Last month, Facebook-owned social media app Instagram announced Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets users share a series of videos and pictures in a slideshow format, separate from their timeline, that is virtually identical to the Snapchat Stories feature, launched in Oct. 2013,
Today, Facebook Snapchat-ed itself directly with the addition of the Instant Video feature to its Messenger app, which is similar to the Chat feature Snapchat added in May 2014.
Because “sometimes you want to ask a friend’s opinion on a pair of shoes you want to buy, weigh in on what ice cream flavor they should bring home, or just want to see your BFF’s reaction to your witty message when you’re in a place where you can’t actually talk live,” said Facebook’s blog post announcing Instant Video.
To use Instant Video, users on both ends of a conversation need to have the latest version of Messenger for either iOS or Android. To share a real-time video, a user taps on the video icon in the top right corner. The video will float over the active text conversation, allowing the user to keep typing. Audio will be off by default, but it can be turned on easily, according to Facebook.
Three weeks ago, Facebook introduced a new set of detailed audience metrics features for publishers, including the ability to view minutes viewed by age, gender and geographic location and compare demographics for individual videos with the typical video on their pages.