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How Instagram Stories are kicking Snapchat’s Butt


The new Instagram Stories feature hit the social media scene on August 2nd and has been making more of a splash than anyone expected. Instagram stories are photos or videos where you can add text that only appear for a period of 24 hours. Among my own personal network, I’ve noticed a surprisingly consistent decline in Snapchat usage ever since Instagram stories launched. Gone are all the stories from my friends and family, stories of the few celebrities I follow are seem to be the skeletons of what remains. This could also be attributed to the unfortunate timing of launching an anime inspired filter that many thought to be racist and caused multiple brands like Buffer to jump ship from Snapchat. This was the perfect moment for Instagram to creep up and steal the spotlight, while many users were already questioning Snapchat’s values. Although Snapchat removed the filter and made a statement ensuring it wouldn't be put back into rotation, the damage was already done and the opportunity created. 

Here’s how Instagram seized it:

  • Going after growth

One of the main reasons Instagram stories are successful is because they aren’t trying to covert current Snapchat users (even though they may successfully do just that), rather they are going after the ones who haven’t jumped on the Snap bandwagon yet. They aren’t trying to diminish or take over the app and it’s current following, but tackle it’s opportunity for growth. This TechCrunch article does a great job of explaining how they are using the “good enough” strategy, stating that "The real target for Instagram Stories, though, are all the people who've been curious about Snapchat's fun creation tools and format, but either tried and abandoned it, or wrote it off as just for teens or too much work to adopt"

  • One platform

Instagram stories offer the added benefit of being embedded right into Instagram, allowing you to have both features (short term stories and long term photo posting) in just one app. In a world where a new “it” app is popping up every day, and storage space on our cell phones is a constant struggle, this is huge. We already have so many apps to keep up with on a daily basis, adding stories to an app you’re already using anyways simplifies your life, and who would say no to some simplifying? Not me, that’s for sure! Instagram CEO even openly admitted "They (Snapchat) deserve all the credit. This isn't about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it."

  • The numbers

I’ve read multiple articles about how Instagram stories are booming, but I always like to test the theories for myself for multiple reasons:  1) Many of the articles are based out of the US and don’t take into account a Canadian market,  and 2) they usually use large companies as examples for statistics and numbers, which isn’t overly pertinent or accurate when it comes to small business and/or personal branding. On average, my Snapchat stories get between 20-40 views. I would attribute this to many factors, how many friends I have, time of day, content, etc. My very first Instagram story received over 90 views within the first few hours. I’ve been on Snapchat for months, but have been on Instagram for years. It only makes sense to take advantage of the platform you’ve invested more time into building your brand and audience on. Facebook owned Instagram clearly had timing on their side, but also had strategy to back it up to ensure success. Have you used Instagram stories yet? Which social media platform do you think will win the battle to share our stories?