This morning, Instagram announced four new features for stories: face filters (like Snapchat), clickable hashtags, reverse video, and an eraser tool. We did our reading and research so you don’t have to. Here’s the full breakdown of new features, the initial response, and what it really means for social strategy.
WHAT IS THE UPDATE?
- Face Filters: Instagram Stories now provide users with the augmented reality filters that Snapchat uses. From a butterfly crown to airbrushed makeup, IG Stories now offers the exact features as Snapchat.
- Clickable Hashtags: The biggest UX change, most authentic they announced this morning is the ability to add a clickable hashtag to your stories. When clicked, viewers will be taken to a page of posts related to that hashtag, just as they would with a static Instagram. This update will impact content curation within the platform.
- Reverse Video: You can now edit your Instagram Story videos to play in reverse, a longtime feature of Snapchat videos.
- Eraser Tool: A pen that can erase drawings on your story (similar, but not quite the same as Snapchat’s new magic eraser tool).
INITIAL USER RESPONSE
Several users who had access to these filters before they officially came out have mentioned that the filters are less responsive to movement and don’t stay in the correct place as well as Snapchat’s. Despite these technical differences, many speculate that this final Snapchat feature that has been added to Instagram may be the final way to halt Snapchat growth, moving all users over to Instagram.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
This update was just one more reason for Gen-Z to ditch the more ephemeral-first Snapchat in favor of Instagram. More often than not, users (and brands for that matter) have a larger following on Instagram, so really, the only thing keeping them on Snapchat was the ability to engage with crazy filters. With Instagram’s addition of filters this morning, it may be harder for users to find value in Snapchat and may be easier for brands to reach Gen-Z with AR filters in one swing.
While the initial update is focused on consumers, we all know that this means that sponsored filters are just around the corner. Not to mention, the inevitable ability to eventually search Stories by hashtag, or even watch a hashtag’s Story…and of course, sponsored hashtags. This gives brands the ability to try to launch activations around an owned hashtag when possible. At the same time, brands need to be aware of the content that surrounds a hashtag before using it, as they want to assure that user-generated content actually fits the message and is brand safe.
Brands, if you felt behind with the Snapchat rush a couple years back, it’s time to get ahead of your Instagram Story strategy now –– before sponsored filters are even a thing.
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