Instagram announced in a blog post this afternoon that its Stories feature is rolling out live streaming video options. CEO Keven Systrom confirmed the platform was getting live video last week but did not detail how or when at the time.
- Live video on Instagram Stories disappears when a user is done streaming, “so you can feel more comfortable sharing anything, anytime,” per the blog post. Other users tuned into streams can like and comment on the video, and swipe around to find other streams on the fly. Streams can last up to an hour, and friends can receive notifications for when a user goes live.
The platform is also introducing disappearing video and photo sharing for its Direct messaging feature in a move emulative of Snapchat. Stories has often been accused of aping Snapchat since its launch in August but has since accrued well over 100 million daily active users.
Instagram Stories's recent plays in the ephemeral video messaging space have put a premium on social sharing capabilities, perhaps in an effort to get ahead of lead competitor and obvious inspiration Snapchat. Just two weeks ago, Instagram added three new features to Stories — Boomerang, user mentions and links — and the new live video options, which are available starting today, further beef up the platform's focus on community.
The ability to actively comment on and like Stories streams as they're happening — and to notify friends when streams are commencing — almost recalls live tweeting or the type of chats available on Facebook Live video. The new options ultimately display a level of interactivity not present on Snapchat, which does not currently have any live video integrations.
For brands active on the platform and using Stories, the new live options could be big for event-based and real-time marketing moments like product launches. Publishers can also benefit from in-the-moment coverage that viewers can participate in, and the ephemeral nature of the content ensures a measure of exclusivity.
Live video on Instagram Stories comes at a time when parent company Facebook is betting big on video to drive growth. In July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said video will be at the heart of all of the company's services in the future.
The Direct message upgrades are less noteworthy other than that they continue to crib from the Snapchat model. As Instagram's video options proliferate, Snapchat needs to consider what distinct value propositions it can offer going forward now that most of the competition offers similar — and, in Instagram's case, arguably more advanced — content.