Instagram takes aim at Snapchat with disappearing 'Stories'

In an effort to retain users who may have drifted toward Snapchat, Instagram copied one of its rival's defining features: short-lived multimedia. But will the new 'Instagram Stories' be a strategic success or just another flop from Instagram's parent, Facebook?

If Snapchat is still just a little too confusing for you, Instagram might have a solution. The Facebook-owned company today revealed a new feature that resembles one of Snapchat's most popular attributes: "disappearing" photos and video.

"Instagram Stories" could help you find a happy medium between over-sharing and under-sharing. As the feature rolls out globally via Android and iOS during the coming weeks, Instagram's 500 million monthly active users will gain access to a daily feed of photos and video that resets after 24 hours. The photos and video added to the Instagram Stories feed will "disappear" after 24 hours and won't appear in the main Instagram feed or in the grids on users' profiles, according to the company.

Instagram Stories will appear in a bar along the top of the app, that highlights people with recent Stories. When you add multiple photos or videos to those Stories within 24 hours, Instagram will automatically fuse them together as a slideshow.

instagramstories Instagram

Instagram Stories

Facebook copies Snapchat (again)

Facebook has tried to copy Snapchat many times, with failed apps such as Poke and Slingshot. And it has regularly updated Instagram with new features and functionality. However, Instagram Stories marks the most radical change to the app in nearly three years.

"Instagram is aiming here not to displace Snapchat necessarily but to shift some usage from Snapchat to Instagram among people who use both apps," says Jan Dawson, chief analyst and founder of tech research firm Jackdaw. "It's about not giving people excuses to switch to a competing app for features that have been exclusive to those in the past."

Casual sharing has never been Instagram's forte, but Snapchat has also evolved significantly from its early days as a purely "ephemeral" messaging app, according to Dawson. While permanent sharing and temporary sharing have been largely kept to dedicated and separate apps, such as Instagram and Snapchat, there's nothing that precludes these companies and others from adding features popularized by competitors.

The copying and borrowing between Instagram and Snapchat has been particularly active this summer. Snapchat made a move on Instagram's turf less than a month ago, when it released "Memories" and gave users a tool to preserve and curate the content they share for future viewing. Today, just 27 days later, Instagram followed up with a snap of its own. "Users benefit from this copying, because it helps them avoid having to use a million different apps for different use cases," Dawson says. "The key is to keep developing new, unique features while also borrowing the best of what's worked in other apps, and to maintain an appropriate balance between these two."

Instagram Stories a significant change

Instagram has traditionally gravitated to a glossy aesthetic with high-quality photography and video. The company's Cofounder and CEO Kevin Systrom has repeatedly called out this aesthetic as a defining characteristic that differentiates it from other photo, video and messaging apps. "If you want to take a simple photo that you don't really want to remember and post it to have your friends not see it after, there are great networks for that," Systrom told Systrom told The Hollywood Reporter just last month.

Instagram Stories "will be a big deal for certain classes of users, and especially those in the sort of target age groups that tend to engage in the most ephemeral sharing, and who are the biggest users of Snapchat," Dawson says. However, it could also clutter the interface, and the company will have to tread carefully so it doesn't detract from the overall experience, he says.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Data has the power to build or burn brands

A brand can be severely wounded by use or misuse of any of its assets and you could say data has the greatest power of all to inflict damage.

Lucy Acheson

Head of data strategy and customer experience, LIDA

Totto and your inorganic future

At Cannes Lions this year we’ve been treated to many artificial intelligence (AI) insights. It’s one of the major discourses of our time.

Richard Brett

CEO, opr

Personas of one and the rise of ‘always there’ marketing

I’ve got some bad news. The ‘always on’ marketing approach that many companies have only just fully implemented is already out of date.

Nigel Roberts

Founding partner and strategy lead, Yell

E-mail automation is a wonderful thing, especially for digital marketing. It's interesting to see how these tools are becoming more and m...

Claudia Evans

How email marketing automation is helping this Aussie electrical wholesaler enter the digital age

Read more

Machine learning represents the future for digital marketing. I'm glad that there are strides being made in this direction and that even ...

Claudia Evans

Looker eyes benefits of machine learning to connect with customers

Read more

I read you post full. It's really good .

Yusuf

Salesforce ups the Marketing Cloud ante with Datorama acquisition

Read more

Promotion is difficult. You should be able to do it. Sometimes it turns out bad, and when you turn to professionals, it turns out well - ...

Jordan Samuil

Village Roadshow partners with Lion for pourage rights and promotional partnership

Read more

This is very good news for Australian SMEs as ActiveCampaign is an very powerful marketing automation / email marketing tool that costs a...

Lawrence

SMB marketing automation provider sets up Asia Pac HQ in Sydney

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in