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Instagram’s version of Snapchat has finally turned it into a real video product

More video, please.

Republican National Convention: Day Three Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

It’s been more than a week since Instagram launched Stories, a feature cloned from Snapchat that lets people upload photos and videos that expire after 24 hours.

One thing I've noticed: There's a lot more video in the app. And the video I see is different — not nearly as polished as the video I used to see inside Instagram, the majority of which came from brand or celebrity accounts. Thanks to the temporary shelf-life, I’m seeing the same kind of spontaneous video on Instagram that I usually get inside Snapchat, complete with lots of overlaid text, a few terrible drawings and emojis.

Instagram has always been a photo-dominant platform. It’s rolled out a number of updates in the past six months in an attempt to drive more interest in video, including promoting video more heavily in its Discover section. But let’s call a spade a spade: Instagram has always been for photos, and videos usually went somewhere else, like Facebook or YouTube or even

Stories has changed that. I’d estimate my normal Instagram feed is 90 percent photos, 10 percent video. But what I’ve seen from Instagram Stories is closer to a 50-50 split (which is still not as video-heavy as Snapchat’s Stories product). So I expect Instagram will get even more video-heavy over time.

Think that matters to Facebook-owned Instagram? Here’s Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the company’s last earnings call.

“Ten years ago, most of what we shared and consumed online was text. Now it’s photos. And soon, most of it will be videos. We see a world that is video first, with video at the heart of all of our apps and service.”

So, yes, Instagram cares a lot about video, and taking one of Snapchat’s most popular features that is also very video friendly seems no coincidence.

Beyond any gains in user engagement and sharing, more videos can also lead to more video ads, usually a more lucrative form of advertising than traditional graphic ads. (There are still billions of TV ad dollars that have yet to find their way to digital platforms.) And the way Stories works — a linear feed in which each video and photo transitions automatically into the next — makes it a perfect place for autoplay, full-screen video ads, which Snapchat has already figured out. A large autoplay video (with sound!) inside of Stories won’t look out of place the way it does in a vertically scrolling feed full of photos.

(Instagram isn’t taking this video ad approach just yet, but it seems safe to assume it will someday.)

Instagram won't say whether the new Stories feature has driven a massive uptick in video sharing, and doesn’t share stats on the percentage of video posts in its standard feed. The company says that people have watched 150 percent more video in the past six months, but that number was from before Stories launched. (It's also too early to know the longer-term popularity or content mix for Stories.)

We also don’t know how many people are giving Stories a try. I see about three times as many people posting Snapchat Stories each day, but it’s still very early for Instagram. If Stories catches on, it will bring Instagram into the mobile-native video era, too.

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