This week revealed one of the most surprising, yet greatest social media updates of 2016. Instagram Stories have arrived to compete with Snapchat’s ever-growing success. Only time can actually tell us how much this will affect Snapchat, but as it currently stands, Snapchat’s willingness for change and innovation proves that it can (and will) respond and build upon its simple communication and raw material.
With the young Instagram Stories’ release, let’s take a look at how this affects Instagram’s overall experience and the competition it gives to Snapchat.
For brands, Instagram Stories is absolutely fantastic. According to Ad Age, “Nike, for example, generated 800,000 views in 24 hours for an Instagram Story that it posted on Tuesday, the first day the feature was available. On Snapchat, Nike’s best video got 66,000 views.” Receiving ten times more views than its competition, Instagram is simply able to utilize its built-in audience and keep them on the app longer as the article goes on to say: “Instagram updated its numbers last week, saying it has 300 million daily users, and Snapchat has about 150 million, according to sources familiar with the company’s internal figures.”
Secondly, stories from brands are more accessible on Instagram than Snapchat due to follower counts and how Instagram keeps the stories at the top of their timeline.
For users, the impact may be smaller than expected. Currently, many of the stories have normal users posting their snapchat username in order to gain more followers and continue their usage of the snapping app. Confusion is strong as people play the knock-off card on Instagram and wonder why it would be used in such a way. Secondly, the issue for Instagram comes from only being able to horizontally access five stories at a time, having to scroll to see more. This is less accessible than Snapchat and might deter people from continuing their search for more stories. However, it takes away the less candid, more sophisticated aura that Instagram has touted for so long. This mish-mash of sophistication with realism is a nice twist for an app that intends to stay relevant thanks to its parent company, Facebook.
Something else that some people night not even notice is how much better the image quality is on Instagram (Especially for Android users). On Android, Snapchat doesn’t use your phone’s camera directly. It will grab a screenshot of what your camera sees rather than physically take it’s own photo leaving a much lower quality shot.
As it stands however, Snapchat should be on its toes, but does not have anything to worry about in the short-term. As influencer Gary Vaynerchuk has pointed out: “Plenty of users will remain on Snapchat simply because they want to maintain their audience, they have a preference for Snapchat’s UX (user experience), or they’re spiteful about Instagram Stories being a ‘copycat.’ Snapchat has built a huge following and, while Instagram will probably take a bite out of it, Snapchat will still hold its own.”
Although this social media war should be interesting with willingness to change affecting the outcome, the real winner will continue to be brands.