Instagram Stories and the implication for Snapchat Stories

Brook Bentley

Brook Bentley

This NNBW column features tips on using social media to boost business.

Snapchat, a mobile messaging application used to share photos, videos, text, and drawings, had the corner across social media with their Stories function until earlier this month. A Snapchat Story is a photo or video (up to 10 seconds) you post to your story section, which is visible to your friends and disappears after 24 hours. Facebook-owned, Instagram launched Instagram Stories on Aug. 2, which allows users to share photos and videos that won’t appear on your profile grid or feed, just in Stories, and will disappear after 24 hours.

Sounds pretty similar, right? Snapchat launched in 2011 and took a true Silicon Valley approach in that they focused on growth first and monetization later. Instagram launched in 2010 and is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service.

While Snapchat may reach more Millennials, Instagram has more users overall. Snapchat reports over 100 million people use Snapchat every day, while Instagram reports more than 300 million daily users. With Instagram’s story launch they may have provided the best of both worlds with the live-ish content of Snapchat as well as the traditional static business profile.

Reports indicated that both Instagram and Facebook have seen a decline in sharing, which may be part of the reason they are trying to replicate what Snapchat is doing. Facebook also tried to buy Snapchat in 2013 and has released attempts like Poke and Slingshot to compete with Snapchat, but has yet to succeed.

Instagram is branching out a bit with their Snapchat like Stories feature by allowing a user to share a story with a specific group of friends instead of all their friends. They also have a feature where tapping the left of the screen while watching a story will rewind; again, not a current option on Snapchat. Otherwise the two Story options are very similar.

Right out of the gate, it seemed like there was a lot of question as to why Instagram was copying Snapchat but moving forward, Instagram may step ahead partially due to their resource pool. The access to Facebook and Instagram data is something Snapchat can’t touch.

Algorithms help social media platforms uphold some control over user experience in their apps. One way this may benefit the Instagram Story model is by pulling the most interesting stories to the surface for users. While some sources say Snapchat may be developing an algorithm for its’ feed the details are unknown. Snapchat currently organizes their story in reverse chronological order.

Brands looking to advertise on Instagram Stories may find the algorithmically-driven Stories platform more attractive, but for now Instagram is not running ads on its Stories feed, unlike Snapchat who incorporated ads earlier this year.

Since the beginning of the year social media giants have been rolling out everything from new algorithms to new advertising platforms and the trend of video is holding strong. Live video seems to be gaining traction too. Facebook now has Livestream, Snapchat has existed around instant video sharing and, while Instagram has had video in some capacity, it has now joined the Stories conversation and could possibly take the lead.

Brook Bentley is the digital content manager for the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.


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