Instagram's new story feature is generating massive buzz in the social media and tech world. It's a clear attack on Snapchat and its massive audience segment - the Instagram audience has slowly but surely been fleeing over to Snapchat, snapping away, sharing content, and spending more time on ephemeral content platform.
Instagram's new Stories feature is an attempt to stop the leak and keep users on their site. And there are seven important reasons why Instagram's new feature is actually superior to Snapchat's.
1. An Established Audience
Brands and users have been building their Instagram community for a much longer time than they have on Snapchat.
Most brands have only recently looked at growing their Snapchat audience, however Instagram audiences have been growing since 2010-12, and massively exploded at the start of 2015 - which was also the year when social media influencer Gary Vaynerchuk advised brands to go "all in" on Instagram.
If you took Vaynerchuk's advice and went all in back in 2015, you could easily have over 10,000 followers by now.
Instagram influencer Emelina Spinelli did just that.
2. Easier Growth and Discoverability
Growing your Instagram audience is an easier process than building a Snapchat following.
According to Emelina Spinelli's free Instagram training, there are four daily habits that will help you generate a ton of followers.
- Use 30 hashtags on every photo to get more exposure (according to Neil Patel, this is also the optimal number to use).
- Follow 200 people every single day, unfollow those who don't follow back
- Take better photos
- Network your face off and do meet-ups
Instagram unlike Snapchat is a system that can be "gamified" - if we undertake certain daily activities you can see consistent daily growth.
3. Powerful Advertising Platform
Instagram's owned by Facebook, and as such has access to Facebook's advertising platform. Using Instagram advertising you can target mobile users and deliver high quality powerful ads, generating traffic for around 50 cents a click or less.
If you've never used Facebook/Instagram advertising, I would highly recommend Jon Loomer's blog for everything Facebook. He absolutely kills it, and provides some of the best training around.
4. Deeper Market Penetration
Instagram stories are a play to try to keep that tween market - they want those 13-year-old girls to stay on their platform and keep posting their selfies. That being said, the market penetration among older audiences is also massive. Right now the grandparents of the world are on Facebook. The Mom's and Dad's of the world are on Instagram. The Tweens are of the world are on Snapchat and Instagram.
If the Instagram Stories play is successful and helps Instagram keep a hold on the Tween market, Zuckerberg and Co. will have all market segments fully covered, they'll have a monopoly on the attention economy. The eyeballs of all users will be on their platforms.
5. More Influencers
There are a ton of Instagram influencers.
My totally unscientific guesstimation would say that there's easily 100x-1000x more Instagram influencers than Snapchat equivalents.
Influencers have the attention of their users and can help keep users coming back to a platform - people go to YouTube to get their news from Philip Defranco, for example, than jump on Periscope to watch Geoff Goldberg provide a live tour of NYC.
These Instagram influencers are a vital part to the Instagram game. And now they don't even have to leave the platform to expand their audience further. Instead they can craft their "Snapchat stories" right on Instagram.
6. Cleaner UI
Snapchat's interface can be super confusing if you didn't grow up with it.
Author Douglas Adams has a set of rules when it comes to technology:
- Anything that's in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
- Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
- Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
For those aforementioned souls aged 36 years or older, Snapchat's interface is against the natural order. But Instagram's interface is much cleaner and more natural, there's much less to do and it makes intuitive sense.
Unless you spend massive amounts of time in Snapchat or take a course, the interface can take forever to learn. It seems unnatural, and many will now opt to stick to the familiarity that is Instagram.
7. Clear and Effective Monetization Strategy
Facebook/Instagram... should we just call it Facegram? Either way, the Zuckerberg corporate goliath has monetization down.
The Social Network's massively powerful advertising system works two ways - not only does it keep Facebook's ledgers in the black, it also provides clear and transparent ways for brands to measure their ROI.
When you know that $100 of advertising on Facebook nets you $450 in sales, it's not only easy to continuing investing in the platform, but it creates a desire to feed the beast more.
From personal experience, it can be addictive watching those daily transaction - you actually get excited by how much Facebook's charging your credit card because you know that it will generate much more long term.
Snapchat on the other hand doesn't have a clear and effective monetization strategy. Sure, you can create a cheap custom Geofilter for your event, and if you are a big brand you can splurge and spend $750,000 on a Sponsored Lens. But measuring ROI is much harder on Snapchat.
My newly verified buddy Brian Fanzo - better known as "isocialfanz" - made a geofilter that generated 100,000 impressions for $32 bucks. That's stellar ROI in terms of eyeballs, but it's a much more difficult to track down to how much more business he generated as a result.
Instagram's ad tracking capability is a huge boon for brands and advertisers. If brands and advertisers can't understand the ROI of your platform and won't invest - all the users in the world don't help. Look at tsu for an example of exactly what I mean.
Overall, Instagram might not be successful in their attack on Snapchat. That being said I do see seven significant reasons as to why their Stories feature is already superior to Snapchat's option.