If your first thought is “Isn’t this exactly like Snapchat’s story?” Well, then you’re right. It is.
Instagram has made no effort to hide the copycat factor as they rolled out their stories function yesterday evening. They’re promoting the new feature with a sleek and vibrant 60 second, high-energy video. Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom was quoted as saying “They (Snapchat) deserve all the credit…This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.” Even if you don’t love Instagram’s copying, you certainly have to respect the honesty.
So how does it work? Again, just like Snapchat… but they use the familiarity to their advantage. At the top of your home page in the app, you can see a small plus button to add a story, displayed nicely alongside your current feed of other user’s stories. When your friends, celebrities, and brands have new content available, their profile photo will be highlighted with a colorful ring around it.
People now have the ability to share a higher volume of moments that appear together in the format of a slideshow, without the risk of “over-posting.” Pictures and videos, which can be creatively modified with drawing and text tools, disappear from the feed after 24 hours.
One unique, early advantage that Instagram has over a Snapchat is the ability to limit who sees your Story. Users can easily hide portions of their story (or the whole thing) from any followers who they don’t wish to share with.
Moving forward, how will this direct competition with Snapchat play out? We don’t want to play Nostradamus here, but we think it’s reasonable to assume that Instagram will put forth an effort to keep hard statistics about stories as they gain traction with the new feature. This could give them a distinct edge, as the biggest qualm from brands and marketers on Snapchat is the lack of data analytics.Ultimately, though, a better platform means nothing if it doesn’t have the eyeballs. Only time will tell whether users are willing to post stories to both platforms, or if people will feel the need to choose just one stream on which to focus their time and energy.