APRIL 19, 2017:
The battle of the social-media businesses continues – but who will win?
Snapchat introduced Stories back in 2013, allowing users to upload shots for their friends to view over a 24-hour period. This captured the imagination of the app’s biggest rival, Instagram, who launched a similar feature last year – CEO Kevin Systrom candidly told TechCrunch that Snapchat ‘deserve all the credit’ for the concept. ‘This is about a format,’ he explained, ‘and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.’
The subtle differences seem to be convincing. A recent Delmondo study suggested that unique viewers of Snapchat Stories dropped around 40% from July (just before the Instagram Stories launch) to November 2016. So what makes Instagram’s new ‘spin’ on Stories so successful?
There are more than 600 million monthly active Instagram users (compared with 300 million for Snapchat), according to Ad Week, and this number shows no signs of slowing down. That’s going to make a big difference to the extent of your reach: Instagram offers ‘much broader exposure’ for your content. Plus, it’s harder to follow other users on Snapchat – you need to know exact names to find them.
Instagram Stories plugs into your existing social network – you automatically see posts from everyone you already follow. It also allows you to watch Stories posted by those related to your network or similar to accounts you regularly search and interact with. Your Snapchat circle tends to be much more intimate. But why does that make Instagram Stories better? Mashable summarized this best: ‘Even if the party down the street’s cooler, why leave the big one?’
Snapchat removed its Auto-Advance feature in October 2016 – though this means that views are more intentional (and you could argue therefore more valuable), users must manually select Stories to load in a ‘playlist’. In contrast, Stories load in an endless loop on Instagram: You don’t have to watch sequentially; you can tap either side of the screen to skip forward or back, or even freeze-frame
Stickers, filters and (no doubt soon) face masks – all features Instagram Stories has reproduced from Snapchat. But Instagram is behind even more content types, like live streaming and hands-free, and of course, there are no heart icons for people to show their appreciation for your content on Snapchat, plus you can screenshot in secret and save Stories to share on other social sites, like Twitter or Facebook.
Which one is your favorite? Share in the comments!
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