Let’s be honest: Snapchat is clunky.
Despite its popularity among younger audiences, Snapchat lacks reliable analytics, can be difficult for new users to navigate, and makes it surprisingly difficult for users to find and follow brands.
So when Instagram first launched Stories, marketers saw an opportunity to capture and share Snapchat-like content without having to spread efforts across an additional (and often frustrating) channel. With Instagram’s latest update, the image-sharing platform has doubled down on Stories, introducing new tricks and tools that will make even Snapchat loyalists raise an eyebrow.
There and Back Again
The first big change is the integration of Boomerang, which previously existed as a separate sister app to Instagram. With the latest update, it now exists directly within the Stories tab, allowing users to effortlessly include looping GIFs in their stories.
GIF and video-like content is exciting for immediate and obvious reasons, but the biggest implication here is that Instagram will continue developing and improving Stories. By diversifying the content types, Instagram is looking to make the feature more engaging and dynamic—a lot of effort for a gimmicky side feature, but a worthwhile investment if Instagram sees a value in the future of Stories.
Say My Name, Say My Name
Another exciting feature is the ability for users (and brands) to tag other users (and brands) in Story content. It works like this: First, you use the text tool to write out a user’s handle. Then, when the content is posted, users can tap the handle text to reveal a pop-up bubble that leads to the tagged user’s profile.
The ability to tag others will help strengthen the connection between influencers and brands, as each can now drive traffic to the other’s profile in a way that feels natural and unobtrusive. Here we begin to see Instagram extending the content experience beyond a single user’s profile—a big change for the app. And it doesn’t stop here.
The final aspect of the latest Instagram update is the most exciting—and yet it is also the most exclusive.
Verified users can now include actual links in their Instagram stories. One of marketers’ biggest pain points on Instagram is the inability to include links in the content without the inelegant “link in bio.”
While this feature may be limited now, it hints at a potential shift in Instagram’s link restrictions that may open up the channel to a more URL-friendly future. Again, we can expect influencers to use this tool to drive traffic in a big way.
Excitement over these new tools and features does not indicate that Snapchat is doomed to go the way of Vine, but the latest update does make the already enticing Instagram stories even more appealing to marketers.
Have you seen any brands trying these features out? Tweet at us to let us know who is making great use of Instagram’s latest update.