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The rise of Instagram Stories

What are social media stories?

Once only a feature used by Snapchat, stories are taking the social media world by storm. This feature allows users to upload personal videos or images that are automatically deleted after 24 hours. The short shelf life means that social media feeds are not clogged up with trivial clips.

Snapchat initially launched in 2013 and its success is founded on this feature, which is why Instagram’s recent adoption of stories is relatively controversial. The many similarities between Snapchat and Instagram’s stories have led some to argue that Instagram directly copied the idea (we, of course, are not implying this).

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 So, what’s the difference between Instagram and Snapchat?

The primary difference with Instagram Stories are the additional features. Perhaps, the most significant being the ability to live broadcast. These live broadcasts also have a short shelf life and only last for the duration of the broadcast.

Additional features of Instagram Stories include automatic progression between stories, the ability to click through to other’s profiles, and a bar that records your progress.

If there aren’t many differences, why has Instagram been so successful?

Of course, Instagram’s biggest advantage may just be that it already had a massive audience of over 600 million users. With so many existing users, Instagram Stories already had a waiting and willing audience to propel its growth.

How does the market currently stand?

In April 2017, Instagram announced that just eight months after launching Instagram Stories over 150 million people used the app daily. This is roughly 30 million more individuals than reported by Snapchat in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Instagram Stories is continuing to release new features such as a selfie sticker option to create personal emojis and geostickers. These new features are only expected to further propel the app’s growth.

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What about Facebook?

Not to be left behind, Facebook launched Facebook Stories in Spring 2017. Facebook Stories includes all the same features as Instagram Stories and Snapchat with a few additional tweaks.

Facebook Stories is integrated into the existing Facebook app and incorporates dozens of Snapchat-like filters and effects. With Facebook Direct, videos can also be sent directly to friends and users can reply to stories with a direct message.

While it’s still too early to determine the success of Facebook Stories, if Instagram’s success is any indication then Facebook Stories may also be in luck. With a current audience of 1.7 billion mobile app users per month, Facebook already has a larger existing audience than either Instagram or Snapchat which could set the groundwork for favourable growth.