Performance Marketing Expert

Instagram Stories and Snapchat Battle for Marketers’ Attention

Instagram, the dominant picture sharing platform, recently released a story feature that is eerily similar to Snapchat’s stories feature. This feature allows users to post casual, day-to-day photos and videos that are only viewable for 24 hours. The platform originally served a place for users to share only high quality photos and highlights from personal life events. Now, (as if we needed another place for selfies) its latest installation allows users to post snapshots of their experiences much more informally. This concept is not revolutionary. In fact, it is a carbon copy of the very popular Snapchat app. Even Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom clearly credits Snapchat for the idea. Below, we explore the differences and similarities of Instagram and Snapchat and how the latest release can benefit marketers.

What’s the difference between Instagram Stories and Snapchat?

Instagram’s implementation is much more user-friendly than Snapchat, as it caters to a slightly older audience. According to Business Insider, half of all of Instagram users are over 34 years of age, as opposed to 30 percent of Snapchat users. Instagram is not necessarily looking to compete for the same audience as Snapchat, but rather attempting to source the untapped Baby Boomer demographic, while centralizing an all-in-one photo-sharing app into a single platform. While Snapchat requires users to know the exact handle or phone number associated with the company they are looking for, Instagram makes brands much easier to find. As such, Snapchat tends to be geared more toward friends and family, whereas brands are able to establish a more pronounced presence on Instagram. Additionally, for the brands with large Instagram followings, Instagram Stories are a great way to gain organic exposure.

What does this mean for the future of Snapchat?

Marketers are questioning if people will abandon Snapchat entirely. The truth? Only time will tell. Snapchat still has the advantages of allowing brands to use geotags, screenshot alerts, and direct snaps to individuals — not to mention its 150 million daily user base. Instagram, however, has an even wider audience for this feature, with an average of 300 million daily active users. This addition to Instagram will likely drive more daily traffic to the app and increase user interaction as people watch stories from their friends and family, while posting their own daily updates. If Instagram continues to follow in Snapchat’s footsteps by adding geotags, paid story ads, and promoted stories, then Snapchat is significantly more vulnerable to being rendered irrelevant.

What’s the opportunity for marketers?

Instagram Stories means more user data – for both Facebook and Instagram – that can be utilized for improved targeting (think: vacation pictures and geo-targeted tourism promos). User-generated content will greatly expand daily location updates and activities individuals are participating in, thus allowing marketers to be even more granular in their audience segmentation efforts.

Additionally, because Instagram is more search friendly, it’s also more brand friendly, opening the possibilities for brands to create more conversations with their audiences. Marketers can share content that provides an “inside look” at new products or behind the scenes videos and photos at events, giving an advantage to their closest followers. As an added bonus, the feature will allow brands to be in constant communication with their audiences in a socially appropriate and non invasive way.

If Instagram continues down the path paved by Snapchat, it’s safe to assume that promoted stories and paid ads will soon be entering the Instagram playing field.

For more information on Instagram Stories, or to get help with your brand’s strategy, contact Rise Interactive.

08/17/2016 at 08:13