Snapchat may be popular with the young, but Instagram continues to show it can be young and fun, too.
The photo-sharing network of 600 million users rolled out new sticker tools Thursday in response to the rapidly growing number of people using the Stories feature.
The Stories option was added to Instagram last August as a way for users to be more spontaneous in communications with close friends, much like Snapchat. On Thursday, Instagram said more than 200 million people now use Stories every day, up from 50 million since January.
Instagram gets a great deal of credit for the surging popularity of photography around the world. With smartphone cameras eliminating size and technical barriers to photography, millions of people quickly became obsessed with instant photo sharing when Instagram first appeared in the App Store in 2010.
But engagement began to drop as users grew self-conscious by the aesthetics of their feeds. Rather than post often, people began to meticulously curate images in search of a satisfying Like count. Meanwhile, Snapchat became a hit with kids and millennials because it featured more privacy and disappearing content that could be shared with only a few friends.
So Instagram’s developers began to tweak the app, adding tools for privacy and making it easier for users to respond visually with only a few friends.
Earlier this week, it added updates to Direct so people share both disappearing and permanent messages within the same feed.
“(With) recent updates to Direct, it’s never been easier to have playful, visual conversations with close friends,” read a statement on the Instagram blog. “Now with these new sticker tools, you have even more ways to turn your most casual, everyday moments into something fun to share.”
The new sticker features include:
Selfie stickers. While shooting a photo or video, tap a smiley face icon to create a mini selfie that can be placed on your content.
Sticker pinning for video. Selfie stickers, text, emoji or other stickers can now be pinned on videos. Pin as many as you like.
Custom geostickers. Instagram is adding for more cities to its geostickers, but these will be designed by local Instagram users in those place. You can tap on the geosticker to learn more about the artist.
The new sticker tools are available in in the Apple App Store with iOS 10.16 and for Android’s 10.16.1 in Google Play.