- Facebook-owned Instagram has introduced an early version of geostickers in Stories posted from New York City and Jakarta, the platform said in a blog post.
- Geostickers build upon Instagram’s introduction of stickers in December.
- More than a dozen stickers are available for each city, enabling users in these locations to personalize their videos and photos with digital overlays that are theme inspired for the city itself or a specific neighborhood, or landmarks that are nearby.
While there is no indication of whether brands might be able to take advantage of geostickers for Instagram Stories, the news is noteworthy because location-based overlays such as geofilters — which can’t be moved around on an image — and the moveable geostickers have proven popular with users and marketers of visually driven app Snapchat. Instagram is betting it will see a similar positive response, something it has already experienced with the introduction of Stories, another feature copied from Snapchat, that reaches over 150 million users after being launched last August. In fact, the popularity of Instagram Stories could be one reason why Snapchat’s growth rate has been slowing of late.
Instagram also recently added ads to the mix, and it isn’t a far stretch to imagine the platform enabling brands including chain restaurants and retail stores to sponsor geostickers for users who are either nearby or already inside their businesses.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Snapchat, which was first to market with several unique engagement strategies, is vulnerable because of how easily these features can be copied by platforms that are already significantly larger, like Instagram. Facebook and its various subsidiary platforms including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger have all been borrowing heavily from Snapchat of late. For brands, it may make sense to proceed carefully and not make any major commitments until it becomes clear whether one platform will win out over the other, or if there is room for both.
For Snapchat, whose parent company Snap made its debut as a public company last week, the pressure is on to continue innovation if it is to retain a prominent place on consumers’ smartphone home screens. However, there are indications that consumers are not sure Snapchat is up to the task, with half saying they think it is a fad.
No matter which platform or platforms are in a leadership position going forward, the arrival of geostickers on Instagram is another signal to brands that mobile engagement requires its own approach, including leveraging smartphones’ unique native capabilities like location.