Over the past few months, you have probably noticed something a little different about your Instagram feed. On August 2nd Instagram launched Instagram Stories, a Snapchat-esque video feature that allows users to create short 10-second videos that last for 24 hours (sounds kind of familiar, right?). Let’s take a look and compare these two video sharing platforms and what the release of Instagram Stories could potentially mean for the future of Snapchat.
Interface and usability: A common complaint amongst new Snapchat users has always been Snapchat’s interface and usability. Users of Instagram Stories have reported that the video sharing platform is user-friendlier than Snapchat, particularly if you are unfamiliar with video sharing apps. It is also significantly easier to add contacts, discover users and browse content on Instagram, and no one can deny that it is quite convenient to have your photo and video sharing on the same platform.
Creativity: Snapchat is the clear winner in this category. Instagram Stories does not have the variety and creativity of filters that Snapchat offers, nor does it offer face mapping, customizable geo filters, motion filters or weather or speed gauges. Snapchat also allows users to layer several filters, thereby creating richer and more engaging content. Currently, Instagram Stories is quite limited in this department, with far fewer filters and features than Snapchat.
Exposure: This is the category that perhaps poses the biggest threat to Snapchat. Instagram has over 500 million users while Snapchat has 150 million users. Therefore just based on this fact alone, if you want to expose your video to a larger audience, then Instagram Stories is probably the route to go. Not only will your video get wider exposure, but even people who are not within your social network will be able to find and view your video.
Demographics: If you are debating whether to utilize Instagram Stories instead of Snapchat, your decision may ultimately come down to who your target demographic is. Snapchat is now the number one app amongst teens in the US and reaches 41% of all 18-34-year-olds. So if teenagers or college students are your target market, then Snapchat is probably your best bet. However, if you’re looking to appeal to a slightly older audience, then Instagram Stories may be your ticket. Instagram is generally viewed as a more mature platform than Snapchat, and an older demographic usually has more dispensable cash and purchasing power.
Instagram Stories will undoubtedly have some effect on Snapchat usage. However, it is still uncertain what the extent of this will be. While both platforms are offering the same product, they each have their unique strengths and appeal to slightly different demographics. According to Business Insider, there has currently been no effect on Snapchat usage since Instagram Stories was launched. Only time will tell if users will remain faithful to Snapchat, or eventually migrate towards Instagram Stories. Ideally, competition between Instagram Stories and Snapchat will breed innovation on both platforms as they continue to evolve and differentiate.