If you've opened your Instagram account this week, you may have noticed something looked different but familiar.

Instagram introduced its newest feature: Instagram Stories. In short, it's Instagram's version of Snapchat. The interface and elements of Instagram Stories look nearly identical to Snapchat.

Even Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom agrees: "Totally. They [Snapchat] deserve all the credit."

Now at the top of your Instagram feed, you'll find stories from everyone you already follow on Instagram. If users have a colorful ring around their icon, they have a new story for you to watch. And, you don't have to follow someone to see their stories. If their account is public and there's a ring around their profile picture, you can watch their stories. Of course, you can hide your stories from select users before they go live.

To upload your first Instagram Story, click the circle with a plus at the top left of your app. Or swipe right, and you're ready to create 10-second videos or pictures. Before you post, you can also add text overlays or doodles atop them. Then, they disappear in 24 hours.

Why Instagram needed to compete with Snapchat

Instagram's new feature makes sense for the company. Facebook, which owns Instagram, tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion in cash back in 2013. Facebook saw younger users fleeing its platform for Snapchat and saw the potential there.

Snapchat's co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, remembers Zuckerberg's pitch a bit differently: "It was basically like, 'We're going to crush you.'" Facebook did debut an alternative to Snapchat, Poke, which failed. A year later, it tried to rival Snapchat with Slingshot, which also flopped.

Since 2013, Snapchat has continued its unprecedented growth, becoming the fastest growing app of 2014. As of June of this year, Snapchat is estimated to have about 150 million daily active users — 10 million more than Twitter.

In short, Facebook knew what it missed out on and became determined to create its own version.

Will Instagram Stories be the end of Snapchat?

This time around, it looks like Facebook and Instagram have a real shot at competing with Snapchat.

Instagram is already an image-driven app with more than 500 million total users and 300 million daily active users. That's more than double Snapchat's daily audience.

Those who already are diehard Snapchat users, and who use the app personally with their friends, will likely stand by the platform. But, there's a whole new audience on Instagram, many of whom don't already have ties with Snapchat.

Why Instagram Stories is better for your brand than Snapchat

For brands and content creators, the impact of Instagram stories is going to be huge. Nike has already seen their content on Instagram Stories perform 12 times better than their best Snapchat video. Their first Instagram Story got more than 800,000 views while their best Snapchat only got 66,000 views.

Since all of your Instagram followers now "follow" your Instagram Stories, your audience is already there. Plus, Snapchat has proven that the concept appeals to many — even those older than millennials.

Now, you can tap into Instagram's already large — and more diverse — following. Plus, Instagram has the infrastructure to cater to brands, which was a feature Snapchat undoubtedly lacked.

Go forth, test out your first Instagram Story and see what you think.