One giant step for Instagram Stories : What does this mean for brands and influencers?

Posted by on November 13, 2016

Just three months after Instagram launched its new ‘story’ feature on its app,  obscuring audiences path to Snapchat and holding onto viewers in one platform, in a metaphorical game of social-chess, Instagram just called checkmate.

As of Friday  11th of November, Instagram announced it is introducing links into their stories. In a move that sees them make their biggest update since their stories launched, it appears that they are responding to the millions of brands and users that use the platform to promote content, and ultimately, monetise from this.

The new feature will see links embedded in each individual story, if the ‘see more’ button appears at the bottom then users can click on the hyperlink and go to their desired blog, site or product page whilst staying in the in-app browser. However numbers count, and as it stands this is only available to verified users, meaning brands and power-house influencers can benefit from this, the remaining users can only use this but not apply to their account.

American Vogue were quick to move forward with the new feature, and on Friday morning used the new link feature on their story, sending users straight to to an article on their website. They won’t be alone for long though, brands are set to follow in droves and embrace this new update. They’d be right to, traffic and sales are increasingly being driven through social, Instagram at the forefront of aiding brands in monetising on their content.

Where every Instagram user will see the benefits of this update is in the mentions, where you can ‘@’ anyone into the video, whether they are in it or not. That user will receive a direct message to notify they have been mentioned.  Sounds pretty simple, as they show up in stories with an underline to show that they’re tappable, just tap once to preview the profile and tap a second time to go to said users profile.

Here’s the catch, mentions and profile links only work if the mentioned user is  profile links only work if the name is of a certain size, make that size too big or too small and it won’t work. Similarly, on the other side of the update, limiting the links to only verified users suggests the questions, will this widen the gap between ‘big and small’ brands and influencers?

As Instagram launched stories, Snapchat looked set to feel the fall back, as users became comfortable staying in-app once on Instagram, but the app members and user following Snapchat had captivated and captured on the app hardly dwindled. In an act of one-upmanship, Instagram has forgone what it stands for and pushed a huge focus on video content, instead of static imagery.

Big brands and powerful influencers from around the world can reap the benefits of this new feature, and avid followers plus modern millennials who all social-shop will embrace and no doubt enjoy what Instagram stories has to offer. Undoubtedly, the gab between ‘big’ and ‘small’ on both the brand and bloggers side will widen, which can only do more to amplify the ‘made it’ and the ‘making it’ effect.

It’s early doors, so we’re sure a lot is set to come and possibly change. Keep your eyes open and your finger on the button to see what exciting things are to come.

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