The new feature places the service head-to-head with Snapchat
The folks behind Instagram are clever people. The photo-sharing service is only five years old but has already become one of the most popular applications in the world. As of June 2016, they have 500 million monthly active users. They're now owned by Facebook and have just added a new feature that places them directly against Snapchat.
Instagram says the new 'Stories' feature means users don't have to worry about over-posting. Instead, they can share as much as they want to throughout the day — bringing stories to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours.
While this does sound incredibly similar to what Snapchat already offers, I can't help but tip my cap to the folks of Instagram.
Snapchat has struggled to fully shake off the "teenager's sexting tool" reputation it received when it first came out. While those who use it on an on-going basis will know there's more to it than that, there's still a massive portion of society who do not know, or care, what exactly it is.
As of February 2016, 86% of their users are aged between 13 and 34. 60% of those are under the age of 24.
Moving away from numbers, as a user having extra functionality within one application makes perfect sense. It's possible to share Instagram images on Facebook and Twitter with ease. Those in the know would call that 'audience integration'. Snapchat is, in many ways, an island.
According to a report by Cisco, by 2019:
Video will account for 80 percent of global internet traffic
Nearly a million minutes of video will be shared every second
It would take an individual 5 million years to watch the all the video that will be shared each month
That is a lot of content to be created, consumed and shared. It makes a hell of a lot of sense for Instagram to embrace this feature now, rather than waiting until too much longer. 'Stories' is by no means the finished article. It will become more user friendly and more defined as time goes by. It's a pretty good starting point though.