Instagram’s Location, Hashtag Stories are its spin on Snapchat’s search-driven Stories

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It’s a weekday, so Instagram is copying Snapchat again.

Roughly two months after Snapchat began showing algorithmically curated Stories in its search results, Instagram has started displaying algorithmically curated Stories on its Explore tab and in its search results, the Facebook-owned app announced on Tuesday.

Now people can type a location or hashtag into Instagram’s search bar, and the app will return a list of normal results topped by a Story composed of slides from various people’s Stories that feature a corresponding location sticker or hashtag. Instagram will also show Location Stories in the Stories feed atop its Explore tab based on where someone is when they’re using the app.

Instagram’s Location Stories will appear on Explore tab (left), and both Location and Hashtag Stories will appear atop search results.

Instagram’s Location and Hashtag Stories will not feature ads (at least for now), according to an Instagram spokesperson.

As similar as Instagram’s and Snapchat’s computer-curated Stories are, there are some differences.

First, Instagram’s can only be accessed by typing in a location name or hashtag, whereas Snapchat’s can be accessed by typing in almost any word other than a hashtag.

Second, for a post from someone’s Story to be included in Instagram’s version, the post must include a location tag or hashtag; on Snapchat, the post only needs to be submitted to Snapchat’s Our Story, and Snapchat’s technology will use image-recognition, as well as signals like location and text, to decide whether to include it in a computer-curated Story.

Third, on Instagram, people can only opt out of their post being added to a Location or Hashtag Story after it’s been posted; on Snapchat, the process is opt-in.

Fourth, on Instagram, people can find out if their post has been added to a Location or Hashtag Story by pulling up the post’s viewership information and seeing if a Location or Hashtag Story is listed at the top; on Snapchat, a person would have to encounter the actual Story to see if their post was included.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.


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