Instagram Stories celebrates first birthday

New york, USA - June 23, 2017: Instagram application menu on smartphone screen close-up. Using Instagram app

12 months ago, Instagram launched Stories to compete with Snapchat and tap into the growing trend of short-lived content.

Users can share video, images, Boomerangs, live broadcasts and videos in reverse on their story which then disappear after 24 hours. You can personalise content by adding stickers, text and augmented reality characters including bunny ears, love hearts and puppy faces.

Personally, I wasn’t a fan of Stories when it first launched as I like to use Instagram as a digital diary of all the things I’ve seen and done. But, putting that thinking to one side for published content only, I started using Stories to share less meaningful and fun things that I was doing and now, I love it.

Instagram reports there are 250m daily users of Stories and that the average person spends 32 minutes on the channel per day. Comparing this to Snapchat that has 166m daily users, it seems Instagram is performing exceptionally well for its first birthday.

Key milestones in its first year
November 2016 – launch of live video broadcasts
December 2016 – scissor tool enabled to cut out a section of an image
April 2017 – the ability to add selfie stickers and pin them to your images and video
June 2017 – option to download your story
July 2017 – reply to Stories with images and video

What is the key to its success?
For me, it’s usability. Although Snapchat introduced the concept of Stories first, it’s user journey is so complicated that it alienates many social media users. Instagram is super easy to use, really visual and has the added benefit of a large existing fan base that have taken to Stories easily.

Being owned by Facebook, the targeting options available to brands and businesses are phenomenal and allow companies to target users with products, services and experiences for a relatively low cost. Figures show one in five business stories receive a DM from followers, showing a demand for more one-on-one conversations between consumers and brands.

What’s next?
Snapchat has proven branded Geofilters to be of huge interest to brands for events so it seems likely they will come to Instagram Stories soon. Similarly with lenses, brands have been using them frequently on Snapchat despite the high price cost so I’m sure they will start popping up to be used for product launches, film premiers (Star Wars in December perhaps) and services.

It would be great to see event and branded stickers on Stories that users can place on content e.g ‘House of Peroni’ or ‘Doctor Who’.

In all, it’s been a successful first year for Instagram Stories and we’re keen to see what happens next – happy birthday!