Instagram has boldly taken a leaf out of Snapchat’s book by launching a new Stories feature which allows users to upload photo/video content with a 24-hour lifespan. Dubbed as “Snapchat for adults“, Instagramers can now share multiple moments in the form of a personalised story. Instagram has always prided itself on being a highly-curated platform dominated by design-led, stylised imagery. With this new feature, users can now continue to update their followers in a more reactive way without the worry of producing perfectly filtered content that has a shelf life. At the top of your news feed, you should now be able to see featured stories from the people you follow. A colourful ring appears around a user’s profile photo when they’ve posted a story. Simply, tap to view. You can replay these 10-second stories as many times as you like within the 24-hour window and can react to the content via direct message. Stories can be shared privately with a friend or publicly to your followers. It all sounds very familiar doesn’t it? When confronted about the feature being a blatant rip-off of Snapchat Stories, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom responded to Techcrunch “They deserve all the credit,” but insisted “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.” Facebook acquired Instagram back in 2012 for $1 billion, and attempted to buy Snapchat for $3 billion in 2013; an offer which was rejected by Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. It appears they’ve found a way around this bump in the road with Instagram Stories; combining two app features into one! Instagram has great appeal for marketers as it boasts a much broader reach than Snapchat with 300 million daily users and access to all demographics. The app has also been developed into a brand-friendly interface with the recent rollout of business profiles and the introduction of sponsored ad campaigns and analytics. Brands can now continue to nurture the mature audience that they’ve grown on the platform and engage with them in a more visually candid and memorable way. It will be interesting to see how this new format plays out and how brands will integrate ephemeral marketing into their social media strategy. Digital storytelling continues to evolve and there has been an evident shift in the demand for real-time content consumption and behind-the-scenes snapshots. Today’s audiences identify most with authentic brand communication and relatable, user-generated content. Instagram Stories now provides a golden opportunity for brands to leverage digital influencers to create a more personal and trustworthy feel to their content.
August 9, 2016