What is it?
Instagram Stories is a less complicated Snapchat. You can now share moments that disappear after 24 hours. Stories are not posted to your main Instagram feed. You can doodle on them, put emojis on them and write on them. And use Instagram’s filters. You can save them to your camera roll or post ones worth keeping to your main feed. You can put in camera roll photos or videos that have been taken in the last 24 hours.
I’ve done a quick walk through video below.
Why copy it?
Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram, is on record saying ‘Snapchat deserve all the credit.’ The debate is not whether or not it is a copy – it clearly is – but why Instagram wanted its own Snapchat.
I’ve had around 24 hours between knowing about the update and around 12 hours with the update, so this is very much my early thoughts. With that caveat, they did it because they were losing first place to posting behaviour and the ‘time spent in app’ battle with Snapchat. Millennials Snapchat it, and Instagram later, and spend much more time on Snapchat as a whole. And that isn’t a behaviour that can be left unchallenged by the big boys and gals at Facebook/Instagram HQ.
Mark Zuckerberg wanted Snapchat back in 2013 when it was still a bit nasty (as in nassssty!!) and offered an incredible $3bn for it. It boils down to the fact that Snapchat is good. The user experience is amazing. It even makes its adverts fun! It is too good to stay unique. The moment Facebook couldn’t buy it, they had to invest in the next best thing – their own version. And they've tried and tried and tried again. But this time they might have actually done it.
Does it make a difference to your life?
Well. Yes. I think it does. Not today and not tomorrow. But it’s a game changer.
At the moment audiences are split down the middle.
Snapchatters gonna Snapchat and Instagrammers gonna Instagram Storytell. But brands with big Instagram followings are only going to duplicate content for a short amount of time. The analytics will be looked at and decisions will be made. I love Snapchat with every bone of my body, but even I struggle to snap a compelling answer back to The Body Coach who asked ‘I have 1.3 million on Instagram and 110,000 on Snapchat (after 6 months of daily content!). What should I do?!’ His Snapchat days are over. His latest Instagram story just got 160,000 views on day 1.
The likelihood is that the brands with existing Instagram communities have to give up on their Snapchat game and go to where the eyeballs are. It’s not just the critical mass which Instagram has (500m vs 100m active daily users). But it is the established communities these brands have on Instagram that they have not managed to establish on Snapchat due to how limited discovery is on the platform.
But that doesn’t mean Instagram wins and Snapchat is over. Far from it. Today is the closest these platforms will be aligned. Snapchat will evolve and Instagram Stories will evolve to become different from each other, to suit their newly segmented audiences.
Instagrammers can not and will not Snapchat the way Snapchatters do! I’ve posted a couple of stories today from a couple of accounts and the audience for both falls dramatically. It appears Instagrammers don’t want to watch until the end! My early analytics show they aren’t about watching stories, they are about tapping a few times and exiting swiftly at the moment!! I’ve followed others' experiences and Justin Wu (follow him at Hackapreneur) Instagram Story got 900 views falling to 200! I saw a similar fall across mine. But interestingly, one of the Instagram stories I ran also played on Snapchat and got far fewer starting numbers but the audience stayed watching until the end.
Will enough people see the value in their lower figures on Snapchat that watch, engage and chat. Or will they want the big starting number? 1000 people watched my story. Even if they only watched for 2 seconds, tapped to the next one and exited. Will they fall for the vanity metric? The smart ones won’t, and Snapchat offers unparalleled community building through the ‘chat’ that remains unchallenged by Instagram stories.
My final point is that Instagram stories are teaching people how to Snapchat. Like Facebook Live brought live streaming to the masses, Instagram stories is bringing live storytelling to the masses. It’s an amazing opportunity for businesses and yes, Digital Mums, that haven’t been able to justify investment in Snapchat, to start being able to tell live stories through Instagram. Perhaps, it will even get you hooked and see you becoming a Snapchatter!
I am so excited to see where this challenge from Instagram takes Snapchat. Change is opportunity. Let’s hope Snapchat still think so!
You can find Cat on Instagram and Snapchat under the username catxdavies