Instagram’s in it to win it, no matter the price. But hey, don’t hate the player, hate the game, right? So, let’s go over what exactly happened from beginning to end. It all was nice and fine until Instagram shamelessly copied what was arguably Snapchat’s most prominent feature – Stories, without even bothering to come up with a unique name. It happened in August 2016, almost 3 years after Snapchat came up with the concept. Since then, Snapchat growth dropped by astounding 82% with Instagram stories having 200 million users while Snapchat was left behind with around 160 million. And that was just the start.
It is worth mentioning that Facebook – Instagram’s parent company – offered to buy Snapchat back in 2014 for mere 3 billion dollars, which they kindly declined. So one could argue that this is, at least partially, their answer to being turned down, and Facebook apparently really, really doesn’t like being rejected. So, even though pretty much everyone agreed that straight up stealing Snapchat’s feature was a less-than-graceful move, people started migrating to Instagram pretty swiftly.
A solid indicator of just how lethal Instagram’s move to Snapchat is, could be a notion that influencers gladly choose Instagram Stories over Snapchat. Mediakix provided a report stating that influencers post more stories on Instagram 25 out of 30 days. Their sample of 12 social media influencers showed that they use Instagram 25% more than Snapchat on daily basis. Here you can find a detailed infographic that goes into the nitty gritty of it all. And as if copying Stories wasn’t enough, Instagram included ephemeral messages in their Direct Messages feature, making in a carbon copy of Snapchat’s idea.
But Stories aren’t the only feature Instagram snatched. Next up was the Location Filters, with which they lagged around 2 years (notice how they need less and less time to copy things?). Adding fun overlay to the snaps you post depending where you are in the world was something of which Snapchat was surely proud. But with Instagram having incomparably more advanced technology and virtually unlimited money supply, it didn’t take them long to copy this aspect from the small guy.
Even less time – around 1 year – was needed for Instagram to copy the Augmented Reality feature. You can now add stickers to moving objects on Instagram, just like you can with Snapchat. Seeing all those flower crowns and rabbit ears for which Snapchat was so widely known was something Instagram wanted here and now. So they decided they want users to be able to include various bits and bobs on their motion pictures that will then move alongside captured objects. The technology behind this feature is allegedly not exactly rocket science, so potential diversity in using it is more or less infinite.
The very last piece of the puzzle happened just recently, as Instagram enrolled the Create-Your-Own-Sticker feature in April 2017, only 4 months after Snapchat introduced it. The feature enables you to create your very own, very personal stickers and embellish your posts in the most unique way possible. It may not be as substantial as the previous ones but it just adds that final drop in the bucket.
Snapchat can’t do much in response to all of this, since, as we’ve mentioned, it is way behind the giant in terms of resources. They did, however, pull a pretty neat April Fool’s joke on Instagram by creating a temporary filter that makes your posts look like they’re posted on Instagram, with only the header saying “Snapchat” and not “Instagram”. It’s not much, but it is fairly salty, no doubt. Here’s how that looked like, in case you missed it:
With all this said, there still is something that just might stop Instagram from completely crushing the little white ghost. According to App Annie, there are as much as 46% unique users on Snapchat that cannot be found on Instagram, meaning they have a pretty faithful fan base that cannot be reached anywhere else. In addition to this, millennials aged 18-24 are extremely engaged, spending 25-30 minutes on Snapchat on daily basis and checking the app as many as 20 times a day on average.
Since they need the resources ever so desperately, Snapchat is working hard on pushing the in-app advertising, which – admittedly – is bugging many of their users. So for now it looks like the make or break point will be managing to strike the perfect balance between staying youth’s favorite and being revenue-friendly. All that is left for us to do now is sit back and see how Snapchat handles Goliath they’re fighting.
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