What are Instagram Stories? And what do our experts think

Other / August 2016

James Moffat

James Moffat

As founder of Organic James leads a digital agency that brings innovative thinking, creativity and agility to a range of leading global brands.

Earlier this week we heard about the introduction of Instagram Stories, which now seems to have rolled out everywhere. The new feature lets you share all the “moments of your day”, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile forever.

As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story, seems a bit like SnapChat, right? So why introduce it.

The main reason Instagram is giving is to stop people ‘over-posting’. With Instagram Stories, you can share as much as you want throughout the day safe in the knowledge that the photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.

But is that the end? No, there’s more. Instagram is also offering a Snapchat-esque collection of text and drawing tools, to help you bring your story to life in new ways. Allowing you to be more creative and edit your photos in more ways.

Maybe the biggest change with the new technology is there’s no public interaction with the new stories feed. Followers can’t comment, like or share posts. Followers can however Direct Message the poster.

Other features for story posts allow you choose to feature a particular part of your story by posting it on your profile, great to highlight a certain area or image.

But what do our experts think?

Social_Standard_1“Since Facebook failed to acquire Snapchat it’s been desperately trying to come up with its Snapchat killer. It’s too early days to see if Stories will become the next Periscope to Meerkat, but my prediction would be this is going to be huge for brands and influencers. Instant storytelling has now been made easier, and the order of content on Stories means Instagram has found a solution to its doomed algorithm update, which stopped content from showing in chronological order. However, I can’t see Snapchat loyalists and users jumping ship anytime soon.”
– Marisa Thomas – Head of Social, Organic

darren_gallagher“For me Instagram Stories is a destroyer of dreams. If I want the truth, i.e. people waking up and without (real) filters, I’ll go to SnapChat, and I don’t often. If I want to peruse the beautiful, real or fake, I head over to Instagram. Never should the two worlds collide – it becomes too much like… life. I want my models photoshopped and my products perfectly positioned. Backstage is not the place for me. So yes, I think this will contribute in some way into killing off Snapchat or diminishing its popularity, but is it for the best? I don’t think so. Keep the two worlds apart.”
– Darren Gallagher – Marketing Manager, Organic

Social_Standard_3“Has Instagram just copied Snapchat? Absolutely! But to be fair, it’s only natural to adopt concepts that simply work. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. From a strategic point of view, it was a brilliant move. Insta/real moments are now available to everyone. This will probably stop the outflow of Millennials to Snapchat, although users will still use it for private moments (for now). It’s certainly a big news for brands as it was very difficult to build audiences on Snapchat and paid promotion proved to be very expensive – only affordable to the richest few. Now brands can build on their presence on Instagram. It is truth that at the moment, Instagram Stories can’t be shared or liked, but it will still be great for awareness campaigns and it will give brands an option to go for exclusivity (users can interact with the story by sending a direct message to the creator). Also remember, people will likely use screengrabs and share the best stories on their channels anyway – as it often happens with Snapchat. Another positive effect of this major update could be a rise in the quality of content in the feeds as the ‘unpolished’ shots can be shared through Stories now instead. At the same time, it will allow Instagram to become more ‘real’.”
– Andy Sitta – Social Consultant, Organic 

UPDATE – 10.08.2016:

Less than a week after the release of Instagram Stories, Facebook has unveiled its Live Selfie feature. This new addition to your news feed is fully integrated with MSQRD, the popular selfie lense app which was acquired by Facebook in March.

This move was expected by most observers, but it had been assumed that the MSQRD integration would happen on Instagram. By rolling out this feature onto Facebook first, the tech giant is making a serious statement about taking on Snapchat.

What does this mean for brands? Probably not much right now, as monetization of the new Facebook lense feature doesn’t seem like something that will happen this year. However, for our audiences, this could be a game changer that leads to users spending more time using the app, providing a much welcomed opportunity for engagement.

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