Instagram introduced Instagram Stories yesterday, a feature which lets people share photos and videos that have a life span of no more than 24 hours with friends who follow them. The service bears a striking resemblance (in fact some might say it is a total copy) to Snapchat Stories, a photo- and video-sharing platform where the stories also disappear after no more than 24 hours.
As Instagram has evolved into the place to post highly stylised, curated photos of “perfect moments”, Snapchat took off with young people who just want to share the little details of their everyday lives in a more fun and off the cuff manner. Now, with Stories, Instagram hopes to “lower the bar for sharing all types of photos and video — and not just the carefully planned and painstakingly photographs that are typical of the service,” said Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram.
Instagram could prove to be a major hit for brands. There are a lot already well established on the platform, and Instagram of course, has the backing of Facebook. There are no heart icons for people to show that they like something on Snapchat, and it’s harder to follow accounts because users have to know exact names to find them. Instagram makes searching easier, and its lets brands buy ads that directly link to their accounts, where people can follow them.
So what does this mean for marketers?
Instagram’s launch of Stories highlights the importance of creating a new type of less-stylised brand content for these 24-hour social platforms. Snapchat, and now Instagram Stories both achieve what great marketers aspire to do – share brand videos and images which don’t feel like ads. When brands post content on Snapchat, the users choose to view it and it is interactive. They choose whether they want to see the content, and can doodle on it, share it, or insert it into their own stories.
Moving forward this means marketers are going to have to get much more creative with the content they produce and share. Brands will have to mimic the type of fun, unstaged, interactive photos and videos that the users themselves post on these platforms. Now, brands can show their more human side and offer an insight into the imperfect, behind-the-scenes footage and photos that complement their more styled, artistic shots.