Most Instagram users tend to post a single image or video at a time, with additional effects mostly limiited to photo filters.
Instagram Stories mean that users can take multiple photos or video clips and thread them together. They can also add new effects such as text or drawings. And unlike standard Instagram updates, photos shared to an individual's Story will disappear after 24 hours.
Anyone who wants to view a friend's story can tap on their profile, then tap through different images and video featured in the story.
The new function is similar to a core Snapchat feature, also called Snapchat Stories. This allows users to share a series of photos or videos, or Snaps, rather than post continual updates.
Instagram Stories will roll out to iOS and Android users in the next few weeks.
Speaking to TechCrunch, Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom acknowledged that Snapchat "deserve all the credit" for the idea.
"This isn’t about who invented something," he said, according to the publication. "This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it."