Earlier in August Instagram launched a new feature, rolling out to all profiles over the next few weeks: Instagram Stories.
Yes it’s called Stories, just like Snapchat. Yes, they’re only viewable for 10 seconds… like Snapchat. And yes, you can add emojis, #filter and text to your time-sensitive snap… again, just like Snapchat. There are however a few crucial differences between the two social players.
What do they have in common?
- Video or photos are up to 10 seconds long
- They’re only viewable for 24 hours
- Stories include emojis, text insertion and filters
- Users can track who’s seen their Story
- You can save the photo or video to your device
- Both let you reply to a Story via a direct message
What makes them different?
- Geo-filters and ad opportunities with these are exclusive to Snapchat
- Those addictive facial mapping filters (insert rainbow vomit or puppy dog face here) are only on Snapchat
- Instagram has more options for doodling and inserting text on the video or photo
- Only Snapchat shows you who has screenshotted your Story
- Instagram allows you to exclude certain people from your Story (sorry Mum)
- Instagram lets users post the Story to their public profile
- You can rewind a story on Instagram
Fantastic you say, now what does it mean for brands?
From FCB’s perspective, it’s hard to say which player will take the lead. Instagram had an advantage whereby the platform is already monetised with Instagram Ads, plus, being owned by Facebook, the volume of user-data and audience info at their fingertips is mind-blowing. From an interface point of view, most brands are already part of the conversation on Facebook and Instagram, meaning that Stories within this environment is a natural next step, and less of an operational nightmare.
Snapchat on the other hand has been the fastest growing social network for millennials1: surpassing Twitter with daily active users’ way back in June 2016, at 150 million2. A massive 45% of Snapchat’s users are under 251 and the platform is a key media channel in reaching this audience. Snapchat have made a few hefty updates to the platform to make it more brand-friendly, including the Discover section via key publisher partnerships, and paid geo-filters for events: from your mates wedding, to a brand re-launch. They’re tackling ads from a very advantageous position, offering unparalleled insight into how millennials use social media.
Snapchat can be best thought of as social media that most closely replicates human-to-human interactions and real time conversations. They live in the moment, as passing hallway conversations or gossip over an iced mocha-latte as we live out our lives. Where Facebook and Twitter aimed to document lives and moments in our digital age, Snapchat went in entirely the other direction, recognising the appetite for a platform that enables moments to live and die naturally rather than being regurgitated for each birthday and ‘this time last year’ moment.
There’s no question that Instagram has followed in Snapchat’s footsteps with the launch of Stories – media blew up with this realisation as soon as the update was announced – however it remains to be seen whether Instagram Stories will catch on, or even replace the use of Snapchat.
Watch this space.