In October of 2013, the social media app Snapchat introduced a new feature called Snapchat Stories. Stories, which contain photos that last 24 hours before disappearing, have become a very popular aspect of Snapchat. About 500 million Stories are created per day.
By March of 2017, Facebook had copied this feature to its own app as well as Instagram and WhatsApp, which it also owns. This was not the first time that Facebook has copied a feature of Snapchat. The two apps also have very similar photo-taking screens.
Because the story feature that Snapchat created was successful, Facebook was inclined to replicate it. This strategy is known as logic of safety. The idea behind it is that something that has succeeded is likely to succeed again, and that it is less risky financially than trying something new.
The success of the story format probably means that in the future it could become commonplace among all social media apps.
As Facebook and Snapchat become more similar, there is the question of which app users will end up using more and which will fall to the wayside. According to one article, if Facebook can get half of its users to leave Snapchat and use its copycat features instead, the future will not look good for Snapchat.
Snapchat is much smaller, but its future is projected to be bright. It is a social media app that is doing well based on its size. Snapchat is supposed to grow 27% this year, with almost one in five Americans using the app.
However, even with this large amount of growth, Snapchat will not reach the level of Facebook Messenger, which will continue to be at the top in the category of chat and messaging apps.
Although public opinion is an important factor affecting which app will be the most successful, it is not the final say. A good example of this is Vine. Even though vine was a media platform that many people enjoyed, it was not successful enough financially and was not able to compete with other similar apps.
In late 2016, Vine was shut down by its parent company Twitter. The main reasons were lack of money and advertising, as well as the fact that the app didn’t catch on as well as was hoped. Even though it was a fairly popular app, it was not profitable enough to warrant its continuation.
In the end, the success of both Facebook and Snapchat will come down to finances and which is able to be more profitable. Both do this mainly through advertising, and Facebook already has the advantage because it is a much larger corporation.
The increasing similarities in social media apps like Snapchat and Facebook is resulting in reduction of diversity among them. As they all become more and more similar looking, it will be interesting to see which ones succeed, and which just don’t catch on.