So Tech Minded: Insta-guap
Incase you missed it the good folks at Instagram (a FB company) launched what some would consider a Snapchat clone. Don’t tell anyone but I actually liked playing around with this new tool and so I thought I’d share some of my observations with you.
Opportunities and Strategy
YouTube: While many are screaming that Snapchat should be scared I actually think our friends at YouTube should be concerned. If you consider the types of content that resides on YouTube one category that comes to mind tutorials. What people often forget is that IG is a part of FB and their product experiences are very integrated. At the moment you can already post to FB via IG. To me this is is an extension of FB creating a comprehensive library of content thus making it your destination of choice in the long term. As content, the video experience and FB’s search evolves we will see more content residing on FB irregardless of length and FB redefining it’s role in the content and communication ecosystem.
Units: For the longest the unit of choice was the JPEG or a photo. Photo has created an abundance of platforms built to collect and showcase this file type of choice. Video is going nowhere and this to me is a renaissance of this its evolving nature. How we collect and share our stories will be a problem that many platforms seek to address and continue to iterate on.
Community: Leveraging the graph and inclusive nature of FB is brilliant — almost everyone is on FB. Your dad, your mom, your cousins and even your grandparents use facebook. While some many of those folks would never consider Snapchat due to its exclusivity and confusion this tool creates an easy transition for a group to engage and use this product. In a nutshell it makes it so they never consider leaving FB island.
Time Spent: The amount of time spent on platforms is seen as valuable for advertisers and investors seeking to place value on a service. When using the new IG interface I realized how much time was spent on scrolling through the stories alone. Given the amount of individuals I follow on IG my stories feed went on for a while. While I could’ve easily scrolled through, the reality is FOMO drives us and the desire to complete and clear our the red circles would drive people to run through all the stories. This is reality is a win for IG. As advertisers seek to justify their heavy investment in social companies will seek to find new ways to share impact and success. Metrics talk.
One Swipe away: One of the points many addressed was that Snapchats UI makes it win the war for being your camera of choice. One of the thoughtful experiences I appreciated in the new IG interface was how simply swiping right enabled the user to open up the camera for sharing. This helps counter arguments that the posting experience on IG makes you shy away from making it your default camera.
Change is Hard: Mental models are hard to change and fix. When I think about the brand of Instagram I think about filtered, put together and glamorous. It’s been hilarious to watch the women that I follow on IG comment on the lack of filters and how their faces felt bare and not camera ready. I think it will be important for IG to create the mechanisms to remind users that this is a safe space. Additionally I think about my curated community. IG pulls mostly from my FB graph and that is a certain community that isn’t often privy to my Snaplife. With this change I wonder how long it will take users to identify and define the IG cadence and brand that fits into their current feed and narrative.
Inconsistent feed: If you haven’t noticed your feed is no longer chronological but it is algorithmic to bring you closer to the content you’re engaging with per IG. While this was tolerable prior to snapGram I worry that users will ignore their main feed altogether after being overwhelmed scrolling through the stories. I already noticed that I haven’t really scrolled through my feed since I’ve had an abundance of content up at the top. Given the inconsistent nature of my feed I no longer have a draw of FOMO or getting to this ASAP since i’m unaware of the posting cadence of my feed. While the algorithm may refine itself overtime this may pose an engagement issue in the interim.
Collaborate: One of my favorite aspects of IG is he creative inspiration I garner through discovery. At the same time IG leaves much to be desired from curation and organizing content.
In the future I’d love to see an investment in the communities and sub cultures on Instagram. Hair, fitness and beauty thrives on Instagram. On IG I’ve learned how to braid my hair, I’ve been motivated to create healthier eating habits and I’ve connected to some of my new favorite brands. It would have been awesome to see collaborative feeds or better group messaging to cultivate a space where I can go back and organize my inspiration.
Regram: Dear Instagram, When oh when are you going to buy or create a tool for users to repost content? As graphs continue to expand and new networks are formed users will want to share or engage. How can we package and create content that doesn’t exist on one feed but content that can travel to new spaces and networks.
Mute: I think this is self explanatory.
They’re a common saying “if you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product”. The reality is our digital stories and brands are being packaged in the most useful and optimized way for companies and advertisers to engage with. While our frustrations make homes in think pieces and articles the reality is we’re just along for the ride in a greater ecosystem.