Instagram Tests Adding Timers to Stories to Boost Engagement

This could get more people tapping through on their Instagram Stories?

According to screenshots posted by user Kyle Harris¬†(and shared by Matt Navarra), Instagram is now testing new timer listings beneath Stories bubbles, which show how long each Story has left before it’s erased.

That could prompt more people to get onto them while they last, which could boost Stories consumption – though how exactly those timers would work seems a little complex.

For example, if I post a Story at 9am, then one at 9pm, does the timer show the time left before the first Story disappears or the second? You’d assume the first, but it could be a little confusing. Not that this would matter, I guess – the impetus is to get more people checking out Stories by underlining that they will soon be gone, so whether it uses the earliest or latest time stamp, it’d still have the same effect.

Also, as noted by another Twitter user, the screenshot highlights that Stories are not listed in chronological order. A point of note for Instagram marketers.

Whether this is a good or bad thing is hard to say. It could be handy to know how long you have left to check out your friends’ latest Story, and it could help Instagram juice up its Stories engagement stats. But it might also make more users feel pressured into checking out more Stories as they appear. In this sense, it taps into the ‘FOMO’¬†element, and while it could make more people check out Stories more often, it could have addictive side-effects, and increase anxiety within the app.

It’ll largely come down to your personal perspective, but it’s an interesting experiment either way, and it’d be interesting to note what the impacts end up being on Stories tap rates.¬†

We’ve asked Instagram for more info and will update this post if/when we hear back.

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