- Instagram has launched a new feature called “Stories” that is almost identical to Snapchat's own "Stories" feature.
- Instagram's Stories contain slideshows of images and video that disappear after 24 hours and don’t appear in users’ profiles or news feeds.
- “To view someone’s story, just tap on their profile photo," Instagram wrote in a blog post. "It’s easy to view stories at your own pace: tap to go back and forward or swipe to jump to another person’s story. If you want to comment on something you see, you can tap and send a private message to that person on Instagram Direct. Unlike regular posts, there are no likes or public comments.”
While Facebook boasts the largest user base of any social media network by far, Snapchat's fast-growing, younger user base and innovative platform represent a threat to Facebook's social media empire, which includes Instagram. But if you thought Snapchat was coming after Facebook and Instagram, you might want to think again.
Facebook and Instagram have flipped the script on Snapchat by essentially recreating its unique Stories feature, replete with the ability to add text and draw on images. The content is similarly ephemeral and followers can only engage with Instagram Stories through messages sent to users’ Instagram Direct mailboxes. It even has the same name.
If Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories do not appear to be significantly different, you might be wondering why Instagram would bother to launch a copycat feature. The easy answer is that Facebook hopes Instagram Stories can provide users a Snapchat-like experience within its walled garden. But according to some observers, there is at least one significant difference: Instagram's Stories are easier to use.
While Snapchat has always been notoriously difficult to use — especially for older generations confused by the lack of labels in its interface — Instagram is hoping to make it easy. "To reduce confusion Stories focuses on obvious, labeled buttons instead of swipes and offers information on where you are exactly in the app right now," Owen Williams writes on Next Web, explaining why Instagram's Stories has the potential to disrupt Snapchat. "There’s always context for what you’re looking at and where to go next, something that’s frequently lost in Snapchat."
Instagram has been making recent moves to become more business-friendly. The new Stories feature could help attract new users and help marketers younger demographics on a platform that's easier to navigate and manage than Snapchat.
Your move, Snapchat.