Instagram is giving brands a new reason to invest in producing higher-quality Stories.
Called Stories Highlights, these collections of past Stories can be cobbled together from the Stories posts that Instagram will now automatically save to an account’s private in-app archive of posts it has published; accounts can disable this auto-archiving feature. Brands can select the individual Story posts to add to a Stories Highlight, name the collection and choose a thumbnail cover for it.
Stories Highlights will appear in a horizontal carousel near the top of accounts’ profile pages above the gallery of photos and videos shared to Instagram’s main feed, and there is no limit on how many Stories Highlights can be displayed on an account’s profile page.
Instagram will not insert ads within Stories Highlights, and brands will not be able to save an ad to a Story Highlight, according to an Instagram spokesperson.
For brands, Stories Highlights could help to convert more people into followers by teasing the types of Stories that a brand posts. According to Instagram, 200 million people view at least one brand’s profile page on any given day, but two-thirds of those people don’t follow the brand. Now the brand can use Stories Highlights to show them more of what they’re missing.
Stories Highlights may also give brands more justification to invest in higher-quality Stories. Brands should never be willing to waste people’s attention — especially when an algorithm governs how much attention a brand may be allotted — but the Stories format’s ephemeral nature may make it too easy for brands to dismiss their content’s value because it disappears after 24 hours. Now that brands can resurrect their Stories into Stories Highlights, they may be more encouraged to produce Stories worth showcasing.
For example, a retail brand could post weekly Stories that explore a different one of its brick-and-mortar stores — now that brands can collate those disparate, since-disappeared Stories into a Stories Highlight. Or a TV network that posts Stories related to its shows could group those Stories together into program-specific Stories Highlights. And marketers or media companies interested in producing episodic Stories but concerned that their ephemerality would mitigate the ROI could now extend their lifespan through Stories Highlights — and likely expand their viewership.