All posts in “Instagram Stories”

Instagram Stories launches cross-posting to Facebook Stories

Facebook Stories might not be a ghost town for long. After testing in Portugal last month, TechCrunch spotted the option to syndicate your Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories appearing to US users. Now Facebook confirms this feature is officially rolling out, and everyone should have it soon if not already. The only exception is businesses, since they’re not allowed on Facebook Stories yet.

Instagram is now rolling out the ability to share Stories to Facebook Stories. [Names and profile photos redacted for privacy]

“You now have the option to share your Instagram Stories to your Facebook Stories. We’re always working to make it easier to share any moment with the people who matter to you” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. Facebook also told us that while you can’t do the reverse, posting Facebook Stories to Instagram Stories, it hasn’t ruled that out building that in the future.

The feature should drastically cut down on the annoyance of manually syndicating your Stories, which takes both extra time and can lead to reduced image quality as posts are saved and re-uploaded elsewhere. Stories are supposed to be raw, and created in the moment, but all that cross-posting can steal your attention from what you were doing.

Facebook has effectivally pivoted to Stories, making it the main destination for posts from Facebook Camera and its augmented reality Camera Effects platform. Today’s launch shows Facebook is doubling-down on Stories rather than retreating even though it’s been off to a bit of a slow start since its global launch in July/

This Snapchat Stories clone has been criticized as redundant, considering Facebook already had Instagram Stories, Messenger Day, and WhatsApp Status. And a daily active user count has yet to be announced for Facebook Stories, despite Instagram touting 100 million just two months after launching in August 2016. Instagram Stories now has over 250 million, just like WhatsApp Status, while Messenger day has over 70 million.

Instagram doesn’t disclose the break down of its 250 million users in terms of people who post versus those who just watch, but the roll out of the syndication feature could bring a ton of new content to Facebook Stories, which recently added viewing desktop. Instagram is also bringing Stories viewing and posting to desktop.

When Facebook Stories first rolled out, many people saw tiny view counts despite Facebook’s massive popularity. But I’ve found audiences are warming up to Facebook Stories. This week I manually shared identical sets of Stories on Facebook where I have 2800 friends and Instagram where I have 5000 followers. Yet on Facebook I received over 820 views compared to just 220 on Instagram.

That indicates that people are willing to watch Stories on Facebook…there’s just not as much content there since it’s only open to users and public figures, and its camera is more glitchy and less familiar. Meanwhile Instagram Stories’ polished composer is widely used and open to brands. So essentially, if you’re looking for viewers, there’s a big opportunity on Facebook Stories right now.

Hopefully down the line Facebook’s whole family of apps will allow easy cross-posting, so no matter whether you compose on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger, you’ll be able to share to all the networks you want with a single upload. If Facebook got really smart, it’d even understand who had watched what where, so you wouldn’t see the Story you just viewed on Facebook show up unwatched at the front of the Instagram Stories section.

The increasing audience and interoperability of Facebook’s four Stories products should worry Snapchat, which saw daily user growth plummet from a stellar 17.2% per quarter before Instagram’s clone launched last year to a soggy 4.2% in Q2 2017. Snapchat still clings to its reverse chronological feed despite the relevancy sorting Facebook offers in its News Feed and Stories making it easier to keep up with your close friends.

Facebook isn’t backing down, no matter how much it gets criticized for cloning. The company’s head of design Luke Woods spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt SF last month, and when asked about whether he thought it was ethical to copy Snapchat, he told me “We’re putting people first. We’re focusing on the outcome, on helping them to achieve their goals, and secondarily on what form that takes.”

So even though Facebook may have to swallow its pride, if Stories are what users want, it’s going to give them to the world. And all the metrics indicate that Facebook’s users want these vertical video slideshows, no matter who invented them.

Instagram Stories mimics Polly with new polls

Polly blew up with teens last month by tacking multiple-choice polling onto Snapchat. Instagram is following suit with its own polling feature within Stories. Now just like adding a location sticker, you can add a two-answer poll on top of your Stories that friends can answer with a tap.

Instagram Stories lets you write your own question and defaults the answers to Yes and No, though you can edit those to be whatever you want. Friends will see results as soon as they answer, and you’ll find who voted for what in your Stories view count page.

Polls could make Instagram Stories more interactive instead of something you rapidly fast-forward through. Hopefully multiple-choice answers are coming beyond the existing binary choices.

