Instagram Stories: What Does the New Feature Mean for Brands?

According to Instagram, everyone has a story to tell.

So, it made complete sense that the social media platform announced they were rolling out a new update where users could capture moments of their life, in real time, and upload it onto their ‘ Instagram Stories’. But there’s more, Instagrammers can personalise these temporary visuals by overlaying icons, drawings and text.

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Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Snapchat, watch your back.

Since 2011, Snapchat has seen the number of active users per month surpass that of Twitter, so it’s no wonder Instagram responded to the platform’s popularity by implementing a similar feature.

With the introduction of the update, it’s only a matter of time before digital marketing teams and brands alike are exploiting the PR, marketing and advertising opportunities as we know that marketers are looking to invest more money into Instagram in the coming months.

Here are some reasons why brands should take to Instagram Stories:

Reaching a new audience

No two audiences are ever the same, and despite Snapchat’s popularity with a reported 150 million daily active users, Instagram is still more popular with 300 million daily users.

Millennials have fallen in love with both platforms as they use them with ease, but adults often complain that they have no idea how to use Snapchat. The majority (45%) of Snapchat’s active users are aged between 18-24 years, in comparison to the majority (45%) of Instagram’s audience who are aged between 25-44 years old, so it was a clever move for Instagram to engage this older audience in a new way.

Essentially, Instagram has taken a confusing interface and simplified it for an older audience by replacing the ‘swipes’ with labelled buttons and information on what you’re looking at and where to go next which will result in greater brand engagement.

This small change has made it easier for Gen X and Gen Y consumers (with more money that millennials!) on Instagram to engage with brands. Brands such as General Electric (GE) and Red Bull are already appealing to Gen X and Gen Y consumers with their Instagram Stories campaign – your average 15 year old won’t be watching content on the data-driven exploration into the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua.

Making the most of your Instagram followers…

Brands that already have a strong Instagram following can immediately engage their followers in a ‘snapchatty’ way, and they no longer have to direct time and resource into a totally different app, building their audience from scratch, as they would if using Snapchat. Instagram Stories allows brands to seamlessly upload visual content and capture their audience’s attention with minimal effort.

Innovation in the industry

We predict that Instagram Stories will lead to a new wave of advertising and marketing strategies in the coming months, and we’re looking forward to seeing a wealth of creative Instagram Stories as brands experiment and compete to win their audiences over.

We also can’t wait to see the Instagram Stories epic brand fails…

It’s still early days for brands when it comes to Instagram Stories, and we’re keen to see how Snapchat responds to the new update. It’s fair to say, Instagram Stories isn’t just for individuals wanting to share their everyday moments, an opportunity awaits for brands to engage with consumers and tell their own stories in an entertaining way.

If you have any questions about Instagram or other social media management, give us a shout on Twitter!

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