Insights 15/08/2017 | READ 4 mins

In a time where more and more brands look to lead their marketing activities with visual content, a platform like Instagram Stories has never been more poignant. In recent years Instagram has transformed itself from an iOS-app only platform for trendy documentarians, into a social network with mass appeal and coverage across web and Android operations.

Instagram has built up the persona of ‘Snapchats older brother’; catering more for adults, and therefore, consumers and brands alike. Statistics show that 50% of Instagram account holders log in and check their accounts daily, which from a brand or business point of view leaves great potential to reach their audiences. Buffering this potential is Instagram Stories, a concept and model stolen from its younger brother, Snapchat.

What is it?

Instagram Stories is a feature that allows users to share not just one moment or experience but several at once! In a similar format to your archetypal slide-show reel, Instagram Stories allows users to upload a selection of either real-time snaps, planned static images or short video clips, which when combined and arranged, try to tell a story. And just like Snapchat, these stories can be further edited and accompanied by text, drawings or stickers. Also, paying the ultimate tribute to its originator, Instagram Stories also make their content accessible for ONLY 24hrs! It’s the scarcity and limitation of 24hrs which helps to create that element of intrigue.

Who is winning?

Although arriving late to the party, like a cool older cousin, Instagram pushed Snapchat down the pecking order with Snapchat Stories view counts dipping by around 20%. Six months on from its launch, Instagram Stories was recording 150 million daily users, a few numbers short of the active daily users for Snapchat’s entire app. However, the shift doesn’t necessarily render Snapchat redundant, as it still has decent engagement metrics. The average user spends 30 minutes on Snapchat per day and 60% of users create content (according to Business Insider). Compare this to Instagram, where users spend around 15 minutes per day on the app, with most of that time being browsing. So, in short, both Snapchat and Instagram have a lot to shout about!

anafirst_720 Socialgram created the first ever All Nippon Airways Instagram Stories, to showcase the ‘Japan Meets Barcelona & Ibiza campaign’.

What should you use?

They both have their place but you should always put more effort into utilising a platform that speaks to your chosen audience or prospectives. Snapchat is still predominantly poised for a younger demographic with around 60% of users being under 25. Snapchat’s casual format also accommodates businesses with strong identity and personality, as it widely opens the door for eccentricity, creativity and improvisation. On a whole, both Snapchat and Instagram are good places to start dipping your toe in creative waters; they seem to carry a less ‘business’ judgemental guise than platforms like Facebook, Twitter and of course, LinkedIn.

Instagram reaches out to a slightly older demographic to Snapchat. Although it still has a decent amount of 18 – 30yr olds using it, it has also found a home with 30 – 50yr olds, with around 35% of those with the internet and within this age bracket using Instagram. For services that manufacture and sell products, then Instagram is a great way to capture the entirety of a process – from production right through to the stylised, finished releases; often displayed through lifestyle shots or product standalones.

Instagram Stories is also more interactive than Snapchat Stories. Users can pause a video on Instagram, a feature that’s been taken advantage of for advertisers that want to enhance a specific message to their followers and prospectives – “Pause now to view in detail.” Another feather to the Instagram cap is its integration with Facebook, something that makes experimenting a whole lot easier since Facebook and Instagram exist within same realms.

Things to consider for Instagram Stories

• Running a special offer? Use the 24hr timeframe of Instagram Stories to create urgency. ‘Drop us a private message with this code to access our special offer’.

• Insight into a process or a ‘behind the scenes’ footage that can take users on a journey, from raw material through to completed design. This will engage people on a different level, it unveils never-seen before content and can help to add drama and experience to the grand finale (which is commonly the only stage shown).

• Montage of fans/followers using and enjoying your products. User generated content involves your people!! It strengthens brand loyalty and is a cost effective, time saving way of endorsing your own services. It’s better coming from them, than you!

• Informative step-by-step guides are a common sight on blog pages but with Instagram Stories you can provide these guides instantly. Although you may be missing out on clicks through to your website, your audience may favour this ‘on their lap’ approach.

Moving with the times and adapting to where you put your content, and how you present it, is extremely important for any business operating in the digital age. Instagram Stories offers you a professional and polished alternative to Snapchat stories. With an older audience, who more than likely hold the purse strings and make the decisions – it’s a wise move to get involved, if you haven’t already that is!