Instagram's penchant for adopting popular features from competitors continues, with its latest trial of a "Nearby" feed for Stories. This addition aims to spotlight public stories from local users and businesses, enhancing community engagement and potentially offering new promotional avenues.
This feature is not entirely new in the realm of social media. The Chinese counterpart of TikTok, known as “Douyin”, has successfully integrated a similar local content feed. Douyin leverages this feature to bolster local business promotion and increase user interaction. Interestingly, TikTok has also been playing with this concept, hinting at the platform's broader strategy.
The primary allure of such a feed is manifold:
- Geographical Relevance: Local businesses can target users more effectively based on proximity, possibly leading to increased conversions.
- Diversified Ad Offerings: In Douyin, this geographical relevance has opened doors for novel advertisement avenues, such as services and food delivery directly through the app. This paves the way for what TikTok might pursue in its future in-app commerce endeavors.
- In-stream Commerce: Though Douyin has seen a boom in in-app purchases, Western users on TikTok have not yet mirrored this behavior. Introducing features like food ordering could bridge this gap, ushering in a culture of in-app transactions.
Instagram's foray into the "Nearby" feed could be seen as a strategic move to pre-empt and counter TikTok's potential plans. By launching a parallel feature, Instagram might be aiming to maintain its stronghold on the market and curb TikTok's momentum.
However, this new addition is not without its challenges. Privacy concerns loom large, and Instagram will need to ensure its users are aware of and comfortable with the implications of the "Nearby" feed. Users should be prompted to review their privacy settings, particularly if they wish to keep their content from being displayed to local audiences.
Currently, the official word from Instagram remains awaited, as no statements regarding this test have been released.