Retailers ubiquitously choose Instagram over Snapchat. Nearly all retailers tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail air Instagram Stories; in contrast, only 4% were active on Snapchat during the study period.

Brand activity

Savvy brands rely on archived Highlights to extend the shelf life of ephemeral Instagram Stories. For example, Sephora, a winner across social platforms, tailored a tutorial on winged yellow eyeliner to be platform-specific. The brand condensed its 12-minute YouTube video into a series of short GIFs, videos, and images for Instagram Highlights.

In February, Instagram began testing Instagram Collections, a new advertising format that combines branding, product exploration, and e-commerce in one ad unit. Similar to the carousel ads offered by parent company Facebook, Instagram Collection ads feature swipeable video and image content that enables users to browse an array of products within the app. They also include direct links to product pages on the advertiser’s site.


Among retail brands, Zara was one of the earliest adopters of the format, beginning to experiment with Instagram Collections in June. Since then, Tiffany & Co., West Elm, and women-focused Activewear brand Outdoor Voices have come on board to try out the new feature.

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