If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Snapchat should be touched by Instagram’s latest initiative. On Tuesday, Instagram introduced “Stories,” a new way to share updates that expire in 24 hours.
The disposable Instagram Stories appear in a special section on a follower’s feed as a slide show. Instagram says the ability to post these messages will alleviate the worry of overposting. “Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day—with as much creativity as you want,” according to the site.
Brands are already jumping on board to test out the Instagram Stories feature, including General Electric (GE), Arby’s and Red Bull. Ironically, GE is using Instagram Stories to promote a Snapchat video series featuring a data-driven exploration into Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua.
In celebration of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Arby’s set about making the book’s character, Golden Snitch, out of sandwich packaging.
Red Bull let followers decide which epic photos to add to their feed in its first Instagram Stories campaign, with the winner, Pro MTB racer Finn Iles, shown below:
While Stories may be exciting for the average Instagram user, the new feature was no doubt aimed primarily at would-be advertisers. The numbers show that over one in four digital marketers have a plan to invest more money in Instagram over the next twelve months, per Business Insider. Snapchat, as popular as it is with its millions of viewers, is still the less-preferred choice for advertising, the study shows.
In other words, brands are more likely to invest in Instagram’s “snappy” new feature, as opposed to the social platform that inspired it. The photo-sharing app exceeds 500 million users and shares access to Facebook’s pool of three million advertisers who have the option to extend Facebook ad campaigns to Instagram.
The Instagram Stories tool is still very much in its infancy, so brands will need to experiment with campaigns to find what works.