Last month, Instagram launched a shiny new feature - Instagram Stories.

According to its blog, The Instagram Stories format will allow users to share all the moments in their day, and not just the ones they want to hold on to forever. Stories can be customised with text and drawing tools and shared with followers, before self-destructing after 24 hours.

If this sounds all too familiar, then it’s probably because it’s is essentially an exact carbon copy of that other image sharing app feature, Snapchat Stories.

The internet has been quick to recognise (and criticise) this, branding Instagram stories as a blatant rip-off of Snapchat.

Hardly surprising given their similarities:
● Both are called Stories
● Both delete story content after 24 hours
● Both allow clips of up to ten seconds
● Both offer text and drawing tools, and filters to customise Stories
● Both offer the option to save content to the camera roll
● Both allow replies to a story with a direct message
● Both reveal who has viewed a story

Instagram hasn’t been afraid to admit where it drew inspiration for the new feature either. In an interview with Techcrunch, Kevin Systom, CEO said:

“When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”

So Systom, what exactly is your “own spin”?

● Instagram makes it possible to rewind and replay stories
● Instagram lets you share sections of your story as a post
● Instagram offers more doodle options
● Instagram provides personalised recommendations of accounts you might like to follow
● Instagram doesn’t offer face-mapping or geofilters
● Instagram doesn’t reveal who has screenshotted a story

How can marketers use Stories?
Whether on Instagram or Snapchat, the Stories format is a way of communicating on an intimate level with followers. It is an opportunity to get creative and provide a behind-the-scenes snapshot into your brand.

So how can marketers get the most out of Stories?

Temporary content -
Since Stories disappear in 24 hours, there is a sense of urgency for consumption. Create micro-campaigns, competitions, and flash sales to get more eyeballs on your products and services. This method serves as a good experiment to see what content will work well for your regular, more permanent, profile posts.

Come out on top -
At a time when more and more social networks are adopting a pay-to-play structure, Stories is a game changing format - pushing your organic content to a top-of-feed (and top-of-mind) position for multiple users. Used responsibly to share high quality content, this can work to help encourage more conversions.

Customise content -
Stories provide endless possibilities to ‘dress up’ and freshen simple content that would otherwise appear bland. This is a great way to connect with younger audiences, especially if you already have the following but are not particularly active. You can see who is viewing and engaging with your Stories to help plan future posts.

The Stories Showdown

In terms of statistics, Instagram is winning the race with 300 million daily active users compared to Snapchat’s 150 million. Instagram is therefore giving marketers the potential to tap into a much larger audience base than Snapchat. For brands that already have a decent Instagram following, it could prove difficult to match this on Snapchat.

Instagram also boasts an easy, user-friendly interface, which Stories slots into nicely. Snapchat Stories, however, are somewhat hidden, and users need to do a few taps and swipes in a few different directions to navigate through the app.

These reasons, along with its flexible approach to advertising, put Instagram in a more favourable position for brands… and then it launched Stories.

Snapchat is certainly going to be impacted by this move, but as to what level remains to be seen.


By Lisa Haynes, Account Executive at Browser Media


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