Instagram looks to edge out competing platform Snapchat with its recent iteration to the Explore tab.
Almost a month after the release of its own Stories version, photo-sharing platform Instagram decided to give the ephemeral video and photo slideshow a boost and added Stories recommendation, which is now available atop the Explore tab. Once again taking a page out of Facebook's book, Instagram will employ an AI to curate the suggested stories.
According to Instagram, suggestions will be taken from that day's pool of trending Stories, accounts that are steadily providing popular Stories and Stories from accounts, which have already surfaced on the user's Explore grid. The user's interests, connections and influences are also big factors for the suggestions that will be displayed.
"The goal is to help people discover these compelling Stories and content they might not otherwise encounter," says Instagram director of product management Blake Barnes.
Some criticize the addition of suggested Stories since similar integrations were tried by other outfits and a lot of people expressed their distaste for it. A good example is Twitter's user suggestions. Nonetheless, many are still positive that it will work out for Instagram since its suggestions will be largely based on the user's interests, which personalizes the whole experience.
Instagram's Stories, which rolled out in early August, allows users to post videos and photo collections that disappear 24 hours after they get uploaded. Users can choose to add color filters, emojis, text and drawings to images before they get uploaded.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom admits that the Stories feature is inspired by same features found on Snapchat. However, the recent addition of Stories suggestion should help separate its brand, even by just a little, from the competitor.
"This isn't about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it," Systrom tells TechCrunch.
The company refrained from disclosing statistics for the first few weeks of Stories. Instagram did, however, reveal that the platform's built-in discovery tool, Explore, racks up 100 million visitors each day. The number equates to a third of Instagram's 300 million active users per day. Taking into account the figures, Stories lobbied through Explore have huge potential in reaching millions of people.
"That's really the beauty of blending Stories and Explore," comments Barnes. "It's about giving people who want a larger audience an avenue to do so."