What was once a feature exclusive to Snapchat—the Story—has now been co-opted across social media platforms.
Most recently it was copied by Instagram (along with its parent company Facebook), and it's no surprise that the Instagram Story function skyrocketed in popularity due to the photo-sharing network's huge global audience. And with both WhatsApp and Skype also introducing their own versions of Stories, it would appear that the Story feature has became an absolute must for almost any platform to compete in today's competitive social and app marketplace.
So who is winning the Story race? Are consumers on board? And what's next—a Story feature in Excel?
Charged Tech Editor Owen Williams shares his personal experience and the shift he’s noticed among his friends: “Half of the stories I drop into on Snapchat these days are these people asking me to follow on Instagram too, and if they’re not shifted entirely already, they’re definitely loading the same pictures into both platforms already... I think this, at its core, has always been Snapchat’s problem. When you added a friend on Snap, it felt like you were performing an intimate ritual — it’s almost like letting someone into your underwear drawer — and feels like a big deal.”
The Winning Formula
So how does Instagram do Stories differently? According to Business Insider, Instagram has managed to not just diligently “copy-paste” Snapchat’s Story feature but also strengthen it by combining glossy photos in the feed, with the raw, real life stuff in Stories.
Couple that with its 700 million users, perhaps Instagram has the winning formula.
TechCrunch’s stats provide additional proof of Instagram’s lead in this race: “In the 25 weeks since launch, Instagram Stories has reached 150 million daily users. That’s the same number of users that Snapchat’s whole app reportedly hit around June 2016, after seeing swift growth from 110 million daily users in December 2015.”
The Influencer Element
Influencers also played a substantial role in Instagram's dominance over the Stories feature, according to Mike Albanese, CEO of social talent media company Galore.
“Influencers that were late to build an audience on Snapchat pretty much abandoned the platform because it was so much easier for them to reach more people through their existing audience on Instagram Stories.”
Meanwhile, creative studio and video analytics company Delmondo analyzed 21,500 stories from July to November 2016 and saw average unique viewers for Snapchat Stories decrease by 40%. See graphic at right for visualization.
Could a new flower crown filter save Snapchat? Or is it time to stop mourning over Vine and wave goodbye to Snapchat’s once-bright future?
It's Not over Until the Puppy Filter (Actually) Disappears
Baldwin Cunningham, VP of Strategy at Brit + Co, warns us not to be so quick in our judgement.
“To start, there is some question as to how Facebook is measuring Instagram Stories DAUs [Daily Active Users], which could make those numbers seem higher than they are. In addition, Snapchat still has impressive engagement metrics: The average Snapchat user spends around half an hour on the app per day and 60% of users create content, according to Business Insider. In contrast, the average Instagram user spends 15 minutes per day within the app, and the activity is mostly browsing.”
Fair argument, and only time will tell what's in store for the social media darlings of Gen Y and Gen Z.
Meanwhile, as we were working on this post, Instagram launched Location Stories (essentially an aggregation of Stories tagged at specific locations within the app) on top of new lenses/filters, Instagram Live and even stickers..
We're not big gamblers but which Story feature keeps you coming back—Snapchat or Instagram? Tell us in the comments!
- Ceren and Mila // Team AG