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...