While Snapchat’s latest performance report came in better than expected, the pressure on the app doesn’t look like it’ll be easing up anytime soon, with Facebook-owned Instagram working to add in new tools and features, and extend its lead in the social Stories race.
This week, Instagram has confirmed that it’s testing out a new Stories feature which will enable users to share public Instagram posts – either theirs or anyone else’s – direct to their Story in one click.
The option is currently only available to a small group of users, though all users can switch it off via a new setting.
The tool includes a range of presentation settings, including re-sizing, with the background color set to the dominant color of the image.
This is Instagram’s ‘Reshare post to Story’ feature…— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) February 7, 2018
Has a snap-to-align / guidelines feature
Background colour set based on colours in photo?
h/t @zacharyshakked pic.twitter.com/11AZkND55O
As you can see, the original poster’s details are included with the re-used post, and users will also be able to add stickers and other Stories additions to the image when sharing.
It’s an interesting, though not overly ground-breaking option. As noted by TechCrunch, many people have been sharing screenshots of posts anyway, so formalizing the process with an official option doesn’t add a heap functionally, but it does provide another way for users to create Stories content, and generate engagement around Instagram posts.
In addition to this, Instagram's also reportedly testing a ‘Cinemagraph’ option for Stories.
For those wondering, cinemagraphs are images with a section of the image animated, not the whole thing, adding a spark of life to otherwise still shots.
At the same time, Facebook's also reportedly working on a Snap Maps-style tool to make it easier for users to find and view relevant Stories content.
All of these options will add to Facebook’s Stories push, which Mark Zuckerberg himself sees as being the future of social sharing, noting recently that Stories may soon overtake the feed as the primary social interactive option. That’s obviously not great news for Snapchat, but then again, latest data shows that while the use of Stories on Snapchat is slowing, messaging is on the increase, and with Snapchat boosting usage in regions beyond North America, there’s clearly still room for the app the grow and build its audience, even if it can’t directly compete with Facebook on numbers (which, really, no one can).
In a way, it largely comes down to innovation. If Facebook can come up with more interesting, engaging tools for their Snapchat-like options, that could draw more of Snap’s audience over to their apps, which would limit Snap’s growth. But with Facebook also noting that their coming News Feed changes will reduce time spent on the platform – a trend they’re already seeing – maybe that will push more users to other apps. And with messaging on the rise, and Snapchat remaining hugely popular with teens, there still seems like a fairly good window of opportunity for the app.
Facebook's clearly going to make Stories a focus, but that may not continue to have the debilitating impact on Snapchat’s growth as it has appeared to have in the past - though it’ll be interesting to see exactly how the Stories option evolves over time.