Instagram is copying Snapchat’s Memories feature and going a step further, letting you create a permanent home to show off formerly ephemeral content. Rolling out globally today on iOS and Android, Instagram Stories will now automatically Archive your Stories to a private part of your profile when they disappear 24 hours after being posted.
You’ll then be able to create Stories Highlights, which are named collections of your past Stories that show up in a new horizontal bar across the top of your profile. You could make Highlights of a specific vacation, all your selfies, or the cutest dogs you’ve seen, while brands will surely use it to highlight different product lines and ad campaigns.
“As more and more people adopt Stories, we realized that the profile has become less and less representative of you and your life” an Instagram spokesperson tells me. “And yet the profile is one of the top destinations on Instagram – it’s a powerful space for self-expression and feeling closer to others. But up until now there was no way to keep your favorite stories or add them to your profile – we wanted to fix that.”
There are three important value-adds to these features
Save Your Work – Archive and Highlights could make investing time in creating Stories feel less wasteful. It might have seemed silly going through the work of shooting Stories and jazzing them up with captions and stickers if they’d disappear the next day. This could make Stories appeal to older demographics whose friends might not be so addicted to Instagram that they open to watch Stories every single day. Highlights will surely be well utilized by brands who pour resources into shooting Stories, and now can create product or campaign specific collections.
Preserve Your Storage – Now you won’t have to worry about expending your phone’s storage space by downloading your old Stories. Instead, Instagram will save them in the cloud, where you can privately view, publicly share, or re-download them later. For younger users on older phones with limited space, that could be a life saver.
Expressing Your Identity – Instagram has never before let you share without that content being visible on the homescreen to your followers. That meant it could feel like you were spamming friends if you wanted to share niche content, deterring content creation. Stories Highlights will let you exhibit the different angles of yourself. You could create a Highlight of just your cat, your food, your favorite art, or your professional life.
TechCrunch broke the news of Instagram launching an Archive feature for your permanent feed posts in December which was designed to let people temporarily or permanently hide their past feed posts in order to deter people from impulsively deleting content they later want back.
Instagram Stories Archive and Highlights one-up Snapchat Memories, which only lets your repost old clips to your current Story. There’s still no permanent content on your Snapchat profile. Rather than forcing ephemerality, Instagram is making it optional to appeal to a wider audience. It’s a similar choice to YouTube with its new Stories product Reels, which also don’t expire after 24 hours.
Archive so you never lose your Stories
Archive will be activated automatically for everyone soon, and you’ll get a notification when it opens to you with the option to turn it off. Stories clips are saved in the same quality you uploaded them at. You can find the Archive on your Profile and switch between the Stories Archive and Posts Archive. Archived posts appear in reverse chronological order with date stamps for clarity. You can’t download your entire Archive at once, but instead will have to download individual clips. Archived posts can be reshared to Highlights, Direct Messages, the feed, or downloaded and then pushed to your current Story.
Users were often already downloading their Stories before they expired, but often might forget, causing them to lose their content. Now they don’t have to think about it.
Highlight your quirks or your products
To create a Highlight, tap New on the left side of your profile, choose Stories from your archive, choose a cover image for the Highlight, and name it. That Highlight will appear as a Stories-style bubble atop the profile and play like one big Story when tapped by one of your followers. They’ll remain visible unless you delete them, and you can remove clips but not reorder them.
You can add up to 100 photos or videos to a Story Highlight, and there’s no limit to how many Highlights you can create. Similarly, if you add more than 100 clips to your current Story, the first one will be removed and added to your Archive. And if you don’t want any trace of your old Stories available privately to you, you can opt out and turn off Stories Archive.
Together, these features could further encourage Instagram Stories’ 300 million users to post more about a wider variety of content, knowing it doesn’t have to disappear.