Instagram Stories launched in August and according to an interview with Instagram’s CEO, already boasts 100 million active users. Considering Snapchat’s total active user base is only 50 million more than that, that’s an impressive rate of adoption for a product that’s only two months old.
Before now, Instagram offered permanence while Snapchat focused on transience. That contrast has always kept each social platform distinct from one another. That is, until the launch of Instagram Stories, which has dramatically blurred those lines.
What is Instagram Stories?
Stories is Instagram’s attempt at taking their picture-based social media service and giving it the ephemeral touch. It’s a bonus feature that collates user pictures and footage into short videos, with the optional addition of text overlays and drawing tools.
Displayed as a slideshow to followers, Stories disappear after 24 hours. Sound familiar? Basically, Instagram have embedded a version of Snapchat into its program.
Why should Instagram copy Snapchat?
It’s a good question. Of the two, Instagram has a lot more users. Around 300 million daily vs 150 million Snapchatters. However, Snapchat plays host to a colossal 10 billion video views per day (up from 2 billion per day in 2015). Why wouldn’t Instagram want a piece of that?
Also, it makes sense for a company to want to snuff out the exclusivity of its nearest rival’s USP. Business is business after all.
Imitation is the sincerest form of… thievery?
No-one at Instagram is denying the intellectual light-fingeredness of their service swipe. On the contrary, CEO Kevin Systrom has credited their rival with the inspiration for the new service.
Yet there are differences between the two. And it may be these finer points that separate the two – while ensuring co-existence – in the long-term.
Instagram Stories are listed by users’ most frequent interactions, as opposed to Snapchat’s chronology; Stories has a public display to its users’ content, Snapchat’s is geared towards privacy and exclusive networks. Subtle differences, but differences nonetheless.
Age before beauty…
Snapchat has a hold on the youth market that Instagram doesn’t have: 60% of Snapchat’s users are under 25 years old. And while Stories has built up an impressive active user base already, there’s currently no suggestion that it’s denting the popularity of Snapchat.
Instagram Stories is a firing shot, certainly. They’re making a play for Snapchat’s user base, which raises the possibility that Snapchat Spectacles, recently reviewed on this site, may be a defensive measure to protect their market share.
However you view it, there’s no denying both platforms are aggressively expanding their reach. This looks like beginning of the battle, not the end.