Let’s not fret over the “oh-my-gosh, Instagram copied Snapchat” news and focus on the tactics: Should brands adopt Instagram’s latest Stories feature?
Launched this past Tuesday, Stories is, well, similar to Snapchat’s Stories! Here’s the low-down if you’re not already familiar with Snapchat. Users can seamlessly create Stories made up of a mixture of photos and videos to post to their Instagram account that will last for only 24 hours. Then they disappear into social media la la land and will not be permanently included in your beautifully curated Instagram gallery. You can also draw, type and add filters over stories if you’re feeling creative.
It looks like the days of Instagram’s simplistic square tiled chronological model are coming to an end. But you can bet this is just the beginning of a new chapter for the popular photo-sharing app. Instagram’s willingness to adapt to the dynamic landscape of social media, even at the cost of imitation over innovation, is a sign that they are here to stay.
Snapchat taught the public how to easily create raw, yet engaging, video footage and adopt a keen interest in the stripped-down, imperfect content supported by the ‘in-the-moment’ channel. Instagram is now taking this well-trained demographic and encouraging them to take their skills elsewhere, onto their own platform. Kind of clever, no? Let’s break down Stories between both apps.
- Camera is launched as soon as the app is open, suggesting users create content before viewing other Stories
- Encourages users to create native content, although their new Memories feature now allows for pre-made content
- Stories are available for 24 hours and may be re-played
- Users may see who has viewed their Story
- Stories created in the app can be saved by the user
- Geofilters, stickers, and facial recognition filters are available
- Stories are displayed in a fixed bar at the top of the news feed when the app is opened. Users can swipe horizontally through Stories before moving on the familiar vertical scrolling of Instagram’s regular news feed
- Allows users to upload content from their devices, as long as it was added to the camera roll within 24 hours of uploading
- Stories can be re-played within 24 hours of posting
- Users can save their Story slides to their devices
- Ability to pause Stories by holding down the screen
Audience & Reach
Launched in September 2011, Snapchat currently has 150 million users daily with the majority of users between the ages of 16 to 24. The app has long been winning over a younger demographic, especially with their specialized facial recognition filter captivating crowds by constantly pumping out new, quirky and sometimes terrifying filters. The trouble is, even if you are creating great content for Snapchat, it will only be seen by those who follow your account and it can be difficult to build up a following on a new platform from scratch.
Brands have been using stories to creatively showcase behind-the-scenes footage for a glimpse into the work they do and their company culture. However, it can be tough to gauge if the platform is a powerful marketing tool for their business as there is limited quantitative data to measure success. While you can see the number of people who have viewed your story, your story can only be viewed if they have added you as a friend. People can also send you direct messages in response to your story.
Launched in October 2010, Instagram has 300 million users daily with the majority of users between the ages of 16 to 34. The net is cast a bit wider for Instagram, in addition to captivating younger audiences, it’s more popular amongst an older crowd as well.
Other than being able to see the number of people viewing your Story, brands can measure success based on their follower growth or engagement within their own permanent profile feed. Instagram’s anticipated business profiles set to launch in the future will also provide additional useful analytics. Instagram Stories can be viewed by anyone, even if they are not following their account. This is allows brands to reel in new followers by creating engaging Stories and grow their audience. Users can send direct messages in response to a Story, encouraging direct engagement with brands.
Instagram Stories provide brands with an opportunity to deliver timely and engaging content without having to dedicate resources to building a following on another platform. Businesses that have been considering a jump to Snapchat due to its gaining popularity can now engage their already established audiences in a new way – with all of the reward but none of the risk. By showing followers (or non-followers) a live perspective into their company’s day-to-day and overall brand values and culture, in addition to the carefully curated permanent feed, it’s like an all-in-one package for brands, adding more value to the overall community of Instagram.