Two year ago, Instagram blatantly copied Snapchat’s core ‘Stories’ feature wherein users could add photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. This move was followed by a lot of criticism directed at Instagram for cloning Snapchat’s feature, and quite frankly it didn’t feel like copy-pasting a feature would do much good for Insta. However, cut to 2018, Instagram Stories alone now has 400 million users per month, as compared to Snapchat’s entire 191 million userbase.
While Instagram did borrow the Stories feature, in the last two years, it has successfully made it its own by introducing a myriad of stickers and additions to it. We have seen Instagram add tools like the Superzoom, the polling sticker, question sticker, emoji slider, GIF sticker, and music clips, IGTV among others.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told TechCrunch, “I think the mistake everyone made was to think that Stories was a photography product. If you look at all these interactivity features we’ve added, we’ve really made Stories something else. We’ve really innovated and made it our own.”
It’s interesting to note that while Instagram has existed for seven years, the time that the platform has really left an impression of its existence is since rolling out the Stories feature. Yes, the app’s redesign was a big attraction, but it was not Instagram’s claim to fame.
On the journey from adopting Stories to making it what it is today, Systrom told The Verge: “For the first year or so, it was just about us getting it working on Instagram — just the basics.” “After that year elapsed, it was, ‘What can we do with this format that’s unique?’ And only in the last six to nine months have we really stepped on the gas in terms of these unique features.”
Instagram has really played on creativity and sort of a do-it-yourself approach in Stories with features like the magic eraser for removing objects, background changer, scissors for cut-and-pasting things and its fill-in paint bucket.
And what makes it so attractive is that none of these tools require much skill. They’re not designed for “professionals”, they are meant for you and I and it has just hit the right chord with us social creatures.