When the topic of social media comes up, people usually ask themselves “How much of our lives do we really need to share with people we have never even met?” With websites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, there is a consistent stream of media and information being funneled into people’s everyday lives. Now, with Instagram Stories, users can see a direct video feed of whatever people choose to record and share. But, what is the importance of Instagram stories? Are they just a waste of a brand’s time and resources?
What is a "Story"?
Before Instagram caught on to the trend, Snapchat was the first to use ‘Stories’. Stories are a way for consumers and viewers to see what their favorite people are doing throughout the day. For example, say that someone is following the NBA on Snapchat. The league can record a short ten second video of a spectacular moment during the playoffs to push followers to go and watch other games on the schedule in order to boost viewership numbers. A user can then go to their profile and watch every clip they have uploaded and watch them like a movie, in order from the time of posting. This in turn gives the NBA a bigger stage to reach their online audience and get them excited for the upcoming NBA Finals matchups.
Since its debut in 2013, Snapchat has become one of the most used social media apps simply due to how user-friendly and interactive it is. Being able to send photos and videos to friends and family was something that people really enjoyed. But in 2016, Instagram combated Snapchat with its own ‘Story’ element. Instagram Stories launched as a carbon copy of Snap Stories, giving users of the Instagram app the ability to share clips of themselves on their profile. The only differentiating feature being Instagram Stories could be a few seconds longer than Snap Stories.
Why Instagram Added the Story Element
Instagram is most popularly used for its top of the line photo posting. The UI is extremely gorgeous to look at and very user-friendly. Instagram is the perfect place for people and businesses to share photos of themselves and the various things in their lives, which is the reason why the app gained a majority of its popularity. With Snapchat, stories can only hold photos and videos for a 24-hour period, leaving much to be desired compared to Instagram.
Instagram Stories is a neat and beautiful feature on the app, however, it does have its share of shortcomings. In the early months after the launch, users could get lost in stories or never even see most of them from the people and brands they follow simply because there were too many of them to filter through. End users would get lost in the constant stream of photos that were being posted to their stream. It made the app feel cluttered and surfing through the hundreds of stories, brands, and peoples, just to find the one to watch, could be daunting. Now, a user can simply go to the user’s or brand’s profile and watch it. Artists, musicians, entertainers, and normal users can now have all of their content together and have it styled to fit the vision and aesthetic of their profile, giving profiles a beautiful, refreshing makeover.
Both Snapchat and Instagram offer robust features that brands can take advantage of, but with the ever growing popularity of the Instagram app, now boasting 1 billion monthly users, it makes more sense for a brand to funnel resources into Instagram. Simply put, users are posting more on Instagram, mainly because of its ease of use and it fits their aesthetics more than Snapchat or other platforms. In this digital age, aesthetics and appearance of online profiles and personalities are very important.
Implementing Instagram Stories is a good move for brands in the big picture since it has been non-problematic compared to recent issues with Snapchat. Instagram’s app is beautiful, and considerations have been taken on how to make the story feature and the app more user-friendly. Instagram is doing all the right things and organizations are excited to see what Instagram comes up with next.