In the 6 years since its release Instagram has become the go-to platform for mobile photo-sharing and video-sharing. With 500 million monthly active users Instagram is the third largest social platform behind Facebook and YouTube. This rapid growth is set to continue, helped by the recent launch and evolution of Instagram Stories.
You may think you know Instagram from curating the ideal feed of influencers and friends to crafting the perfect profile grid, but Instagram is evolving and imitating some key features from its competitors. Over the next few minutes we’ll look at how Instagram is learning and taking inspiration from other platforms to create the best version of itself.
Facebook, the owner of Instagram, had been determined to build a product that captures and exceeds the experience of Snapchat. After unsuccessfully attempting to purchase Snapchat in 2013 Facebook has shifted strategy by integrating similar features into its flagship photo-story product, Instagram.
Launched in August this year, Instagram Stories is the platform’s biggest update since enabling video-sharing back in 2013. Bearing more than an uncanny resemblance to Snapchat Stories, this is a separate channel of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours and that don’t appear on your profile grid or feed.
While Snapchat offers deeper personalization opportunities through lenses and geolocation filters, Instagram has a larger reach. Nike’s most popular Snapchat video received 66,000 views but their first Instagram story generated 800,000 views – 12 times as much!
Since Instagram Stories’ launch, Instagram has been steadily pushing out frequent updates, such as Story Links. Links allow verified users to connect to content outside Instagram in a nonintrusive way. Viewers can choose to opt-in by ‘swiping up’ to open a web page within the app.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR BRANDS
There are already a range of high quality brands (from Vogue to the Seattle Seahawks) utilizing links in stories by offering viewers an opportunity to ‘see more’.
We see Story Links as a great opportunity for Film clients to easily activate a wider audience by linking to theatrical ticketing services (Fandango, etc), without requiring the less natural step of navigating via a link in the account bio. Story Links are also a good solution for talent who have in the past chosen to opt out of sharing AV content directly on their personal accounts.
Oscar Wilde said that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. In the social media arms race, with the major platforms competing for the precious digital minutes of Generation Z it seems that Instagram cannot put a foot wrong. For now, anyway.