Instagram Stories: A New Key to Brand Marketing?

You’ve noticed it at the top of your Instagram feed. Instagram Stories—the app update that unapologetically mimics Snapchat Stories, minus some bells and whistles (and puppy dog filters). This Instagram update allows you to edit and share video or photo “moments” that disappear after 24 hours. Alright, nothing new to see here. Well, not exactly.

Despite cries of “copycat!” from app users, Instagram Stories is quickly become a brand favorite.

Why? Well, because…

Instagram Stories Reads Well For Businesses

Instagram Stories’ horizontal navigation row is the first thing users see when they access their accounts. This row tempts users to both watch existing stories and create their own. For businesses, this top spot is much more brand friendly than Snapchat’s Stories. Snapchat’s default screen is your camera. Its ads appear like billboards on a separate page, surrounding recent updates or stories. But here, brands must compete with news outlets and celebrity gossip columns for views.

Instagram Stories and Your Target Market

True, most of Instagram Stories’ features are identical to Snapchat’s, but it does have a few tricks to help you target your audience.

Unlike Snapchat, which organizes stories chronologically, Instagram Stories is organized based on profiles users already like (utilizing their recent algorithm change). The Instagram Stories algorithm provides businesses the opportunity to market to an already interested audience. Not only can you post a more permanent image to your feed, but you can also post a “behind the scenes” reel or series of images related to your Instagram post.

Instagram also allows users more control over who sees certain stories. While anyone can follow your Instagram Stories, you have the option to block certain followers from seeing one or more images/videos. Users can also restrict viewing ages, a feature not available on Snapchat. This is a great tool for brands who only want to engage followers over the age of 18 or 21.

Brand visibility is important to Instagram, so Stories also allows users to pause or flip back back to previous moments. This feature gives users the option to view your brand’s story multiple times.

No More App Hopping?

Instagram is banking on the convenience of its new feature, and the rollout was a smart move. Stories keeps users on Instagram by providing them with similar functionality to Snapchat and more advanced marketing capabilities. And while Snapchat may have the upper hand in the filters department, there is no telling what new design features Instagram Stories is working up.

If Snapchat doesn’t rise to the occasion soon, brands may ask themselves, “I’m already on Instagram, so why should I switch to Snapchat?”