Its been almost 3 years since the social media juggernaut launched its most successful feature till date. Its widespread usage and influence has made it one of the best marketing tools around and led many to believe that its addition to the app is probably the best decision Instagram ever made.
Instagram now has proven itself to be much more than a mere photo-sharing social media platform, as it was earlier perceived. It has now grown into one of the most sought after marketing platform. A large part of this success is due to the introduction of the Instagram stories feature. This feature can be described as something that enables you to share all the moments of your day for about 24 hours and then watch it fade away. Snapchat started this feature way before and Instagram was quick to follow. But, it was that latter than cultivated this feature into a global marketing success story. Now the first thing any Millennial whose using the app tends to do is check the Instagram status of those who they follow, such is its impact.
It was quite evident that Instagram had a glass ceiling to break. Those high-quality glamorous photos and videos that the app had become so popular for, were maybe turning out to be a tad bit too glamorous. The bar for what was “Instagram-worthy” was set so high that its users were starting to get intimidated. People don’t trek up mystical mountains, eat at fancy restaurants or take beautiful beach vacation photos every day. Which could only mean that people weren’t comfortable posting on Instagram every day, either?
The biggest problem people generally faced was the pressure of sharing really amazing photos worthy of posting. Instagram sensed that their users wanted to be able to share a lot more, but didn’t want it to hang on the gallery wall permanently. So they introduced stories which by default disappeared after 24 hours. They can be easily shot, recorded and prepped up on the Instagram app itself, this took a lot the pressure off users.
Instagram Stories has attracted more than 400 million daily users and changed the way people share and consume things online.
And it seems to have taken all the thunder away from Snapchat, which saw its user growth rate slowly decline soon after Instagram Stories launched.
There isn’t just one glaring reason why Instagram Stories worked. There are a lot of them. Short stories or snippets are supposed to be spontaneous, realistic and fun like mini daily video journal. Most Stories content is shot casually and quickly through the Instagram app’s camera. And because viewers control playback — it’s easy to advance through a story at the pace you desire or skip it entirely time-consuming video editing is not necessary.
Instagram also makes it possible to add things like text, captions, stickers and GIFs to photos and videos. And it later introduced new features for Stories, such as Instagram Live — and Instagram polls. These make Stories more sophisticated and interactive, but also keep them feeling fresh.
Stories also benefited immensely from Instagram’s built-in network of users. Unlike Snapchat, which always felt more intimate — private photo and video messaging is still its top use case — Instagram Stories took advantage of the fact that hundreds of millions of people had already created an enjoyable Instagram feed, following friends, family, local businesses, celebrities and influencers. So there was a built-in audience base present from day one, and an ample amount of Stories to watch.
It is to be noted that Instagram also chooses put Stories right at the top of its app, making it the first thing everyone saw when they opened Instagram. One thing missing from Instagram Stories was a re-posting feature, it was hard for something to go viral in Stories. But users quickly improvised, re-posting screenshots from others’ Stories on their own, often with annotations or comments.
Stories are now so popular and mainstream that Instagram has moved to professionalize the format. Instagram Influencers are notorious for the way they incorporate Instagram stories in their influencer campaigns. When consumers know that a certain message, video or image has an expiration date, those messages become all the more enticing and piques their curiosity.
Instagram Stories are uncovering the real world of those we love and choose to follow passionately. Finding the perfect filter, caption and angle for a photo isn’t enticing to consumers anymore – because there is always a better Instagram post out there. Instagram users are now embracing the imperfect. Stories are real-life snippets of a brands day to day, an instant snapshot into the real life of brands, events and more.
We at Olio Solutions are definitely pro Instagram stories as we are seeing higher interaction, more traction and more brand engagement from our followers. We don’t think even Instagram predicted the massive success of this new feature.