In a bold move to push its users to create and share more content, Instagram has launched and announced Instagram Stories. Our Toronto Digital Marketing Manager discusses what this will mean for Snapchat and its Stories.

With 500 million monthly active users, 300 million daily actives and now 250 million users on its Direct Messaging feature, Instagram is in enormous expansion mode for what Snapchat once championed.

People only post the highlights of their life on Instagram, so the mobile photo- and video- sharing service decided to add its own version of “Stories” this month to steal crazy, off-the-cuff, everyday content from Snapchat. It works much the same way as Snapchat Stories, allowing users to post 24-hour ephemeral photo and video slideshows that disappear after that. But because Instagram Stories appear at the top of the old feed, users’ followers will certainly see them without them having to create a new audience in a different app.

Instagram Stories is expected to be a hit for two reasons. First, it creates a place for content that is not “good enough” for the Instagram feed, or at least is too immature to fit in to mainstream posts, but is worthy of being added to the account. Second, because everything disappears in 24 hours, users don’t have to be ashamed of that awkward face or stupid joke forever; especially with the risk of employers checking out their online reputation.

Snapchat vs. Instagram

Features 10-second-max photos and videos users have shared into a slideshow.Instagram appears in a row at the top of the main feed unlike with Snapchat, which showcases stories in a separate screen and are sorted by who interacted with users most.
Everything posted disappears in 24 hours.Anyone who follows users (block features are available) can view their stories on Instagram. On Snapchat, users are required to build a separate network.
Users are able to shoot photos and videos inside the full screen app or have the option of uploading photos from their camera rolls taken within 24h.Users can swipe right or tap the Stories icon in the top left to open the Stories camera on Instagram, whereas Snapchat just defaults to the camera.
Allow users to decorate photos with drawings, texts, emojis and swipeable color filters.Users aren’t able to add old content to Instagram stories unless they re-import or screenshot, whereas Snapchat lets them share old Memories with a white border and timestamp around them.
Users can view the list of people who have seen their stories.
Followers voluntarily tap in to pull the Story and view it, instead of it being pushed into a single feed.

Will Instagram Stories Signal the end of Snapchat?

Instagram dwarfs Snapchat with approximately 300 million daily users; Snapchat only has 150 million. That may not sound like too big of a deal, but if you’re an advertiser, the difference is huge. They are seeing twelve times as many views on Instagram as they are seeing on Snapchat.

For example, Nick Sheingold, the associate director of strategy at Laundry Service (one of the agencies Nike uses), told Ad Age their first Instagram Story garnered 800,000 views in 24 hours. Comparatively, on Snapchat, Nike’s most popular video only received 66,000 views.

So many of the issues Snapchat faces with user interface and user friendliness are not apparent on Instagram. Users are baffled over the excessive swiping, tapping and finger jabbing that go into navigating one’s way through the app. Once users figure out how to navigate the mobile app, they realize that adding friends is even more burdensome. Also, despite Snapchat being around for years now, they still have not implemented a thorough search function.

As a Digital Marketing Manager for a leading Toronto agency, I have been able to witness many similar power moves by various Social Media players all the time. At this early stage, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Instagram stories will be the death of Snapchat and its Stories. What we are seeing is a Big Bang Disruption – a competitor of Snapchat has released a product that has more or less the same features but has also monopolized on its Achilles ’ Heel. In order to stay afloat, Snapchat will need to make updates to its current interface that will entice defected users to return to their platform. Knowing Snapchat, they are probably already cooking something up as we speak.

About iRISEmedia is a Toronto based digital marketing agency and SEO company, specializing in Social Media and Internet marketing. Our team helps clients increase their reach and profitability by developing and implementing customized and targeted online and Social Media marketing strategies. We service clients in Toronto, Ontario, the GTA and throughout Canada as well as globally.

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