Instagram is adding a new way for users to add Stories from the mobile web - though they’re not opening up native posting from desktop just yet.
As you can see, there’s now a camera icon at the top left of the mobile web home screen. Tap on it and you’ll be able to take a photo, or add one from your library – but you won’t be able to save it like a regular Instagram post. Instead, what you will be able to do is add it to your Story.
You also won’t have access to all of the regular Stories features, but users will be able to add basic text overlays to spice up their Stories images.
Instagram’s push here is to give more people in more regions access to Stories. Back in September, Instagram announced that Stories were being made available via the website, in order to cater to rising usage, particularly in less developed regions.
As reported by Bloomberg, the number of people accessing Instagram through the web is growing, which is particularly relevant in growth areas like India and South East Asia, where data usage can be restrictive. And with more than 80% of Instagram users located outside of the U.S., adding in more ways for users in these regions to connect and participate is a relatively simple and effective way for Instagram to expand its global footprint.
And by adding Stories to this, Instagram’s also working to further restrict the growth of Snapchat – thus far, Snap Inc. has focused on developed markets, with no ‘lite’ or scaled down version to appeal to less connected regions. If Instagram can get in with their popular, Snapchat-like tools before Snapchat does, that could give them first-mover advantage, which could make it very difficult for Snapchat to break into those markets, if they should one day seek to do so.
Instagram Stories has been one of Facebook’s biggest winners in recent times. Now up to 300 million daily active users, it makes sense for Instagram to provide more access to the option, enabling more users to take part and get accustomed to the Stories experience.
For those hoping to have full Instagram access via desktop, it’s not on the horizon just yet. Earlier this year, Instagram updated their website, which, for a time, also enabled users to upload Instagram content direct from their PCs via a developer workaround. But Instagram since appears to have closed that loophole, with the option no longer readily available.
In some ways, it would seem to make sense for Instagram to simply open up full functionality via the web, but the focus of the app has always been mobile, and clearly Instagram would like to keep it that way, at least for the time being.
As noted, those uploading desktop Stories will only be able to upload photos - not video - and they won’t have access to all the Stories tools, like location tags and stickers. Additionally, mobile web users will be able to save posts, adding another function to the web experience.
It’s not the full integration of Instagram on the web, but it adds more functionality, and as noted, will help expand the app in more regions.