- In August 2016, Instagram launched Instagram Stories, a feature that allows users to take photos, add effects and layers, and add them to their Instagram story. Images uploaded to a user's story expire after 24 hours.
- The media noted the feature's similarities to Snapchat. In November, Instagram added live video functionality to Instagram Stories, allowing users to broadcast themselves live, with the video disappearing immediately after ending.
- In January 2017, Instagram launched skippable ads, where the five-second photo and 15-second video ads appear in-between different stories. In April 2017, Instagram Stories incorporated augmented reality stickers, a "clone" of Snapchat's functionality.
- In May 2017, Instagram expanded the augmented reality sticker feature to support face filters, letting users add specific visual features onto their faces. Later in May, TechCrunch reported about tests of a Location Stories feature in Instagram Stories, where public Stories content at a certain location are compiled and displayed on a business, landmark or place's Instagram page.
- A few days later, Instagram announced "Story Search", in which users can search for geographic locations or hashtags and the app displays relevant public Stories content featuring the search term.
In June 2017, Instagram revised its live-video functionality to allow users to add their live broadcast to their story for availability in the next 24 hours, or discard the broadcast immediately. In July, Instagram started allowing users to respond to Stories content by sending photos and videos, complete with Instagram effects such as filters, stickers, and hashtags. Stories were made available for viewing on Instagram's mobile and desktop websites in late August 2017
Instagram Stories has been one of the most successful social media features so far. Why so? I believe it’s because the focus was always on innovation.
400 million daily active users. Over 25 million active brands and businesses. Instagram Stories is so successful, most have forgotten the story behind its launch, and how the Internet then accused Instagram of “stealing” ideas from Snapchat.
The secret behind this success is actually very simple: This evolution was not an accident. From day one, Instagram “focused on bringing new, innovative and interactive experiences to the Stories format.” And people loved it. From Boomerangs in November 2016 to Music Stickers this July, Instagram has always looked into bringing new and fun features to Stories.
Here is a retrospective on the evolution of Instagram Stories over the past two years:
- August 2016: Stories launch
- November 2016: Instagram integrates Boomerangs to Stories
- October 2017: Two new features change the way people use the format: superzoom and polls
- February 2018: Instagram introduces “Type Mode”
- May 2018: With Emoji sliders, users get an even funnier way to poll their friends
- June 2018: Users can now use Music in Stories
- July 2018: With “questions” users can now ask open questions to their followers and share the responses
- Soon: Shopping on Stories