When Instagram took a page out of Snapchat’s book to launch “Stories,” I have to admit, I was skeptical.
But, less than a month after the launch, it appears the new feature is actually pretty popular. Instagram recently announced that more than 100 million people are using the feature every day – that’s a third of its total daily active users and about 50 million shy of Snapchat’s entire daily user base.
So, the early success has me wondering is this just a short-lived reaction to the latest shiny, social media toy? Or, is Instagram on to something that Snapchat might not be able to keep up with?
While I can’t say for sure just yet, I’m starting to think it’s the latter.
Instagram is arguably ahead of the game with a much larger user base; Instagram has approximately double that of Snapchat. While this might not be a significant factor for the casual user (I certainly don’t need millions of other people to see what I’m doing on Friday night), it does provide influencers and brands a significant reason to favor Stories.
Case in point? Nike. In just 24 hours, the brand garnered 800,000 views on an Instagram Story compared to just 66,000 from its top performing Snapchat video.
Taking things a step further, Instagram is rolling out capabilities to discover new Stories, even if you don’t currently follow an account, through its Explore feature. The personalized tab makes it easier for brands to tap into and engage with new, like-minded users, ultimately growing their audiences – something Snapchat has failed to offer.
Snapchat certainly still has a few bright spots. The fun face-mapping filters, geofilters, sponsored options and Live features for trending topics are all enticing, and the doodling capabilities are more advanced than Instagram’s. As Instagram continues to evolve, however, these features may become part of Stories.
Right now, it seems like the two platforms are paving two very distinct paths despite being functionally similar. Stories appears to be made for brands and marketers, while Snapchat is ideal for personal usage.
In terms of recommendations, I’d make for current or future clients, it really comes down to whether or not this is an entirely new initiative for the brand.
Do you have an existing presence on either platform? If yes, keep doing what you’re doing. It doesn’t make sense to abandon either platform all together, yet, and you’ve already put in the time and energy to get it off the ground. Keep fostering the audience you have.
Starting from scratch? Instagram is probably a better bet, depending on your objectives and target audiences. It’s easier to grow an audience and you’ll have the option to keep a consistent feed going through your profile while offering up timely content through Stories, without having to launch two separate platforms.