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06 September 2016

Instagram vs Snapchat

Unless you have been stuck on an island with no phone reception and hardly any contact with the outside world, I am sure you are very familiar with Instagram’s latest update, ‘Instagram Stories’. People armed themselves with an arsenal of memes and general hatred towards the update (The usual response when anything new comes into play. Remember the uproar when Instagram changed its logo?) But now that the dust has settled and users have calmed down a little, they are actually enjoying the new feature and using it daily. 

Screen_Shot_2016-09-05_at_16.30.29.pngImage Source: Instagram Blog

When the update first came out, it was met with initial negativity and my news feed was awash with comments such as “Well this is rubbish”, “They have just ripped off Snapchat” and “RIP Instagram". However, a few weeks later, and those same people that scoffed at the changes are the same people that are now using the stories feature the most.

Yes, it is an almost direct replica of the Snapchat Stories feature and even Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom, agrees. When confronted about Instagram Stories being a clone of Snapchat Stories, he surprisingly admitted “They deserve all the credit,” but insisted “This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”

20152F102F092F412FBeginning_S.44f6c.jpgImage Source: Mashable

But why is Instagram Stories going to heavily impact Snapchat?

  • Instagram has a sleeker and much more polished feel to its design. Its user friendly, simple interface means it’s easy to pick up by even the most stubborn of technophobes or by those that have never used the app before. Snapchat is great once you have clocked in some time and got used to the different swiping motions for the different actions available or learnt how to navigate through the app and the multitude of functions.   
  • Brands on Instagram have spent a long time building their audience and engaging with them on a regular basis with strategic content. They can now take that audience even deeper into the brand with the stories function. If your audience is on Instagram and engaging, then why not keep them engaged even further with behind the scenes footage, live footage at events and exclusive product releases. 
  • People are busy and are selective about how they manage their time. Having another app to check what is essentially going to be very similar content across both channels will ultimately put people off as it will become repetitive and time consuming. As a result, this will split users between the two platforms. 
  • Snapchat has always been a fan favourite as you can’t heavily edit photos before uploading them. As a result, it has always been seen as a very real, honest and in the moment app. Where Instagram could be criticised or applauded for letting users go to town on Photoshop, making their content incredibly appealing. The new stories feature for Instagram will bring users closer to the brands they love as there is no behind the scenes magic happening. This hugely adds to brands' authenticity, which is a key factor for creating fans, and keeping them. 
  • Snapchat does have a multitude of hilarious filters, which people love to use and for certain demographics it is a very popular feature. Is this something Instagram will work on? Only time will tell especially when we remember that Facebook and Instagram owner, Mark Zuckerberg, purchased the facial recognition app MSQRD a while back. They have the technology there to do something, so let’s see what they do with it.

Ultimately I can’t see Snapchat disappearing and Instagram taking over any time soon but I do see a split in the apps' core audience and how people use both apps. Instagram is great for businesses and marketers but I predict Snapchat staying very popular with millennials and businesses who want to engage with them. It’s going to be a learning curve for digital marketers to keep an eye on and see if there is any drop off rate between the two apps. 

It’s an exciting time for social media. There is always the ‘What will the next big thing be?’ question but as digital marketers we all like to stay ahead of the curve and work with platforms as users engage with them. However, the question is, if you are creating your own story, will you have time to flip between the two apps and get similar footage for your audience? 

Do you think users will start to segment the way they use and engage with brands between Instagram and Snapchat? Tweet us at @bcsagency to let us know. 

Check out our thoughts on a few more social media updates here.