The unfolding Instagram versus Snapchat story

Instagram Stories
As Instagram Stories has been in the wild for some time now, let’s take a look at how it’s been keeping up with the pack.

It was a surprise at first to see the platform steer away from its single-minded focus on high-quality curated content, and instead allow users to post off-the-cuff photos and videos. But within just a few weeks of the Stories launch, 100 million users created a photo or video ‘story’ of their day. Twenty-four hours later, their stories disappeared into the abyss.

The lovely thing about Stories is that it’s spontaneous and silly. It creates a place for content that you feel is too puerile to fit in amongst the beautifully shot and edited photography within your newsfeed. And even better, it doesn’t clutter up your profile, which you have undoubtedly spent time prettifying.

Sound familiar? Of course, Instagram Stories is quite the copycat of Snapchat Stories, which was released back in 2013.

“Take a look at how brands have been embracing Instagram Stories.”

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When asked about this in an interview, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom agreed that Snapchat deserves the credit for the feature, but insisted, ‘This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.’

Many agree with him. When Bing and Yahoo launched – in essence, copying Google’s search engine – was there a big hoo-ha? No, because we have a free market economy, and if you can do something better than your competitor, go for it.

Judging by the uptake, brands, celebs and bloggers have embraced the new feature with open arms. ‘Stories’ are cropping up left, right and centre. Even the most unlikely of brands are early adopters. For example, CBS News has just announced a new partnership with Instagram that will make it the first network to feature Instagram Stories in live coverage during the upcoming presidential debates. It seems that Stories has opened up an exciting new format for brands that otherwise wouldn’t operate in the Snapchat-a-sphere.

There is no denying that Instagram has a larger audience; the platform currently has around 300 million daily users, whereas Snapchat has only 150 million. For advertisers, this means Instagram offers twice as much potential reach. And the proof is in the pudding. A recent video Nike posted on Instagram Stories received 800K views, whereas their top-performing video on Snapchat had only 66K.

When comparing bells and whistles, however, Snapchat does win the race. While Instagram’s features are currently limited to emojis, crayons, shapes and colours, Snapchat has a vast array of gimmicky face swaps and endless other filters and lenses. Instagram may well roll out more features like this, but only the future will tell.

So now that brands and ‘normal folk’ alike have welcomed Instagram Stories, who is using it in the most creative and engaging way? Here are just a few of my favourites...

The Whole Food Diary

Foodie bloggers are using the new feature for recipes and inspiration.
Instagram Stories - Whole Foods

Net-a-Porter

Fashion brands are using ‘Stories’ for live coverage of international fashion events, such as New York Fashion Week.
Instagram Stories - Net-a-Porter

Instagram

Of course, Instagram is using Stories to showcase some pretty cool stuff. Last week a member of their social team attended the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington DC.
Instagram Stories - Instagram image
Only time will tell whether brands are adopting it because it’s the newest toy to play with. Ultimately, those that are successful on the platform will be those that use it carefully and cleverly to enhance their customer relationships and run activity that ties back to channel and business objectives.

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Anushka Kandola
Junior Social Media Creative

We only have a few seconds to engage users on social, and creativity is how we do this.

More crm life blog posts by Anushka