Look out Snapchat! Instagram has just started rolling out it's new 'Stories' feature. A large announcement in tech and social media that raises a few eyebrows, let's take a look at what's happening.
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Instagram x Snapchat
Instagram is popularly known for being beautiful, visual and the place for sharing the best bits and pieces of your life. Snapchat has become insanely popular for the casual, humorous and in-the-moment snippets, with short pictures and videos. Now Instagram is combining the best of both worlds, introducing "Stories" that work exactly the same way to Snapchat Stories that will vanish after 24 hours.
The main differences between Instagram's version is that they will display in a row at the top of the feed, the graphics and editing tools are slightly different, anyone you allow to follow you can see your stories, and you can't save your whole day's story like you can on Snapchat, although you can post slides from your Story to the permanent Instagram feed.
A blatant rip off?
A lot of people think so, in fact the Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom even admits it. 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.” Read Josh Constine's full interview with Kevin here.
How can you leverage it?
Copying aside, every time there is an update to the leading platforms we know and love there are always opportunities to make the most of it. Instagram Stories will be displayed at the top of the feed, and so the main benefit here is that you don't have to build a whole new following on a different app whilst you still get to put out casual, funny, off the cuff content. It also allows you to post more frequently without annoying your followers.
Another huge benefit is that it will allow you to post more frequently without spamming or annoying your followers. Even Systrom admits even he doesn't post things that aren't 'special enough' which results in a less active account. “Instagram is a curated feed, but you only get to see the highlights,” he says.
Even though Instagram recently brought in its new algorithm to replace the old chronological order with the advanced feed with curated content, people still worry that posting too many times in a row will annoy their followers. The casualness of the stories allows for more regular posts without facing that problem. Systrom states "It basically solves a problem for all these people who want to take a ton of photos of an event or something in their lives, but want to manage what their profile looks like and not bomb feed, obviously, as that’s one of the no-nos on Instagram."
One final benefit is that nobody can see likes or public comments, allowing people to freely post without the shame of low engagement. Feels!
Facebook vs The World
Facebook is the big daddy of social media and Mark Zuckerberg knows trends when he sees one. They acquired Instagram for a billion dollars and WhatsApp for a mind-boggling $19 billion. They attempted to buy Snapchat twice for offers of two and three billion but were turned down. It seems like Snapchat knew what they had going! Now valued at almost twenty billion, they are posing a very real threat to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, boasting 150 million daily active users. Is Instagram's latest decision to introduce stories a powerful move? Will they one day end up owning Snapchat or will Snapchat continue to grow and surpass them? Will Snapchat even be a thing in 5 years? Who knows! IN my opinion, both Snapchat and Instagram are such big players with equally valuable offerings, and I don't think it will be a conversation about having only one victor. I don't see either one going away any time soon. Let's see how things play out.
“We’re north of 500 million people using the product,” Systrom states. “We can either let the system evolve the way it evolves — I think that’s a great consumption business. But we want to make sure to keep the soul of what made us love it at the beginning: Share whatever I want, when I want, with who I want. The daily use case.”
One thing is for sure - they didn't include the dog filter yet. We all know people that can't survive without that! :P