Settling the Stories: Snapchat vs. Instagram

On Tuesday, Instagram announced a new feature to their platform called Stories. It allows users to upload a short clip of themselves in-the-moment (think car ride to practice, a walk in the park, at the dinner table unwilling to finish your broccoli, etc.). It can last for up to 10 seconds per clip and you can also add filters to your short clip. It’s raw. It’s real. It totally challenges the whole notion behind social media just simply presenting your ‘best self’ as if nothing bad or unfortunate ever happens to you.

The best part is that there’s nothing else out there like it. It’s a totally unique, one-of-kind, mountain-moving feature.

Oh…wait…

‘So it’s like Snapchat?’ is probably the statement you’ve been hearing from colleagues and friends for most of the week. The very mission of Snapchat is exactly what Instagram Stories has just deployed; to catch those in-between moments that are genuine and unscripted. Snapchat needs little introduction. It’s the same company that has turned down offers of around $4 Billion from the likes of Google and Facebook over the years (which have turned out to be wise decisions with CEO Evan Spiegel’s company currently valued at $20 Billion).

So did Instagram do anything wrong here? Absolutely not. For a tech company to sustain, especially as a social network, it has to be more than a feature. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom isn’t trying to hide the fact that Snapchat came out with the idea first. In a recent article by TechCrunch, Systrom was quoted, “Totally. They (Snapchat) deserve all the credit.”

Why Instagram Has the Advantage

When it comes to social networks, they’re only as powerful as their user base. Daily Active Users (DAUs) is a metric that investors and brands absolutely fall in love with because the money follows the users. In a report developed earlier this year by We Are Social, Instagram is labeled with having *double* the DAUs at 400M than Snapchat. Additionally, in this same report, it was also mentioned that Instagram also beat out their Stories competitor with users spending an average of 23% more time (21 minutes vs. 17 minutes) on the platform as well.

Putting these stats to use, Nike has been one of the first major brands to reap the benefits of Instagram’s newest update. According to AdAge, when Nike posted their first Story on Tuesday, it generated nearly 900,000 views in a single day. On Snapchat’s best day, the brand garnered less than 10% of that.

Will first-to-market advantage come into play? Time will tell, and interestingly enough the announcement was made just days before the world comes together in support of the Olympics (point: Insta). We’ll see more behind-the-scenes (BTS) and first hand point-of-view (POV) pictures and Stories from athletes, teams, and fans than we’ve ever experienced before. Q&A’s, around Athletes Village, and before and after competition will be heavily focused on. I’m guessing sometime over the course of the Olympics we’ll see filters from a major brands available on both platforms that will really start to heat things up. The user stats that will be pulled from these Games will later be used by either side’s Business Development teams to ultimately present the pitch, ‘see, we’re better.’

The real winners are us, the users. For the rich content is endless and is what satisfies our desires to get as close to the action as possible. So regardless if your favorite athlete that’s representing your home country takes home the gold, rest assured you’ve already won before the opening ceremonies.

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