Earlier this month, Instagram rolled out a stories feature that looks suspiciously like Snapchat Stories. Well, in a nutshell, Instagram Stories is basically the same as Snapchat stories, but with a few differences. Today, we’ll break down what Instagram Stories is, what separates the new feature from Snapchat and what this means for digital marketers going forward.

What is Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories operates just like Snapchat Stories and allows users to share content more frequently without flooding users’ feeds. By adding stills or short videos together in the “story,” brands can use this feature to create a narrative about their brand, an event, a product or a service.

But, wait, how exactly is Instagram getting away with essentially copying Snapchat Stories? Well, copyright laws don’t protect ideas, only the execution of those ideas. Instagram’s CEO and Cofounder Kevin Systrom even went as far as to state that Snapchat deserves all the credit and that social media is all about taking a format and putting your own unique spin on it.

Snapchat Stories vs. Instagram Stories

Fast Co. Design made the case that Instagram Stories is better designed than Snapchat, and we agree. Instagram simplified its stories platform and seamlessly integrated it into users feeds—meaning brands don’t have to convince users to follow them on a new platform to view new content. Snapchat also requires you to manually add users by name or phone number, whereas Instagram users simply have to share a link to their profile.

What differentiates Snapchat Stories is the ability to use geofilters and selfie lenses. These constantly updated features are a ton of fun to use, but they aren’t necessarily self-explanatory and probably require a Google search to learn how to use them.

What’s interesting about Instagram Stories is that it isn’t really conducive to the high-quality, perfectly “designed” images we’re accustomed to seeing. For the average everyday user, perfect photos aren’t feasible and can even deter them from using Instagram altogether. Systrom hopes Instagram Stories will change that. In an interview with The New York Times, Systrom said that the stories feature will remove the pressure people feel to post the absolute best images and bring Instagram’s mission to capture and share the world’s moments—not just the world’s most beautiful moments—back into the spotlight.

What does this mean for digital marketers?

Put simply, Instagram Stories is another avenue marketers have to reach their audiences. The best part is you don’t have to start from scratch and create a new account on a new platform—your audience is already defined! Here are a few ideas on how to implement Instagram Stories into your marketing:

  1. Behind-the-scenes/exclusive content: Professional and college football media teams use stories features to show behind-the-scenes clips from training camps and practices that are closed to the media and general public. Nothing gets football fans more excited than glimpses of their favorite team hard at work during the week.
  2. Partner with influencers: Beauty subscription service Birchbox regularly has members of their social media team “take over” the account for a day and give followers a look at their personal beauty routine, all while promoting products sold on Birchbox.com.
  3. Product unveilings: Socialite, TV personality and businesswoman Kylie Jenner does all her product reveals for her cosmetic line, Kylie Cosmetics, through her Snapchat account. Instagram Stories will allow brands to showcase new products and reach audiences that aren’t on Snapchat. And, again, users won’t have to seek out the content—it’s waiting for them in their Instagram feed.

Will Instagram or Snapchat Stories sit atop the proverbial podium? Only time will tell.