Instagram really wants you to use its Snapchat clone.
Not Stories, but its other Snapchat clone: Direct (that’s the name for Instagram’s disappearing messages, for those keeping track). Now, in an effort to push more users to the feature, Instagram is plugging Direct’s disappearing photo and video messaging right into Stories.
Beginning now, Instagram will allow you to respond to posts in Stories with disappearing photo and video messages. Those messages, which can of course be decorated with animated face filters or sent as looping Boomerang videos, will appear in your inbox.
Tap the new camera icon next to the text reply box when watching a Story to send a photo or video reply. Friends will see your replies, along with a thumbnail image of their original post that you replied to.
Like other messages sent via Direct, the messages won’t stick around and friends will be alerted to any screenshots you capture.
Instagram is billing the new feature as a way to “be even more fun and playful when you respond to friends,” but it also stands to be a very good way to drive a whole lot more people to its less popular Snapchat clone.
While Instagram is constantly boasting about how many of its 700+ million users use Stories (spoiler: it was over 250 million at last count), it’s said very little about Direct’s disappearing messages, which launched last November (Instagram has said 375 million people use the app’s direct messaging though it doesn’t break out stats for disappearing messages).
But by integrating Direct with Stories, there’s a good chance Instagram can change that while doing little else. And should it prove to be even half as bad for Snapchat as Instagram Stories has been for the company, then the change will be much more important than adding a new button to Stories.