It is no secret that Instagram has been evolving to incorporate branding opportunities into its platform. Instagram's announcement earlier this week is the latest demonstration of this evolution. It is a perfect two-part gift for influencers and brands, just in time for the holiday season.
Now you can more fully express your identity by grouping stories you’ve shared into highlights and featuring them on your profile.
With Stories Highlights, Instagram users can pin selected photos and videos on their profiles. Instead of disappearing after 24 hours as before, highlights will stay at the top of profiles until the user chooses to take them down. Even better, users can create an unlimited number of highlights.
The other half of Instagram's announcement is Stories Archive:
Moving forward, your stories will automatically save to your archive when they expire. This makes it easy for you to revisit your favorite moments later on or bring them back to life in a highlight.
This means user Stories will be accessible even after they are removed from Highlights. It doesn't just store old highlights, it gives Instagram users the possibility to reuse material to create something new whenever they like.
Unlimited pinned Stories gives followers more chances to view branded Stories created by influencers, which will generate more interest in the advertised products and brands. These features provide building blocks for long-term collaboration opportunities between brands and Instagram creators.
By launching these features, Instagram gives influencers even more tools to aid creativity. We can attempt guess how creators will use these tools but it would be pointless. Time and again, creators have shown their imagination is endless as long as they have tools available to them. This announcement is a potential game-changer within influencer marketing, but it's just the latest in Instagram's push to appeal to both influencers and brands. Ultimately, that is the core of Instagram's success so far. It has designed an environment that nurtures influencer creativity and embraces branding opportunities for advertisers.
This also helps to separate Instagram's Stories feature from rival Snapchat, which originated the idea of stories that disappear after 24 hours. While originally Snapchat's concept, Facebook and Instagram were quick to catch up and successfully replicate the idea. As a result, Snapchat has struggled to keep users and brands on board.
Snapchat's parent company, Snap Inc, recently announced an app redesign. The redesign includes algorithm changes to reorganize content, emphasize user engagement, and separate Friends and Discover tabs. However, this announcement from Instagram puts in doubt whether Snapchat's recent changes will be effective at all. Snapchat is playing catch-up in a game it invented, and it is quickly losing ground. The question is will Snapchat survive 2018?