Instagram Adds Stories to Explore Tab, Making it Easier to Discover Stories Content
Facebook is certainly keen to push the social storytelling trend.
Two months after launching Instagram Stories, and following that up with Snapchat-style image editing tools for WhatsApp - and most recently it's 'Messenger Day' social storytelling tool for Messenger - Instagram has now announced that Stories content will be displayed on that platform's Explore screen to help users find more relevant Stories content.
As you can see, Stories are now displayed along the top of your Instagram Explore feed. The Stories content shown in this section will highlight "the most interesting stories from across Instagram's vast global community - and like the rest of Explore, the stories you'll see are personalized to your interests."
Most importantly, the Stories shown will be from users you don't already follow. That's a big deal because discovery on Snapchat is virtually impossible. By design, Snapchat is made to be more of an 'in the know' app, there are no search features, you have to come across relevant Snap profiles to follow - though that have been looking to make this easier by adding direct links to high-profile accounts in Live Stories and tools to suggest users your contacts should follow.
But still, discovery on Snapchat remains problematic on the platform - but on Instagram, which can also use its advanced algorithms as fuelled by Facebook data, you'll now be shown recommendations tailored to your interests, which could boost Stories consumption on the platform.
Stories has been a success for Instagram thus far. Despite criticisms of load time delays for Stories in comparison to Snapchat, which has lead to lower audience retention for some users, more than 100 million people now view Instagram Stories content every day. That's particularly significant when directly compared to Snapchat use (150 million DAU, 50 million+ creating Stories content daily), but as noted by Marketing Land, that also still means that the majority of Instagram's 300 million daily active users still aren't using Stories. As such, there's likely more potential in Stories yet - maybe, if Instagram can highlight more relevant and better quality Stories to each individual user, that'll prompt more people to check them out, boosting both engagement and use.
It's a logical addition for Stories, and a significant one, in giving them an edge over Snapchat in terms of discoverability and opportunity to highlight better Stories content. And if it works out, it may also give Instagram a new avenue for advertising, with the potential for brands to be able to pay to highlight their Stories content in the Explore feed.
And worth noting - more than 100 million people visit the Explore tab every day.
That's a lot of opportunity to get your Stories content in front of a wider audience.
Follow Andrew Hutchinson on Twitter