Following in the wake of a few additions to the Instagram app that largely fell in line with rival service Snapchat -- including 24-hour long posts and an "Events" channel -- recently the popular photo sharing app announced a feature lacking in Snapchat, which will suggest new Stories for users to follow (via TechCrunch).
The suggestions will be based on who you already follow and the topics you care about, and will be placed atop the Explore tab in the app. Since Stories are tied to each user's full Instagram account, you still have to follow each person's full feed in order to gain daily access to their shorter, 24-hour posts.
According to Instagram, 100 million users visit the Explore tab every day (out of 500 million monthly active users), making it one of the more popular parts of the app and a way for Instagram to continue bolstering Stories for anyone who may not use the feature. Snapchat's closest comparison comes in its branded "Discover" stories tab, which includes short news and entertainment updates from places like BuzzFeed, Mashable, and National Geographic.
Explore enhances Instagram’s biggest talking point here — that more people already have an interest graph and audience on Instagram than Snapchat.
Instagram refused to give specifics about how its version of Stories is growing, but Instagram’s Director of Product Management Blake Barnes did say “We’re really excited to see how quickly they’ve caught on, whether with everyday users or celebrities and brands.”
A few users are said to have already gotten the new update, but otherwise Instagram will be rolling out Stories into the Explore tab over the next few days. Although Instagram Stories are still new, Barnes said that the feature's ability to make users worry less about likes and comments is making it a big hit with the service's casual fanbase, concluding "it has the early signs of being a product people love."