Is Instagram's new 'Stories' feature a Snapchat killer? Probably not - it'd be extremely difficult to convince 150 million of the most loyal daily active users to switch platforms overnight. But, we may have just witnessed the start of a further push by Facebook to grab more land in the video messaging space - and that's worth noting, especially for Snapchat.
So what are the implications of Instagram Stories for Snapchat? How they will change the way we use Instagram? How will Snapchat choose to respond?
For Snapchat, the implications of Instagram Stories are two-fold.
- They are now directly competing with another with a major platform
- Innovation is essential
While both of these implications were true before the Instagram Stories announcement, they're more crucial now than ever.
Facebook first tried to buy Snapchat in 2013, when Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel rebuffed a $3 billion cash offer. After that, Facebook attempted to beat Snapchat with an app called 'Poke', then another called 'Slingshot' both of which failed pretty much right out of the gate.
Now, Mark Zuckerberg is hoping that the third time's the charm and that one of his behemoth social networks, Instagram, carries enough weight to steal Story traffic from Snapchat. And wth over 500 million monthly active users (and growing), it's safe to say that a good portion of Instagram users will begin experimenting with Stories. Unlike their other separate app attempts, there's virtually no barrier to entry for Instagram Stories - and Facebook already knows there's already a demand for such an option, Snapchat's proven that.
If you open Instagram, you'll notice that the top of your feed is now reserved for Stories.
That placement is no coincidence - Instagram wants users to interact with Stories and post their own, changing the way their millions of users engage with the platform.
In addition to Snapchat-like videos and photos, you can post slow-motion videos, hyperlapses, and boomerangs to your Instagram Story. You can also draw with neon markers, hide posts from certain people, use filters and emojis, and add captions to your posts.
One of the main differences between Snapchat and Instagram Stories, meanwhile, lies in the option on Instagram to save a Story to your feed. If you have a Story on Instagram you're particularly proud of and don't want to disappear in 24 hours, you can post that Story to your Instagram feed for further viewing. This means that your Stories can be ephemeral or eternal - the choice is yours on Instagram.
Snapchat, to stay relevant, will need to keep innovating. The app's done a fantastic job at staying both fun and quick, but it will need to keep introducing new features now that Instagram is nipping at its heals. With Facebook's recent purchase of MSQRD, it would stand to reason that we'll see those same image altering options showing up on Instagram soon.
Snapchat needs to keep moving forward to stay ahead of the competition - because clearly, Facebook is coming. The company wants to be the leader in messaging (see its purchase of Whatsapp or the partitioning of the Messenger app as a standalone). What it's missing right now is Snapchat's domination of the video messaging space, something it clearly thinks that Instagram can build on in the near future.
Watch for more Snapchat-like improvements coming to Instagram in the coming months as they try to maintain the early momentum of the new feature.