Many organisations are in constant competition with one another and the need to stay one step ahead of the competition is crucial for their survival. Instagram and Snap, formerly known as Snapchat, are no different. But what happens when two organisations offer the same feature? Billions of users start to compare and decide which one is best for them, it’s natural. For organisations, it’s about weighing up the pros and cons of which platform suits their brand personality and hits their target audience in the most effective way possible.
For years now, Snap has laid claim to their story feature, allowing users to take short videos of themselves and share with their friends for 24-hours. With an ever-growing number of features and off-the-cuff content (both for users and advertisers), Snap made a bid to overtake Instagram as the dominant social media platform. It did this by using its ‘vanishing content’ model to encourage everyday users to document experiences without the burden of permanence weighing on their publishing decision and in theory it translates to authenticity and high levels of engagement on the channel. However, with the introduction of ‘Instagram Stories’, Instagram had openly challenged Snap on their own turf.
With the announcement that over 100 million people are already using the new Instagram stories every day, this had caused quite a stir on the internet and sparked debate across the country. Many said that this would signal the end of Snap. After all, the platform was the first to come out with a ‘story’ feature.
On paper, Instagram is more widespread – people have more followers on Instagram than Snap, the age range is wider, targeting age groups up to those in their 40s and 50s and has an even split in gender, whereas Snap users are 70% female with a growing popularity among the younger demographics. For brands, the introduction of the Instagram Stories could be ground-breaking – allowing companies to share authentic videos and photos in a friendly way so as not to feel like an advertisement and to connect with their ever growing followers ‘in the moment’.
It is pretty safe to assume that at least some of the people that may have become Snap users are now more likely to stay on the platforms they know – in this sense, Stories is less about stealing Snap’s audience and more about slowing down its expansion. However, Snap did not appear to be intimidated by Instagram’s announcement of Instagram Stories. Instead, nearly two months later, it has introduced its very first piece of hardware – the Snap Spectacles which feature one of the smallest wireless video cameras in the world built into a pair of popping eyewear.
In the battle to win audience attention, both are seeking their own ways to stand out. For Snap, it is about innovating and developing something new that keeps users coming to their platform, something they can’t get anywhere else – Snap still has the upper hand in the puppy filter category, but it’s only a matter of time before another social media channel re-establishes this feature on theirs. For Instagram, it is about showing users why they should forget the other social media channels, like Snap and stay with them instead, by improving already invented features and developing these for their platform.
By eliminating differences between the two platforms, Instagram ultimately taps into Snap’s under 25 age group, making its platform more appealing to organisations that are interested in targeting a wide as well as younger age group through their marketing communications strategies.
In order for Instagram’s use of Stories to not hinder Snap’s aim for massive growth and expansion, the next move needs to be big, with new offerings, both in terms of innovative advertising options for businesses, as well as on-platform tools including filters and add-ons for consumers – not forgetting the somewhat trendy Snap Spectacles.
The battle for audience domain will eventually be won over time…the question is which one will stand victorious?