Snapchat – you’ve got some competition.
Instagram’s new “Instagram Stories” now allows users to post in the 24-hour ephemeral cycle that Snapchat’s made famous. Here’s how it works: without showing up in your feed / permanent Instagram grid, you can record several pieces of content that will display in your 24-hour story. The top of your Instagram feed will now feature your friends’ most updated stories. To view someone’s story, click on their profile picture either on their page or at the top of your feed.
But beyond the “how” is the “why” – specifically, why would Instagram introduce Stories? Is it a good thing? A bad thing? Neither? Both?
To answer that question, we called upon our own. From thoughts that audiences should treat Insta Stories completely differently than Snaps, to the potential decrease of new Snapchat users, to the possible increase in demand for behind-the-scenes looks at those polished Instagram posts, check out what three DEVIANTs had to say on the matter:
Mary Somyak, Strategic Analyst:
I am somewhat torn on the concept of Instagram Stories. My snap judgment (pun intended) was to hate it and pledge my allegiance to my ephemeral and unpolished pal, Snapchat. However, after some thought and experimentation, I can see why a user or a brand could want to use Instagram Stories, and to use them differently than Snapchat Stories.
In general I dislike sharing the same piece of content across channels as I think that each channel serves a different function for the various audiences they reach. I enjoy consuming different content from friends and brands across channels. That being said, myself and our SOCIALDEVIANT clients do not know who our Snapchat audiences are per se, except for the views we can see on our Stories. From a personal level, given the number of views my Snapchat Stories currently receive in comparison to my Instagram audience and engagement, I reach more people through Instagram. I argue that most brands would agree that having this knowledge is easier to swallow, and if brands are already established on Instagram they may be more willing to test out content and this format than on the somewhat uncharted and unregulated territory of Snapchat.
So will I use Instagram Stories? Maybe. Will brands? Some have already started. How will it impact strategy and content development? I’m curious to find out, but I believe that if users and brands use Snapchat Stories they should challenge themselves to create different stories for their Instagram audiences. Namely, produce content you know your current Instagram audience will enjoy via Stories and your feed, and continue to test new forms of expression on Snapchat.
Steve Mariani, Content Strategist:
The launch of Instagram stories is a nod to the platform acknowledging that users are consuming first (and posting second) on the photo sharing app. On the other hand, Snapchat opens on the photo/video screen – encouraging users to share content to their story or directly to friends and family. It’s your highlights (Instagram) versus your everyday (sometimes uninteresting) moments (Snapchat).
Snapchat, from it’s launch, has been very intentional about its effort to make its interface difficult to navigate – making it the perfect place for teens to play without having their parents watching over them. With Snapchat recently nudging out Instagram for the top social platform among teens, Instagram knew it was time to play in the ephemeral space. From a user perspective, Snapchat will likely see a drop off of new users (those who think they have everything all in one app) – but I don’t believe this will greatly impact teen’s love for Snapchat or overall engagement within the app long-term.
For brand’s advertising on social, the recent move by Instagram could potentially hurt Snapchat quite a bit. Instagram has the audience size, and with its integration with Facebook, the platform provides much more robust targeting and reporting options – something that has troubled advertisers about Snapchat for some time. That being said, Snapchat is still winning in its 1:1 communication, as it integrates direct snaps very well offering brands the potential to connect with their customers 1:1 through photo/video. Instagram’s 1:1 has been clunky at best, isn’t as widely adopted and wasn’t updated in the process of the Instagram stories change.
Jennifer Stuart, Content Strategist:
This isn’t the first time one platform has taken on the functionalities of another platform, and I doubt it will be the last. After the initial Internet freakout, people seem to be embracing and playing around with the new stories feature in Instagram. For me, the design is more intuitive than Snapchat’s. I think people like to share those funny little moments that happen in all of our days that maybe aren’t necessarily picturesque or worthy of saving long term.
Ultimately, I think it’s a cool way to introduce the concept of ephemeral content to a new demographic and add more reasons for users to be on the platform in general. There are definitely users who use both Snapchat and Instagram, but I also think there are several people that prefer one over the other, don’t want to download yet another app, or just use them to communicate different things with different people. Snapchat offers more fun lenses and geofilters right now, while Instagram is keeping it pretty simple, which also plays into the preferences of their user base in a unique way.
It will be a great way to add more color or behind-the-scenes flavor to a brand’s story. Sure, the shot that gets posted permanently on Instagram looks great, but it would also be cool to see the “making of”, “outtakes”, or “bloopers” to enhance the storytelling.