The Facebook-owned social network launches Instagram Stories, a new feature that that lets retailers and other users post photos that disappear after 24 hours. The tool aims to encourage users to interact with the app more often.

Facebook Inc.-owned Instagram wants its more than 500 million monthly active users to interact with its platform more often. To drive that engagement, it’s taking a page straight from fast-growing rival Snapchat.

Instagram today introduced Instagram Stories, which lets users and brands post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. For instance, a retailer could use the tool to share ephemeral content, such as an exclusive event or sale. The feature is similar to Snapchat’s Live Stories, which let users post images that are visible for 24 hours.

Instagram Stories appear at the top of users’ feeds. Users see Instagram Stories in a row featuring the accounts they most actively interact with at the top of their feeds. When a user taps a circle, he can see the content other users he follows have posted over the past 24 hours. When a user shares content, he can select to block some users from seeing the images posted in a story, which is a feature not available in the main Instagram feed.

While ads will not initially appear within Instagram Stories, advertising and other “business opportunities” will be added in the future, an Instagram spokeswoman says. She declined to detail what those business opportunities involve.

The initial goal of the new feature is to drive users to share more content on the platform which, in turn, could drive users to interact with Instagram more often. “Instagram has always been a place to share the moments you want to remember,” writes Instagram in a blog post. “Now you can share your highlights and everything in between, too.”


Instagram is focused on making its platform “more engaging,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week during a conference call with analysts. Part of that effort was its move to an algorithm-based personalized feed for users rather than the reverse chronological order that it had previously used. Today’s move fits within that broader effort, the spokeswoman says.

 The social network will ultimately aimsto provide more advertising opportunities for marketers by driving users to interact with Instagram more often and share more content. That’s a large opportunity for Instagram given that its ad load—the number of ads it shows users—is lower than Facebook’s ad load, Facebook said last week.