Introducing Instagram's new Story feature – what it means for marketers

By: Richard Michie

As I logged into Instagram this morning on my daily route, I noticed that the platform received a brand spanking new update. As if the huge success of Instagram wasn’t enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen, I realised that they added a new preview format for Stories.
For a moment I thought they decided to get rid of Stories altogether as the Story bubbles didn’t at first appear on the screen when I opened the app, but it must have been my tired eyes that deceived me. It was only then as I was scrolling down the feed I noticed that they added a new preview format within the feed itself, which I must admit, tempted me to click on the Stories content even more than the bubbles ever did!
Here’s what I saw:
Instagram's new story feature
As shown above, the new format now pops up in between your regular Instagram feed, with new box previews that showcase a small snippet of what each Story is about. So, what does this mean for the bubbles? Well, so far it looks like they’re here to stay (to the delight of Instagram lovers) but who knows for how long. After all, this new feature does attract you more to the Story content more so will users really miss them?
Apparently, this new preview format has been in secret testing for the last couple of weeks according to the Instagram bosses who finally confirmed it after much speculation. They did say however that they’re not planning to get rid of the bubbles anytime soon, hallelujah!

How can marketers use Instagram’s new story feature?

Instagram now has more than 250 million active users who in comparison to Snapchat, the platform they copied the Story idea from in the first place, only has 173 million active users (still more than the entire population of Russia).
So, with Instagram’s new Story feature being one of their biggest features to date, I suppose it’s obvious for Instagram to spend their time and effort on improving it, which in the end could be very beneficial for them.
The improved Story feature could also be an important factor for digital marketers in getting their clients’ message across. I mean think about it, Instagram Stories is a key feature of the network, so it would be a missed opportunity if Instagram didn’t think about incorporating a paid feature to help further promote them. Maybe they’ll even let us customise the new preview box itself to help encourage even more click throughs!
Instagram is constantly trying to find ways to improve their platform through enhancing the Story experience and recommending Stories to watch through your interests. With Facebook releasing their own Story feature earlier this year with very little success, I think it’s safe to say that Instagram will have no concerns if the new Story preview format either succeeds or fails.
Maybe it’s time as digital marketers we start to consider how we can implement Stories into our digital marketing strategies?

Final thoughts

Personally, I can’t wait to see what Instagram has in store for the future. I’ve even heard that they’re testing out a stop-motion camera addition for Stories! Again, it’s all rumours, but it’s great to see Instagram using their creativity to help promote their platform even further.

Do you have a visual brand which could benefit from Instagram marketing? Feel free to call us on 07834 197785 or fill in the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!

Interested in speaking to The Optimists?

Right from the beginning of our time working with The Marketing Optimist, they’ve taken the time and effort to get to understand Sharp Consultancy as a business and not just a client. We’ve seen a huge increase in the effectiveness of our social media strategy, particularly on Linkedin and we’re delighted with the impact it’s had on the business.

Jamie Caulfield

Regional Director, Sharp Consultancy

It was a pleasure to work with The Marketing Optimist on this project. It felt like a true collaborative effort on the day and they made the interviewee's feel at ease whilst talking about their journey on our RISE programme. The final video was professional and engaging, we have received great feedback around the quality and creativity of the case study. Including the video in our presentation made it come to life, with real humans sharing their stories, so thank you to the Marketing Optimist!

Hannah Prole

Impact Manager, Better Connect Limited

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