Unless you have been living under a rock for the last month, you know that Instagram, the photo social network has launched a new feature in early August: Stories.
For those who HAVE been living under a rock, here’s how Instagram describes their new feature:
“Your story is a way of sharing photos and videos with your followers that disappear after 24 hours”.
Great! But wait. This sounds oddly familiar. Don’t we already have an app that does that?!
You got it right! Instagram has created its own version of Stories, Snapchat’s key feature, and even managed to ship the basic features of Snapchat’s Stories in version 1.0 (drawing tools and a few filters).
With Stories, Instagram, is clearly trying to encourage it’s users to publish more content, as between 2013 and 2015, the number of videos and photos posted on Instagram has declined, while that number is constantly increasing for Snapchat.
So is this the end for Snapchat? With Stories will Facebook’s subsidiary company Instagram and its 7 million daily AU users crush the smaller but promising growth of the 3 million AU daily active users (that’s still more than Twitter!) on Snapchat?
My bet is no.
Why? Because Snapchat and Instagram are two very, very different platforms with very, very different purposes.
If until now there was a clear difference between the two platforms with Snapchat focusing more on content production while Instagram is clearly a content consumption media, with Snapchat launching its “Memories” feature back in July and Instagram slapping back with Stories, the line between them has become blurry.
So while their features are similar, there is one HUGE detail we should take into account: Snapchat is not a social network. SAY WHAT NOW?
Earlier this month I had a meeting with a representative from Snapchat and instead of the term “social network” Snapchat refers to their app as a “communication platform”.
You don’t get it?
If you (like half of the planet), think that Snapchat is only this cool app that allows you to safely send your crush sexy pics that will destroy themselves after a few seconds, you are dead wrong.
For instance, most people have discovered the chat feature and the media side of the app, Discovery, but do you know you can also call and video chat your friends with the app? *MINDBLOWN*
As Snapchat CEO says, the app “isn’t about capturing a Kodak moment, it’s about communicating a full range of emotions with your friends”. It’s a space to be funny and creative. Unlike Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, no one cares how many friends or followers you have on Snapchat. The platform’s strategic choice not to display this information is what differentiates it from social networks.
So while Instagram is the place where you will post very glossy and polished photos of your seemingly perfect life so your 5000+ followers can envy your healthy lifestyle and amazing fashion sense, your Snapchat friends will be receiving 10s of snaps of you making weird faces and trying all the lenses while binge eating chocolate and watching Narcos in your pyjamas.
But what does that mean for brands?
Brands are more familiar with Instagram where hashtags and the search feature makes it easier for brands to grow their audience and gain notoriety organically.
Moreover since its acquisition by Facebook in 2013, Instagram’s advertising strategy is well established and by brands. Even though Facebook has not yet communicated about advertising strategies on Instagram stories, no doubt it will be coming soon.
The fact that the content is hardly sharable on other platforms and the lack of knowledge regarding the ad formats of Snapchat is often mentioned as a barrier by advertisers. Yet those who have tested it, such as Taco Bell, Smirnoff and Michael Kors can vouch for the power of the “communication platform”, especially when targeting an audience under 35 years old.
Opportunities are all the more interesting that Snapchat users are increasingly asking brands to produce lenses, which marks the advent of a new type of brand advocacy.
As for sponsored Geofilters, Snapchat has reported that in the US 40-60% of their daily users engage with them.
One thing is sure, the coming months will be decisive to understand how users will engage and interact with Instagram’s new feature, and moreover how it is different from Snapchat.
BONUS: Did you know you could apply 2 filters to your images to create the perfect snap masterpiece (and also unlock more cool trophies)?
Check it out here.