As social media moves towards people sharing real-time updates, guest lists grow to include masses of remote viewers and events become more global. And among the fierce competition for attention, Instagram has risen to the top of the pile.
Anyone with an active Instagram list will most likely agree: Stories are taking over.
At buzzy events filled with guests and sponsors peddling influence, phones coming out usually means one thing: snagging the next moment for Instagram. Once, that may have meant guests filling their timeline (if you were lucky) with shots of your event, but now that more likely than not is happening in the ephemeral world of Stories.
Stories, and real-time sharing more broadly, present an interesting step in technology leading the evolution of events. Suddenly, even at the most exclusive party, guest lists can number in the tens of thousands, as the followers of VIPs voraciously consume every fleeting moment of an event as it gets posted.
The activity is easy to see, but the question remains – Instagram Stories rose above the competition and changed how guests engage with events. Why?
Learning from what came first
Other apps have tried to pave the way, some more successfully than others, but ultimately fell by the wayside. Periscope, Meerkat, and even Snapchat tried to bring a future of livestreaming and real-time sharing, but each stumbled for their own reasons. Whether it was burying live updates and making it hard to share with followers, or the tools just weren’t easy to use, each misstep created a moment for Instagram to learn from.
The Google searches for Instagram stories versus Snapchat stories tell the story:
By the time Stories were added to the app, people were already generally familiar with the idea, but no app had captured the magic combo yet: live updates that were easy to create, easy to share, and easy to consume. Finding that formula unlocked the possibility for anyone, even at a dark and noisy party, to create social cachet from their surroundings.
People post where their audience is
If you want the most people you know to appreciate the surprise reveal that just happened on stage, where will you tell them? Where you think they’re most likely to see it first. And as Instagram has grown, it created a cycle of positive feedback that rewards immediate action – share more, get seen more. So people shared more.
Just take a look at how many people got on board with Stories in the first two years:
After the first year of Stories on Instagram, more people used it than used Snapchat at all.
Stories are candid, the timeline is composed
Adding Stories gave Instagram a way for people to have both in one app – the spontaneous moments from the afterparty that got a little blurry, and the carefully strategized selfie from the door. Better yet, they don’t fight for attention with one another, and VIPs and influencers took note of Stories as a powerful new tool.
Stories are the new way to create more interesting and engaging content.
In an interview with Adweek, influencer marketing expert Guy Avigdor noted the shift: “Today, many posts by influencers on your Instagram feed are very polished. There’s a lot of work behind them, and they don’t look as authentic as they used to. Stories are the new way to create more interesting and engaging content. Influencers began using it first, and they were the ones pushing for it, but when brands learned more, this became a mutual effort.”
The end result? A potent cocktail of a new technology that’s continuing to reshape special events.