How Instagram Stories Could Rival Snapchat

At the beginning of August, Instagram rolled out Instagram Stories, adding to the wave of video feeds sweeping social media.  If you’re an Instagram user, you may have noticed the circles now gracing the top of your feed.  These little 10 second videos offer the opportunity for your followers to see into the ‘every day’, instead of the polished images we’re all used to.

I’ve heard mixed reviews regarding Instagram Stories.  Some say they’re kitschy, with silly drawings on them akin to what Snapchat provides.  They’re uncurated and, at times, totally lack a point of interest.

Many business owners are embracing them, however.  They offer their followers an intimate look behind the scenes of the polished business presence.  Things like preparing a package to go out for a client doesn’t make for a sexy Instagram shot, but it does make a nice detailed shout out on Instagram Stories.

Regardless of how you feel about it, I see a major opportunity (and major miss) for Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories is extremely similar to Snapchat Stories.  They even use the same name.  The videos can only be ten seconds long, and they can be doctored just like Snapchat videos.  You can give your cat laser beam eyes, add clipart to an image, or simply annotate the video with a typed description.  And like Snapchat, the video disappears after 24 hours.

If you caught my Entrepreneur Q&A a few weeks ago on FacebookLive, you would have heard what I’m about to tell you below.  Instagram Stories could be so much stronger, if only…

What Instagram could do to pull ahead of Snapchat.

First, Instagram could record analytics for its videos in your feed just like it does for its images.  Yes, the video disappears from your follower’s feed after 24 hours, but that doesn’t necessitate it disappear for you, the creator.  With the advent of Instagram Business Profiles earlier this year, analytics for Instagram Stories just makes sense.  And that’s something I definitely miss with Snapchat.

Not sure what I mean?  Both platforms allow the user to click on their video and see how many views it has received.  Unfortunately, if one does not check their video right before it disappears, no final number is ever recorded.  Since most businesses are data driven, this is a major opportunity, and also a huge miss.

The second thing that could make Instagram Stories much bigger than Snapchat is the ability to share the video to other platforms.  The app already has the functionality.  That’s why many of our clients use it — they know that the snapshot they just took on their phone can be sent to their other major platforms (Facebook and Twitter most notably) when they post it to Instagram.  It makes things so easy.

Instagram Stories, however, is siloed.  The videos need to be downloaded to one’s phone and posted manually to other platforms.  Just.  Like.  Snapchat.

It’s unfortunate to see that Instagram (ie. Facebook — they own Instagram) developed a module that essentially copies Snapchat when they could have done so much more with it.  I hope that future updates will add these features, especially to business accounts.