In late 2006, Facebook introduced the dominant format for social media content with the News Feed. Instead of bouncing between profiles, an algorithm would present the content that mattered most to users in a scrollable feed. This function became even more entrenched with the growth of smartphones and swiping/scrolling became integral to consumers.
Then In late 2013, Snapchat introduced a new content format for its photo and video snaps called Stories. Three years later, Instagram copied the new format and added in a few new features and twists. Today, Stories are the latest and most exciting medium for content on mobile, presenting a large opportunity for brands.
Snapchat or Instagram?
While the two platforms present a similar user experience with their Stories, there are still some important differences.
The main consideration? Instagram Stories are ultimately more brand-friendly for organic content. Brands can grow followers to reach an audience more easily as well as organically. Additionally, Instagram is friendlier toward content that is uploaded to a Story — Snapchat shrinks the display size and shows that the media was “uploaded from Camera Roll,” which can be seen as distracting and out of place.
Tools & Features Brands Should Use for Their Stories
Pixelgarde (App): Instagram currently has a limitation that media (uploaded from the Camera Roll to Story) must be created within 24 hours. This can pose an issue if your brand’s content is staged and photographed, rather than shot spontaneously on a phone. With the Pixelgarde app, the metadata for any photo or video in the Camera Roll can be edited, making the media instantly compatible. This guarantees that you can post your content exactly when you want to.
Links (Instagram): In mid-summer 2017, both Instagram and Snapchat introduced the ability for any account to link their Stories to outside webpages. This is huge for brands and can be key to driving your audience to watch more content, enter a sweepstakes, or make a purchase.
Mentions (Instagram): This is a feature Snapchat Stories completely lacks. By typing an Instagram’s handle on an Instagram Story, that account will be officially tagged. This is great for partnerships with other brands, or for featuring influencers.
And Then, There Are Paid Ads Within Stories
Both Instagram and Snapchat have their own self-serve ad platforms. These essentially allow you to run mid-roll ads in between Stories clips on either platform. Instagram ads can be done via Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor, while Snapchat has recently launched its own native platform.
No matter what your brand’s goals and budgets, the sheer popularity of Stories suggests that brands need to start developing a strategy around this new format. Now is the perfect time for brands to make a mark with innovative and fun Stories.