It’s been 4 months since Instagram introduced Stories, a copy of Snapchat. After many criticism, support and ‘whatever’s, what is the situation between these two essentially same but practically different applications?
For the last few years, marketers have been going crazy about “how to attract millions of millenials using Snapchat” and have been creating unique strategies to promote and share their products or news. As a millenial myself, I just can’t like Snapchat. First of all, I’m not the person to take silly selfies of the same pose 53 times and send it to people, let alone using the dog face or super edited flower tiara filters. Secondly, I don’t like the idea that the photos I put an effort to take will be deleted in a few hours. And thirdly, since Snapchat is like an interactive phone book, and it doesn’t work with the hashtag system; your audience is limited to the people you know, or you will have to advertise your Snapchat username on other platforms (eg. Instagram) to gain more followers.
Instagram Stories totally copied the best functions of Snapchat but by doing that, it gives you a parallel space to fulfill your craving for sharing 10.000 photos and videos in one day. Moreover, you can use edited photos that were taken that day (or, photos that are taken earlier but edited that day… Have I found a bug of the app?), which some people protest against saying it’s “killing the spontaneity”, and your followers as default can see your photos and videos, plus those who don’t follow you but check up on your profile if your profile isn’t private. This makes Instagram Stories more functional as in reaching more people, naturally. And I have to add, I find Instagram Stories neater and more refined, especially with the forward and back functions. Instagram’s new feature seems to create a pocket for in-depth details of your photos, whereas Snapchat seems to mostly awaken the selfie-addict in most people. Of course Snapchat is not only about this, it has live stream and the Discover section filled with content from big media websites. It recently launched World Lenses, which allows you to alter the background, and it’s preparing to launch Spectacles, a wearable tech that will let you take pictures with the glasses and post them directly on Snapchat. And it’s quite open for many new properties; such as music or game adds. These are all opinions of an average user.
But in marketing point of view, how did the two popular apps fared in the last months? Statistics showed that Instagram’s active use was on decline in 2015. Still, the number of Instagram’s daily users doubles the number of Snapchat’s daily users, with 300 million and 150 million respectively. Brands obviously see that, Instagram and Stories together give them the opportunity to create a deeper post on anything. As Hugh Pile, L’oréal’s Western European CMO says: “Within the same platform now we’ve got this lovely juxtaposition that allows you to tell a richer story, but maybe [providing] a more authentic, or more earthy experience alongside the more polished core visuals…”
To give an example from big brands; Nike’s most popular Snapchat story has gotten 66.000 views, but the Instagram Story they shared on the first day of Stories has gotten 800.000 views. So, in the end Snapchat provides brands better customisation with its filters and everything, but Instagram proviedes a much wider audience. It kind of resembles Apple and Windows, don’t you agree? Seeing this, Snapchat recently added a re-sharing function which will obviously help brands create the audience they seek. But Instagram doesn’t stop either, and it added mentioning and See More function that allows users to direct their audience to any adress they want.
One of the media sources I follow and highly appreciate, Business Insider UK, has been putting some work in Instagram stories too. According to Digiday’s article, Insider, with its 7 topic-specific accounts, is focusing on Instagram Stories altogether, and as a result, they got 5 million additional video views in the first month of the Stories.
Apart from the numbers and statistics, loyal Snapchat users (20-25 year-old youngsters) who think that Instagram just copied what was there and don’t even use Instagram Stories to date, think that any brand’s show off on Snapchat is too much advertising. They think that on Instagram, product placement or even a direct photo of a product is more “natural” because in total, it is a part of the brand’s character. The same thing goes for other entities, meaning promoting seems a lot like “promoting” on Snapchat, but on Instagram they find the same photos or videos normal, and mostly intriguing. When asked would they be more inclined to buy something they saw on Snapchat or Instagram, the answer is Instagram because it feels more in place there, where Snapchat for them is more friendly share of daily life with friends.
For me personally, it’s more of a habits and tastes thing. I am selective about the celebrities and brands I follow on social media; only a few musicians and brands that are really creative online or whom I’d like to know more about, media sources that post interesting stuff and, for Instagram only, good photographers. Therefore I’m interested in “the making of”, the backstage of concerts or productions, and Instagram stories gives me this. Snapchat is too much effort for this. Sincerely, an average (but avid) user.
Click here for Italian version.
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