Ages ago in the digital era, the live video feature was making its entrance as an option for Instagram Stories. The rave about this rollout challenged professional Instagramers to let their imagination go wild. And made everyone else at least curious.

Now, you might be wondering: how can this historical evolution of Instagram Stories help me and my business? Glad you asked, fellow Instagramer! Gaining a bit of insight into the evolution of the live video feature and how it behaves on Instagram Stories can help you discover useful techniques for your marketing strategy. So, grab a pen or prepare your keyboard, you’ll definitely want to take some notes.  

The “D” day or How was live video introduced

Let’s snap back to the reality of 2016 when Instagram Stories was newly launched. It wasn’t long before it got adopted by over 100 million people. However, it still lacked that extra something to make it more appealing, exciting and, ultimately, more authentic.

It’s no wonder that in November, Instagram Live was introduced as an option. And oh, what a great moment it was! It provided the best way to interact with friends, family, and followers right then, in the moment. Back then, live videos created a feeling of urgency. Why? Because immediately after broadcast they disappeared, never to be seen again. Okay, we’re being a bit dramatic, but you get the point.

Live Video for Instagram Stories

For brands and influencers, this was the perfect opportunity to design limited promotions, make important announcements, offer impromptu workshops and create genuine connections with their followers. Live stories opened a new type of channel, where brands could (and still can) act more like people, show their authenticity, and gain the trust of their followers.

Great social media influencers have always recognized the importance of finding meaningful ways to use new features. And when it came to the live video option, they went full throttle: from Q&A sessions to launches, announcements, behind-the-scenes, interviews, and other imaginative experimental content, brands and influencers have tried it all, with great success.

Fact is, the live video feature for Instagram Stories is gold for those trying to increase their followers’ base and boost engagement. Whether you opt for already tested tactics and techniques (like the ones we presented) or choose to brainstorm new experimental content, you’ll be in for a real marketing treat. 

Takeaway: Use Instagram stories to open a more personal channel with your audience and engage your target directly. Try Q&A sessions, behind-the-scenes, interviews or even that old crazy creative idea you had ten years ago.

The “Finally!” day or When users got the option to replay live videos

Approximately seven months after the launch of the new live video feature in Stories, Instagram announced another rollout: the replay option. Thanks to it, today we’re able to save the live videos broadcasted in Stories as replays that will continue to be shown for another 24 hours.

Replay Live Videos for Instagram Stories

What does this mean for brands or influencers? Well, more engagement. In the end, it all boils down to that. By having the option to replay a video, you can make better use of your content and make sure it reaches as many people as possible. For users, replays behave like all other Stories: they can fast forward, rewind or skip them all together.

Even if this goes without saying, live video content should always bring something of value to followers. Make sure this is always the case and you will increase your odds of success. Also, be careful! Do not to fall into the trap of over posting live video content and replays. As all good things, these are also best when used in moderation.

That being said, if you want to save your live video and replay it but don’t know how don’t worry, we’ll tell you how. Once your live broadcast is over, a “share” button will appear at the bottom of the screen. And that’s your chance! If you don’t want to take it, simply discard the video and it will be forever out of sight (or until you decide to upload it again, if ever).

Takeaway: The replay feature can help you make the most out of your content by prolonging its lifespan with another 24 hours: more time for display, more chances for it to be seen by more users.

The “OMG!” day or When users got the change to join other live videos

When the live video feature was launched Gabe Madway, the spokesman of Instagram, declared: “Live is unedited and stays in the moment, and it’s the way many people on Instagram want to share”. This affirmation still holds true and it might even be the very essence of Instagram. That’s why it came as no surprise when Instagram announced a new upgrade: the possibility to join live videos in Stories.

Join Live Videos in Instagram Stories

Joining live videos is the ultimate, most genuine type of engagement you can produce for your followers. Whether you chose to invite an influencer to join in or bring on board the followers themselves, your live videos will suddenly get a feel of “this-is-oh-so-real”.

Now, if you’re still rather unfamiliar with the new rollout, here’s a quick tutorial:

  1. Start a live video in Stories.
  2. Tap the Friends icon (the two happy heads)
  3. Select the name of the person you want to join in (only from the audience that’s already watching)
  4. To remove the person, tap the x at the top right.

Yes, it’s that simple! 

What’s more, if you’re on the other side of the live and want to join in from the audience, you can send a request. Once accepted, you’ll be live and good to go.

As most of the Instagram features, this one is also extremely simple to use. What’s hard is mastering the insightful subtleties that come with it. Coming up with creative ways of relevantly engaging with your followers is even harder

However, we do trust your creative abilities. To show you that all our bets are on you, we’ll help with inspiration from around the world of brands. Oh, and loads of updates about all the new tools and cool features.

Takeaway: Go live with another user and do it now! There’s no other more genuine way of getting closer to your audience and proving your authenticity.

So, what did we learn?

First of all, we learned that live videos for Stories are a never-ending story of updates. One better than the other. Secondly, we now recognize the vital importance of creating a direct pathway with our followers. There’s no other more authentic way of doing so than with live videos and Stories. Thirdly, we now know how to invite viewers to join our live videos AND how to join ourselves. Fourthly, we learned that creativity is something that shouldn’t be used sparely. If there’s something we can never get enough of, this is it: creative content. Fifthly, we can now squeeze every bit of engagement out of our content due to the replay option. Sixthly, we’re tired of counting, so we pass the mic to you.

What are the learnings you drew from the evolution of live videos for Stories and what are your best practices? We’re eager to hear and, most of all, see them in live action on Instagram.



Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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