Instagram is all about sharing life’s big highlights and perfectly edited images. But today, the platform launched Instagram Stories—a new feature that allows users to piece together the not-so-perfect moments of their day into a slideshow. Drawing tools and text allow even more creativity in how a story is told. And after 24 hours, it all disappears, never to be seen on your profile again.

Sound familiar? That’s because it is.

From the name to how the interface works, Instagram Stories is almost identical to Snapchat Stories. And Instagram’s CEO actually admits what everyone’s thinking. In a Tech Crunch Interview, when asked to discuss how similar the format is to Snapchat, Kevin Systrom said, “They deserve all the credit.”

He goes on to say, “You can’t just recreate another product. But you can say ‘what’s really awesome about a format? And does it apply to our network?’”

Case in point: Facebook invented the “feed.” And now every social platform implements a feed. Instagram made filters a thing. Now everyone offers their spin on filters. So is this really any different? Instagram is taking what is proven to work for Snapchat and delivering it to their users, with their own twist. (Although from checking out what people are saying online, no one seems to think Instagram really has it’s own twist right now.)

Here are some key things to know about Instagram Stories:

  • Instagram Stories get prime placement in the app, right above a user’s feed which is a really smart move to help the feature gain traction.
  • Users voluntarily tap to view a Story, instead of it being pushed into a single feed.
  • You can see who has viewed your Story.
  • You can’t save your whole Story, but you can post slides from your Story to your regular Instagram feed.
  • Unlike usual posts, there are no likes or public comments on Stories. You can send a private message through Instagram Direct.

What this means:

Now brands (and people) can post a lot more on Instagram without appearing as though they’re spamming their follower’s feeds. And pictures don’t need to be so “picture perfect” since they just go away. You can post a bunch of shots from a concert, show-off what you ordered for dinner, and wrap it up with a cute picture of your dog sleeping. All in the same day. It also offers new ways for brands to tell their stories and raise awareness of a product, without the pressure of likes or negative public comments.

What’s next:

Instagram and Snapchat appeal to the same audience—teens and millennials who love to document their every moment and who love to sporadically post carefully curated imagery. So, if you can now do both on Instagram, how will it impact Snapchat? Will users want to keep these two types of photo sharing experiences separate, or go for the 2-in-1 on Instagram?

  • Will Instagram’s users get on board or just stick to photo sharing as they know it?
  • Will Snapchat users give up the platform they’re totally obsessed with to do the same thing (for the most part?) on Instagram?
  • What really are the key differentiators between the two?
  • How will brands use Instagram Stories, and will their approach differ from what they’re doing on Snapchat? Could they essentially create the same content for both platforms?
  • What kind of advertising opportunities specific to Stories will be available?

We’ll be keeping a close eye on how Instagram Stories evolves and what it means for brands. Stay tuned!

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