitch together photos and videos that then appear at the top of their followers’ feeds. The platform’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, has made no secret that it took inspiration from Snapchat’s “My Story”, going as far as admitting that Snapchat “deserves all the credit”. Furthermore, since its launch, parent company Facebook has allegedly been courting celebrities and influencers to abandon other social platforms in favor of theirs. Here, we tell you everything you need to know about the new feature and how to get the most out of it for your brand.
How it works:
As mentioned, Instagram Stories allows users to put together videos and photos that disappear from newsfeeds after a period of 24 hours. Like Snapchat, followers can interact with a story by sending a private message; the like and comment features are yet to be rolled out. What’s more, you can now start creating a story by simply swiping to the right from your Instagram home screen to activate your camera. However, Snapchat still has far more filter options (for now).
The Stories of accounts you follow are posted at the top of your feed, encircled with the Instagram colors, with a Facebook-style algorithm determining their order. Therefore, Stories will be prioritized based on the accounts you are most likely to interact with or have interacted with previously, while Snapchat still pushes stories chronologically.
Frankly, we shouldn’t be comparing Instagram with Snapchat since they both have different audiences. Snapchat has captured a largely millennial user base who view the platform as a more creative way of expressing themselves and it would take a lot more than Stories to convert them. In fact, Snapchat hasn’t witnessed any drop in usage since the launch of Stories. Again, both platforms have a completely different positioning and adding the new feature hasn’t changed that. Since its inception, Snapchat has revolved around stories, while Instagram has always been (and continues to be) a source of visual inspiration.
With regards to brands and what significance the new feature holds for them specifically, it represents a new way to interact with followers. For example, American retailer J. Crew recently launched their September sunglasses collection on Stories and gave followers an exclusive pre-sale offer, thereby driving them to their e-commerce platform. Furthermore, unlike Snapchat, Instagram has existing paid media capabilities and it wouldn’t be completely unlike the company to eventually launch Promoted Stories, which would make it easier for brands to reach new audiences. Therefore, though it may seem that Instagram copied Snapchat, only time will tell which one emerges as the real winner from a commercial perspective.