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If it wasn’t already clear just how important Instagram’s new Stories feature is to the photo-sharing app, Instagram will give Stories a bigger stage by recommending them to users via its Explore tab.
Beginning Monday, people scrolling through Explore will start to see suggested Stories alongside the video recommendations and photo collections that Explore already serves up. Instagram says that it will suggest stories based on people’s interests, offering up personalized recommendations of Stories from celebrities, online influencers or other people with public accounts.
“The goal is to help people discover these compelling Stories and content they might not otherwise encounter,” explains Blake Barnes, director of product management at Instagram.
Instagram introduced Stories, a feature that allows people to post a collection of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, in early August. The feature, a nearly exact replica of Snapchat’s Stories function, encourages frequent posting and is designed to strip away the concerns people might have about capturing the perfect shot before they will post it permanently to Instagram.
Instagram has yet to disclose how Stories has performed during the first few weeks post-launch, but brands especially seem to have taken to the feature. Now, the opportunity to be featured within the Explore tab creates an added incentive for celebrities and other users looking to grow a following on the app. Barnes says that Explore, which is designed as a discovery tool to help people see photos and videos from people they don’t already follow, has 100 million daily visitors. That means that one-third of Instagram’s 300 million daily active users visit the Explore tab each day, and Stories that are suggested there will have the potential to reach a large audience.
“That’s really the beauty of blending Stories and Explore,” notes Barnes, explaining that Instagram will make it easy to follow the people whose Stories appear in Explore. “It’s about giving people who want a larger audience an avenue to do so.”
Instagram will begin testing the new feature with users on Monday, experimenting with several different versions of how Stories will appear under the Explore tab.
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