By Honey Comer
After debuting "Stories" earlier this summer in an attempt to encourage more frequent sharing on the platform, Instagram is now taking the first steps toward separating their feature from that of their direct competitor – Snapchat. Instagram has recently added Suggested Stories, a selection of curated suggestions at the top of the Explore page, in order to further differentiate their take on stories.
Capitalizing on their large user base, data, and proprietary algorithm, Instagram will be serving users recommended stories to help them discover more content. In a recently published report, the app revealed that roughly one-third of its Daily Active user base is visiting Explore every day. That’s 100 million people! This marks a significant departure from Snapchat’s functionality, where you are only able to discover new stories via your existing contacts or a known username.
Arguably, there are benefits on both sides for social media marketers. The reach and ease of discovery are undoubtedly strengths of Instagram, but it remains to be seen how their algorithm will rank branded stories. On the Snapchat side, brands need to do a bit more self-promotion to gain followers, but your active viewers are likely to be highly engaged and brand-loyal. This is also the right platform for you if your current target audience is Millennial or Gen-Z.
The other noteworthy piece of this puzzle is that recommend stories speak to a larger trend in the digital landscape as a whole. Users are increasingly expecting highly individualized experiences online, and particularly on social. Regardless of channel, brands should expand their content strategies to ensure they are speaking directly to the user in a highly relevant way.
Are you currently experimenting with Instagram Stories? Share your tips with the Likeable Media team in the comments below.