Earlier this month, the Facebook-owned photo and video sharing platform Instagram rolled out a huge new feature. Called Instagram Stories, the feature allows users to share their images or videos as a ‘story’ with stories disappearing after 24 hours.
While the feature has clearly been envisioned as a way to steal users from its competitor, Snapchat, which has had its own story feature for quite some time, Instagram Stories aren’t entirely a copy and paste rip-off.
For example, Instagram Stories show up at the top of a user’s feed (Snapchat requires users to go to a dedicated story section), Instagram Stories are visible by anyone (Snapchat stories are only visible by those who follow that account) and Instagram only lets user include a photo or video that’s 24 hours old (any image or video saved to the Snapchat Memories feature can be added to a story).
For marketers and small businesses, the biggest reason to get involved with Instagram Stories is that Instagram has 300 million daily users in comparison to Snapchat’s 100 million daily users. While the Snapchat figure is nothing to be sniffed at, Instagram clearly leads the way when it comes to (potential) brand exposure.
Another benefit to Instagram Stories is that it can actually help get around a problem with another recent Instagram addition: algorithm changes. Instagram introduced a new timeline that orders a user’s timeline based on their interests rather than chronologically. meaning that some of your followers could miss out on your posts. With Stories, it means that you can gather up the most well-received content of the day, giving them a better chance at seeing it.
Unfortunately, with the feature being less than a month old, it’s unclear whether Instagram Stories has any real staying power. But with that said, the feature is at extremely popular right now (even if this doesn’t last) so now would be a good time for brands and businesses to get involved, using Instagram Stories to share behind the scenes looks of their work and how they do business.