In the next few weeks, Instagram will be rolling out Stories on iOS and Android all over the world.
Instagram Stories will feel very similar to the functionality of Snapchat.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I’m 50/50 on it because I’m torn between using these platforms as a consumer but also for business. Let’s look at some potential outcomes from this change.
I literally talk about this every day. When creating social media strategies, it’s imperative to consider the affects that attention, human behavior, and social media changes have on your value proposition. What worked yesterday won’t always work next week and we only work with clients that value that. Case and point, Instagram Stories.
Social Media Changes
The big change for Instagram is in introducing a way for people to have a Snapchat experience within the Instagram application. Users can “share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format, thus creating your story. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.”
Was this a good change for Instagram? Historically, when we look at the performance and changes of other platforms, we can recognize that some changes have been great and others not so much. Twitter is a fantastic example. Twitter didn’t change. Like, ever. It’s virtually the same platform we all grew to love and then got bored with.
Facebook, on the other hand, put a large bet on building an algorithm that served you the best content. Facebook has grown with its user base while Twitter has grown away. So, some change is good, and some change isn’t. For the Snapchat diehard fan, this might entice them to try Instagram. For the Instagram users, it might let them dip their toe in the Snapchat pool without having to be a Snapchat user. For brands, it’s another story-telling opportunity, and if you’re the first to use this feature in a creative manner, you’re going to pull a lot of valuable attention.
The big questions is, how will this change affect human behavior and attention?
For users, Instagram is forcing a “this or that” battle with Snapchat. When the moment comes, will you choose to post on Snapchat first, or will you opt in for sharing the story on Instagram? Just the slightest change in the behavior of a platform can affect the attention span we have to interact with the platform. Like with the rise of Pokemon Go, many users gravitate towards the next captivating, attention-grabbing platform.
Does that mean trouble for Instagram or Snapchat? I definitely think it drives a wedge between the two platforms. Instead of users balancing the two evenly, since they’ve long since had very different functions, users might be more inclined to use one over the other. To me, that spells more trouble than anything else.
As attention changes from platform to platform, human behavior follows suit. How many platforms can you religiously keep up with before feeling overwhelmed? I think there’s 3. People can typically keep up with 3 different platforms on a regular basis but those 3 can rotate in and out with other platforms.
Users also interact with platforms differently over time. The way I used Twitter in the first few years is vastly different than how I use the platform now. I used to contribute more to the feed and to my followers. Now I engage less with my feed and I’m more reactive to what people are saying to me. I don’t contribute the same way anymore. I’m very curious to know how human behavior will change based on the new Instagram Stories feature. We don’t have access to the new feature yet so I can’t speculate past some general theories.
For marketers, if you can anticipate what the change in attention and human behavior will be, you’re going to win big.
For more information on Instagram Stories, here’s the latest statement from Instagram:
Today, we’re introducing Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.
With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.
You’ll see stories from people you follow in a bar at the top of your feed — from your best friends to your favorite popular accounts. When there’s something new to see, their profile photo will have a colorful ring around it.
To view someone’s story, just tap on their profile photo. 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.
Your story follows the privacy settings of your account. If you set your account to private, your story is visible only to your followers. However, you can also easily hide your entire story from anyone you don’t want to see it, even if they follow you. When watching your own story, swipe up to check out who’s seen each photo and video. You can even choose to feature a particular part of your story by posting it on your profile.
Instagram has always been a place to share the moments you want to remember. Now you can share your highlights and everything in between, too.
Want your brand to stay ahead and implement these updates in your digital strategy? Let’s chat.