When Snapchat was launched worldwide in 2011 no one would have thought that the most basic feature it offered in the form of Snapchat stories would be imbibed (some may use the term copy too) quite efficiently by its arch rival and senior in the social media community,Instagram. And it comes as no wonder that netizens all over the world are still not done freaking out over Instagram stories and it being a straight rip-off of Snapchat stories. Basically both Instagram stories and Snapchat now work on the same principle. Both have their respective ‘stories’ displayed for 24 hours and then have them blow off to the wind with no trace whatsoever. Not only this, Instagram hasn’t even changed the name of this new feature and have called it ‘Instagram Stories’; and it couldn’t get any simpler. If imitation with innovation was an art, Instagram would have been the master of it. What’s commendable about Instagram Stories is that it has clearly understood and rectified in those areas where Snapchat failed terribly.
To start with, the user interface of Instagram is much simpler to use. Snapchat has been facing a lot of issues from quite some time related to it being not user friendly. New users on Snapchat usually take hours to get a hang of it and understand all the swiping, poking and shaking they have to do to their smartphones. Instagram has played out really well in this segment as it offers all the stories right at the top of the screen. If you want to add a story, the plus sign at the top is there and from there you can take a picture, video, scribble out words and then post them directly. And all of this disappears completely with no trace after 24 hours. On the same hand, seeing stories has also become quite simple. All the latest stories are displayed right at the top and one can easily swipe right or left to navigate.
Why Instagram Stories can become more popular in the coming days than Snapchat is because the number of users it has is nearly double than Snapchat users which is also why it has more engagement by users. Another added feature of Instagram is the Explore option where it displays pages and content depending on your interests and likes which is not present in Snapchat. But it’s not that Instagram has completely taken the Snapchat world by storm. There are still features on Snapchat that can’t be “imbibed” in Instagram like the filter option it offers. Also there is less clutter on Snapchat as everything disappears right after some time, including messages.
All in, it’s really hard to determine the impact Instagram will have on Snapchat, but it will surely take a big chunk off the advertising money. Other than that, if Snapchat is able to update and make itself easy to use, it might still have a hold of its market base. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Collaborators: Melwyn Mathew and Madhumitha Sundaramurthi