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Stocks in the News

On Wednesday, Instagram announced that its Stories feature will debut skippable advertisements, and brands will soon be able to place five-second photos or 15-second videos between user content.

The popular photo-sharing app, which is owned by Facebook (FB - Free Report) , launched Stories about 6 months ago. Users can post photo and video slideshows that disappear after a 24-hour period, a shamelessly similar concept to Snapchat Stories.

Instagram Stories’ ad style will also copy that of Snapchat’s, all in the hopes of creating a more natural viewing experience. About 30 top brands have already committed to begin testing these skippable ads later this month, including Nike (NKE - Free Report) , Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) , General Motors (GM - Free Report) , Capital One (COF - Free Report) , and many others.

Despite its penchant for copying, Instagram Stories is growing incredibly quickly. The platform now has 150 million daily active users, about as many users as the last number announced by Snapchat. It helps that Stories is located right at the top of the Instagram home screen instead of a separate tap.

Monetizing a young feature is risky, but it’s clear that Instagram believes Stories’ growth is strong enough to take on further competition from Snapchat and any drop-off in users that the ads may cause.

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