Instagram and the Stories Safety Net

Photo Credit: AdamPrzezdziek

When Snapchat first arrived on the scene, it was intriguing. The notion of transient moments sequenced into disappearing timelines called Stories. From the beginning it has been a massive draw for an army of consumers. Naturally, marketers were intrigued.

What’s not to like about Snapchat? It sings the marketer’s siren song, a perfect blend of millennials, creativity and reach. The courageous, and well-funded, early adopters were ready, willing and able to part ways with hundreds of thousands of dollars to be the first to market on this new platform.

Does it win awards, yep. Does it perform, pretty much. Does it deliver, who knows? The challenge with Snapchat for many brands is strategic, not tactical — not that production is that easy, either. Thinking in disposable moments requires optimal creativity and lacks the traditional trappings marketers have come to rely on to measure their effectiveness. Until now.

Today, you don’t have to get your Stories from just Snapchat. In fact, with 166M users, it’s not even the biggest on the block. Instagram Stories recently passed Snapchat for the top spot with its 200M daily viewers. But the Instagram angle is interesting not because of their size, but because it brings forth a powerful consumer, developer and advertising ecosystems with it.

“Instagram is a better place than Facebook for lenses,” the ad buyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity after working with Snapchat and Facebook on their ad experiments. “The way people use Instagram, it’s just more of a camera app.” […]
Still, the more ubiquitous lenses become, the less power they have, which could be a problem for Snapchat.
Snapchat charges a high price for its lenses, while Facebook debuted its lenses with a free test. Also, Facebook now has a platform for developers to build augmented reality experiences for its camera, compared with Snapchat’s more closed ecosystem.
Source: AdAge, “How Instagram Selfie Filters Could Ding Snap’s Ad Business

Does this mean brand are finally ready for exploding content? Of course, not. But at least they’ve got the training wheels to give them the confidence to experiment at a new scale. And the power to experiment is the power to do anything.


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Gregarious Narain is a serial entrepreneur and product strategist. A reformed designer and developer, he writes on his experiences as a founder, strategist, and father on the regular. Connect with him on LinkedIn or say hi on Twitter.

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