It looks like Instagram has a new item to add to their road map of products: Custom Stories.
Snapchat Custom Stories
Today, Snapchat rolled out a variation to their popular story product they call Custom Stories. Custom stories works similar to the Our Story feature that allows users to submit snaps to a specific story.
Unlike Our Story, Custom Stories are initiated by users. Now you can invite all your Snapchat followers to share snaps to a group story.
After a user initiates a new custom story they can select who can submit content to the story and who can watch the story. Snapchat says the feature is great for birthdays, weddings, and big events but I think there are more use cases for Custom Stories.
For example, news stations can now setup custom stories in a local geofenced area and invite news reporters as contributors. Those who are in the geofenced area during the 24-hour period would be able to watch the story. Similar to how news is currently broadcast over the television.
Colleges can setup custom stories for events on campus and allow specific contributors to add to the story. For example, teachers may be added as contributors and asked to tell a fact that no one knows about them in a snap. If you got ten teachers to share a fact, then you’d have an engaging story to tell without having to go to each classroom and film it.
Brands who work with influencers can enable them as users who are allowed to add to stories they create content. Takeovers may no longer be as necessary since influencers can snap from their profile and share straight to a custom story. Brands can now hire influencers to run their own shows featuring the brand, through the custom story.
For companies, Custom Stories is an opportunity.
Here is what Snapchat said about the feature:
Today we’re announcing a new way to create custom Stories – about anything, with any of your friends, even for a specific location! It’s perfect for a trip, a birthday party, or a new baby story just for the family.
You decide who can add to the Story and who can view it – you can also choose to Geofence the Story to a location.
It’s super easy to create a new Story. Simply tap the “Create Story” icon located in the top right corner of the Stories page.
Stories disappear if no one has contributed to them in the past 24 hours.
What Custom Stories Need
The missing link to this feature for brands is an editor position that would allow a user to be able to approve or deny content submitted to a custom story. If a news station enabled all their reporters to be able to share content to a story and the community, an editor would be useful to help tell the story in a way that can’t be done organically.
If Snapchat could create an algorithm to do this for brands, then perhaps there is some value in that.