Instagram is also becoming closer to a mobile Photoshop with its new color dropper feature that lets you sample a color from your image to draw or add text with a matching hue. Plus, Instagram now makes it easy to center and level stickers and text.

Instagram’s willingness to launch not only Snapchat’s features but those built by smaller startups shows how it’s putting the user experience above its own pride or perception amongst pundits. It’s unclear whether development of these polls started before Polly launched, but it doesn’t really matter now.

Instagram’s new native polling feature

Polly’s mobile web poll attachments for Snapchat

Polly had reached 20 million answerers and solid placement in the App Store by piggybacking polls atop Snapchat. At the time I wrote that it could get a boost if Instagram opened its linked attachment feature to normal users, not just verified profiles, but that “Snap and Instagram could always build their own polling features too.” Now Instagram has, and with arguably more style, and that should give pause to any startup building something in the social space.

Instagram is growing faster than ever, and that’s bad news for Snapchat

Image: mashable/lili sams

Instagram is closer than ever to a billion users.

The app now counts 800 million monthly active users, up from 700 million in April, the company announced Monday during a presentation at AdWeek in New York City. Of those, 500 million are users who return each day, Instagram said.

That stat stands in stark contrast to rival Snapchat, which had 173 million daily active users (DAUs) as of August. Snap hasn’t announced how many monthly users Snapchat has.

More impressive than Instagram’s sheer size, though, is how quickly it’s still growing. The company said its latest growth was the fastest it’s ever added 100 million new users. 

The new growth is likely driven by a few factors, including the popularity of Instagram Stories. That feature alone has more than 250 million daily active users — more than Snapchat’s entire user base. Instagram has also made new efforts to reach new users in developing markets.

While those markets represent some of Instagram’s biggest opportunities for growth, they’ve historically been challenging for the photo-sharing app. In the past year, though, the company has tested offline functionality and added mobile web sharing to appeal to users in developing markets.

Instagram’s recent growth isn’t just users; the company’s advertisers has also grown. The service now counts more than two million advertisers, double what it had a year ago.

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Facebook brings its Canvas ad format to Instagram Stories

Instagram is announcing several new features for advertisers today.

The biggest is probably the expansion of the Canvas ad format to Instagram Stories (which supposedly reach 250 million people daily). While businesses have been able to advertise in Instagram Stories since earlier this year, this introduces a new, full-screen, interactive ad format to that mix.

“With the ability to utilize Facebook’s fast-loading full screen Canvas format in Instagram Stories, marketers are able to use the creative versatility of Canvas to tell compelling brand and product stories,” Instagram writes in a blog post. “This seamless extension of the full screen experience allows advertisers to capture the attention of customers with just a single ad.”

Instagram also says businesses will now be able to upload the media they used for organic Instagram Stories and save them for use in future ad campaigns through the Power Editor and Ads Manager. Plus, the company wants advertisers to incorporate Instagram Stories into their campaigns across Facebook properties — it says Stories can now be added to Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network campaigns through placement optimization.

And here’s some Instagram Stories news that’s not focused on advertisers: The company says users will be able to share Stories as a direct message to their friends. (If you don’t want people sharing your Stories this way, you can turn off the feature.)

Instagram test feature lets users share Stories straight to Facebook

To boost the popularity of Stories, Facebook could turn to its photo-centric sister app. In a new feature test first spotted by the Next Web’s Matt Navarra and Twitter user @mruiandre, some users are seeing an option to share Instagram Stories directly to the main Facebook app. Instagram has since confirmed that the feature is indeed in testing.

Facebook added its own version of Stories earlier this year, but the feature hasn’t taken off with the same gusto as its Instagram counterpart. The company could solve that problem by mixing Instagram content into Facebook itself, as users seem perfectly happy posting on-the-fly photo and video updates to the photo-sharing app.

The move would be an interesting intermixing of content between the two apps, which have remained mostly separate (much to the relief of Instagram loyalists) since Facebook first bought Instagram back in 2012. Instagram users have been able to share individual photo and video posts to their Facebook News Feeds for a long time now, though no content travels the other direction.

Instagram Stories already has aggressive placement in its own app, appearing on a separate bar above normal Instagram posts. The company added the Snapchat copycat feature back in August 2016 and the feature’s popularity is likely largely the cause of Snapchat’s slowed growth in 2017. Since that whole Instagram Stories thing appears to be going so well, porting it over into Facebook proper isn’t a bad idea — it’s just another benefit of having a whole suite of apps that you can pick and choose from in order to fine-tune the main money-maker.