Instagram has again silently punched out a new update to it’s users – this time taking a direct swipe at media communication platform Snapchat.
It’s an interesting move by the Facebook-owned platform as they have released almost a direct copy of the highly popular Snapchat platform. But some are already hailing the move as a win for the company.
First, some history and background to this run in.
- Snapchat launched in 2011, since then Facebook has looked to beat the service.
- Facebook launched a similar service; Poke in Dec 2012, but it wasn't used and was closed in 2014
- June 2014 - Facebook launches Slingshot - a messaging system which meant users had to send a photo to look at the photo they had received but the system was shut down in Dec 2015
- July 2014 - Instagram launches Bolt - a standalone app that allowed users to send videos and pictures that could only be viewed once before they were automatically deleted.
- November 2015 - Facebook trials one hour messages that self-delete after an hour.
Facebook, who owns Instagram actually tried to purchase Snapchat back in 2013 for $3 billions, but the CEO Evan Spiegel turned it down. And so fast forward to August 2016, and Instagram launches Instagram Stories.
So Why Is Instagram Stories Better For Your Business?
Just like snapchat the new feature, allows users to upload a short video or picture to the platform. This media is then only viewable for a 24hr period before its automatically deleted, and users can add their own text, drawings and even filters over the top of the picture or video.
Snapchat has always suffered with user visibility and discover-ability – its hard to search and find people. Originally you could search for their username and later on they introduced Snapcodes, but users still find it tricky. But Instagram has a better search facility, so that helps solve that problem.
Instagram is also better established;- an existing user base of 500 million users compares massive to Snapchats just 100 million users - which means that it's easy to swap over to this new feature.
The user base is also typically younger for Snapchat.
53% of Instagram's users are between 18-29, where as Snachat has 71% of it's users falling under 25. This younger audience isn’t always appropriate for businesses to market to;- they don't fall into their target market.
And let’s not forget that Snapchat, from a business perspective, is still trying to overcome its slight notoriety for its more shady past. Business owners often find it difficult to associate their brand with something like this.
Instagram scores another run on the board for it’s design - its been noted by many users as to how much easier the feature is to use than Snapchat. And if we've learnt anything from Apple in the last 10-15 years, it's that design aesthetics matter.
So What Does This All Mean?
All this means that Instagram has positioned itself well to take a significant chunk out of Snapchat's business market, especially when you start to consider Instagram Stories' future use with Facebook’s advertising and marketing algorithms behind the scenes.
Our opinion here at The Beard, is that this new feature will work well for businesses, especially those with established follower-base. It's less confusing, appears more professional and doesn’t require a different account or app. And when it has more financial backing and will surely end up supporting more content and features than it currently has - you can see the attraction for businesses to use it.
The Death of Snapchat?
So this is the end for Snapchat? Probably not, at the time of writing, Instagram stories still doesn’t have a direct messaging feature and the app won’t be lost with an existing established younger market - not only is it established, but younger users will user it for longer as they grow up. At the Beard, we’re expecting personal and business use to expand on Instagram Stories, just at a bigger and faster rate than Snapchat. We believe Instagram Stories is potentially more suited to business use.
Obviously, these are just some initial thoughts on the change. As normal we'd love to hear yours in the comment section below. And as as ever if you would like to chat about how video can help you business, please feel free to get in touch.
Bruce Garrod; reporting on more than just a beard.