Instagram Stories: The new, very Snapchatty feature

As Snapchat continues to close the gap between them and the social bigshots, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that last week Instagram released (ripped off) one of Snapchat’s most popular features with their very subtly named Instagram Stories.

Funnily enough, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom doesn’t even try to hide this fact. In a recent interview with Tech Crunch he bravely admits,

“When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”


So what exactly is Instagram’s ‘spin on it’? and why are brands already liking it better than Snapchat?

Instagram stories is simple…a feature that allows users to share and build on content that is visible for 24 hours only.  Instagram has fast become a platform for perfectly polished photos that have lost that ‘in the moment’ feel, or what Systrom describes as “a curated feed, but you only get to see the highlights”.

Instagram stories aims to bring this real-time, experiential style with content sharing that might not be ‘good enough’ for your feed without worrying about tainting your main profile or bombarding your followers’ news feed.

Social storytelling has always been a big buzzword for brands, allowing them to appeal to the emotions of their audience with inspiring, engaging content that involves them in the narrative and provides response and interaction as well as organisational impact.

Brands have really got into the swing of Snapchat stories but Instagram’s new feature has already proven to be more successful with the simple fact it is larger (500million monthly active users) and many brands already have a sizeable, engaged and loyal following.

Last Tuesday, the first day the feature was available, Nike’s first Instagram stories venture generated 800,000 views in 24 hours. The best they’ve managed from a Snapchat story is just 66,000 views.

Staggering numbers

“Instagram is really brand friendly, so that’s a huge opportunity,” Nick Sheingold, associate director of strategy at Laundry Service told Adage. “Those numbers are staggering.”

Although the stories feature currently lacks a lot of the normal interaction functions that brands love, such as the ‘like’ and ‘comment’ icons as well as hashtags and search options, Instagram Stories seems like a winner amongst brands who want to share more imperfect, behind the scenes, timely content with their followers.

We’ve already seen a flood of stories from brands such as Innocent, ASOS and Benefit who have been taking advantage of the feature and trying out a few different techniques which make Instagram Stories so welcoming to brands:

Behind-the scenes content – Primark have shown ‘sneak peeks’ of their A/W collections.

Takeovers – particularly popular amongst brands using bloggers, vloggers or social influencers such as Missguided and Boohoo.

One on one – Directly communicating with specific followers or using Q&A formats to interact on a smaller scale.

Competitions/Treasure hunts – We’re predicting it’s only a matter of time before brands innovate stories with clues and questions to create unique competitions.

Live content – great for building up tutorials or workshops for brands such as Benefit and Joe Wickes (The Body Coach) who loves a quick ‘how to’ or Facebook live cooking session.

But the best (by far) we’ve seen this week has to be the #SEOBants from our very own Branded3 towers with a little game of ‘spot the checked shirt’!!



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