Image: Instagram Image: Instagram

Instagram has launched a new feature which Mark Zuckerberg "is the latest step in putting video at the centre of all our services".

While for the masses, it presents a new way to create and share content, for businesses it presents a new marketing channel.

Instagram Stories allows you to create videos or photos, customise them with text, drawings and emojis, before they are deleted after 24 hours. Sound familiar?

Explaining the new feature, which is remarkably like Snapchat, Mark Zuckerberg said "You'll see stories from the people you follow at the top of your feed, and a ring around their profile picture tells you when their story has been updated."

Instagram said: "With Instagram Stories, you don't have to worry about over-posting.

"Instead, you can share as much as you want to throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want."

Speaking to The Verge, Instagram co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom, said: "Just like when Facebook invented the [News] Feed, and every social product was like, ‘That’s an innovation, how do we adapt that to our network?’ You’re going to see stories pop up in other networks over time, because it’s one of the best ways to show visual information in chronological order."

So why the new feature?

Facebook tried to buy Snapchat, don't forget. In 2013, Evan Spiegel turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook. Just over a year later, Snapchat was valued at over $15bn. A decision well made, you would agree.

Instagram has considerably more monthly active users than Snapchat - around double at 400 million, in fact. But according to The Information, the number of images and videos posted per user to Instagram fell between 2013 and 2015. On the other hand, between February and April this year, the number of videos viewed on Snapchat jumped 25% to 10 billion a day. A day!

Social media users are becoming more aware of how much they post. They don't want to over-post. Not necessarily because they don't want to share, but because they're wary of spamming people's feeds. Stories, it hopes, is Instagram's answer to this problem. Stories encourage more sharing, but they don't appear in your grid. So you don't need to worry about over-posting.

What this means for you, however, is a more active social platform. Stories could be a winning combination of a larger user base and an increase in social sharing. More stories, more videos, more photos, more opportunities to get your business in front of millions of people.