Instagram, I’m finding we are writing about a little frequently at the moment. First you go and change your logo, now you go and create a stories function that allows users to post videos and photos into a timeline that only lasts 24 hours.
Hmm… where have I seen this before?
The new feature lets you share all the moments of your day, meaning that users won’t clog up their Instagram feeds with hundreds of selfies and pictures that won’t liked unless they’re accompanied by a million hashtags. It’s an intriguing idea, and something that is a real time problem for multiple users. I mean, how many pictures on Instagram in one day is too many?
While I’m waiting for my app to update and try this out for myself, I am increasingly wondering why I would leave Snapchat and start using the Instagram equivalent.
With 500 million monthly active users, of which 300 million are people who use the app daily, Instagram is an example of how much we as a generation want people to see what we are up to, and more importantly, see what others are doing.
On Instagram many people will only put up the most perfect of images, whether its an overly filtered selfie, a beautiful sunset, or a meal that had gone cold before they had a chance to get the best angle. The new ‘Stories’ feature allows for those images that would never make it to the ‘gram under normal circumstances. But what does Instragram provide that Snapchat doesn’t?
Well, not much to be honest, but there are some cool features. The Instagram Stories will appear in little bubbles at the top of your feed, with their algorithm pulling through those that you are most likely to want to see. This beats scrolling down a long list on Snapchat, especially if you follow a lot of people or are a brand with a high following. The ability to scroll left and right between stories without a time limit does also mean that you can spend more than 10 seconds viewing an image, potentially giving Instagram Stories more dwell-time than Snapchat could ever hope for.
Other than this, it’s incredibly similar to Snapchat minus the dog face filter (probably something that will come in the future) Will such a similar set of features be enough to coax Snapchat users away to a single picture-sharing platform?
This update does, however, bring with it a way for brands to utilise their existing social media following. Brands who haven’t seen the necessity for Snapchat because of a lack of metrics, a dearth of business profiles and extortionate costs can create fun, uplifting and timely content without the need to spend hours curating content. This could also be seen as a platform that can bring personality back into brands, and a way to boost their existing brand stories and values with highly engaged audiences.
My final thought, and something to consider, is that Snapchat currently has a feature that lets you know when someone has screengrabbed your image. Instagram does not. I know the faces I pull in Snapchat Stories and the sheer rambling that can happen. Do I want everyone on Instagram to be able to see these, or should I just make my profile private?
For now, my opinion is out on the personal uses of Instagram Stories, but from an account management position, and with brands that have excellent instagram following, this will definitely be a way for them to engage further with their audience. Instagram Stories is another tool for bloggers and brands to become even more personable, and to use social media to converse with their target audiences in a way that more analogue and untimely platforms cannot.
For more information about Instagram Stories: https://help.instagram.com/1660923094227526