On August 2nd, Instagram made a bold move and launched Instagram Stories—a new feature to the existing social media platform that would turn out be a beautiful innovation for brands.
How Instagram Stories Work Instagram Stories are a feature recently added to Instagram where users can upload a 10-second long photo or video that disappears after 24 hours. The “stories” appear in a bar at the top of your news feed. If an account you follow has posted new content on their story, there will be a rainbow ring around their profile photo. To view the story, tap on their profile picture and their story will take over the screen. Once viewing the story, you can tap the screen to move on the next picture or video that the user has posted or you can swipe left and it will move on to the next users story. Want to go back to a previous story? Swipe right. Pretty simple… and sounds a lot like Snapchat.
Why Instagram Stories Are Better for Brands vs Snapchat Some may say that Instagram Stories are a copy-cat idea from the already established Snapchat Story, but it is actually a brilliant move on Instagram’s part. They are bringing a new element liked on another app (Snapchat) to their already existing, highly successful app and unashamedly doing so. When questioned in multiple interviews, Kevin Systrom, the inventor of Instagram Stories, admitted that Snapchat deserves all of the credit. So why would we switch over to Instagram and use a ripped-off idea from Snapchat? What makes Instagram Stories better than Snapchat for branding? Well, Instagram is simply more brand-friendly and not to mention much bigger.
According to a study by Simply Measured, 86% of the world’s top 100 brands use Instagram for marketing. MediaKix also noted that Instagram has an estimated 300 million active, daily users while Snapchat has nearly half of that. Instagram also has around 100 million users in the United States while Snapchat only has about 26 million users in the United States. In fact, 52% of teenagers and 53% of people ages 18-34 use Instagram over Snapchat. Furthermore, Instagram reaches a broader demographic than Snapchat does because Instagram is a larger platform that has been around longer and is more user-friendly.
When searching for an account or post on Instagram, users have multiple ways to find the post: name, username, hashtag, or geographic location. On Snapchat, however, users must know the username or have a picture of the account’s Snapcode in order to find the account. It is very important to note that Instagram has a 92% brand adoption rate while Snapchat’s is at a meek 40%.
Many brands also already have a follower base on their Instagram so Instagram Stories are just adding a cool, new way to post more content in a timely manner throughout the day, while alleviating the worry that users have about overloading their follower’s timelines with content that just might not be important or interesting enough to post on their feed that appears on their page—like a day to day behind the scenes of how a newspaper company works. Maybe not something one would post eight different pictures or videos about on their page, but certainly something interesting enough for users to have on their story feed in case they have a particular curiosity for how a newspaper company works.
In conclusion, Instagram Stories are making their mark in the branding world. Marketers now have an effective way to combine the regular Instagram news feed where they already have ads and a brand user base with the real time photo and video features of Snapchat to make Instagram one mega-marketing app.