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It was only a matter of time before this happened, really.

Facebook’s most influential photo-sharing app Instagram has been called out many times before for copying Snapchat’s platform. Nine months ago it was when Instagram introduced disappearing Stories, a format that was created by Snapchat. Since then, IG Stories has gained 200 million daily active users. And despite the criticisms, IG Stories have clearly proven to be successful. But there was one thing that was missing, until today.  

Drumroll please. Instagram just introduced a new Snapchat-like Augmented Reality (AR) feature called ‘Face Filters’. Using this feature, users can apply real-time face tracking filters to add koala/bunny ears, butterfly crowns, big glasses, wrinkle-smooth makeup, etc. to photos and videos in their Instagram Stories. There are currently eight filters available on the app and the filters work with both the standard and front-facing camera. The filters also work in the Boomerang setting of Instagram Stories.

Instagram Face Filters

Instagram Face Filters: Source – http://blog.instagram.com/

Personally, the only reason I hadn’t deleted Snapchat since Instagram came out with Stories was because of the super fun filters it offered. Now it’s just a matter of time before Instagram adds more (and better) filters, and it’ll be bye bye Snapchat. It’ll be interesting to see how Snapchat responds to this big move by IG and if they’ll be able to make a strong enough comeback. I’m a little doubtful that they’re going to be able to save themselves, but only time will tell.

Instagram ALSO announced a new eraser tool and rewind “drop a microphone and watch it fly up into your hand”video feature.

Rewind & Eraser, Source: Instagram

Rewind & Eraser, Source: Instagram

Another new feature that came out today is the #HASHTAG sticker. Basically how it works is that within the IG story setting, if you click the Sticker button, and then the Hashtag Sticker, you can write in whatever hashtag you want. As with mentions, you can also add hashtags using regular text. “People watching your story will be able to tap the hashtag sticker or text to visit the hashtag page and explore related posts.” -Instagram.

Hashtag, Source: Instagram

Hashtag, Source: Instagram

And lastly, I want to take a moment to talk about another feature that didn’t come out today, but came out recently deserves some spotlight — the Location-Based Geo-Stickers. I mean, yeah, you’ve probably seen something like this before.. *cough Snapchat cough*… But it’s a great way for you to jazz up your IG stories a bit AND get noticed more organically by strangers who don’t follow you.. yet!

Basically, within IG Stories, if you go up to ‘stickers,’ you can click the location sticker, and then pick your location. Once you do that, people who search for that location can see a slideshow of Story content from other users who have tagged that location—even if they don’t follow them. It’s kind of like an “Explore” option for Stories, but they’re limited to a specific spot.

Geo-Location Sticker, Source: Instagram

Geo-Location Sticker, Source: Instagram

Interestingly, you don’t even need to be IN a specific location to tag it. So for example, if you you post a photo that you took in Rome but you’re currently in London, Ontario, you can still tag Rome! Why is this great? Well, if you’re trying to grow your audience, this is a very organic way of reaching new people who might be exploring that location on Insta. You can even mention your own page on the story (by writing @ and then your IG handle) to increase the chances that the audience who sees your story will make their way back to your page (and hopefully follow you).

It’s one of those things where, why wouldn’t you use this? From now on, I think every single story of mine is going to include some location and handle. You can even shrink these stickers down if you don’t want them to be a prominent thing on the story.

So in summary: Instagram is killin’ the ‘Story’ game, Snapchat is really going to suffer, and you have a bunch of new features that you can take advantage of to bring your Insta-game to the next level.

Do you think that this was an unfair move by Insta? Or do you think that it’s totally fair and that they’re just playing the game better than Snapchat? Do you like these new features? Are there any cool features that you’re hoping Insta will add? Leave your comments and suggestions below! We’d love to read them! Happy ‘grammin’!

 

Today, we’re introducing face filters, an easy way to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining. Whether you’re sitting on the couch at home or you’re out and about, you can use face filters to express yourself and have playful conversations with friends. Simply open the camera and tap the new face icon in the bottom right corner. Tap a filter to try it on and send it to your friends or add it to your story. They even work with Boomerang! Also today, we’re rolling out three new creative tools. Make videos that play in reverse with “Rewind,” add context to your story with a hashtag sticker and get creative with the eraser brush. Instagram has always been the place you can go to turn regular moments into something you can’t wait to share. Now, you have more fun and easy ways to express yourself and connect with the people you care about most. To learn more about today’s updates, check out help.instagram.com. These updates are available as part of Instagram version 10.21 for iOS in the Apple App Store and for Android in Google Play.

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