Instagram announces "Stories" - will it hurt Snapchat?

Branding questions to ask yourself in 2018_ What's your big, hairy, goal?-23.png

Our director Jess Thoms breaks down the latest Instagram update.

Instagram has come alive with 24 hour disappearing video stories. Oh wait, doesn’t that sound familiar? Instagram has borrowed (stolen, borrowed?) a major feature from the most popular social media network among teenagers. The functionality that allows users to upload video content in a 24 hour rolling montage of their real time moments on Snapchat — ‘Stories’, is now a key feature of Instagram.

Day in the life of a social media manager yesterday was an interesting time.

Personally, I love the creativity that Snapchat allows. From dog filters, zoom, slow motion, and time stamps — it just makes things a lot more interesting. However, I think it will only be a matter of time before these features are implemented on Instagram stories, especially since Facebook bought video filter app MSQRD earlier this year. While Instagram Stories are still a little clunky, with no super exciting features yet — there are some clear immediate benefits.

Benefits of Instagram Stories:

  • Ability for pre-produced content to be uploaded, and integrated seamlessly into your story (no white border like Snapchat).
  • Ability to tap into your existing Instagram following and have greater engagement with Stories.
  • Influencer’s will definitely win. Higher engagement rates = higher pay packets.
  • More competition for Snapchat is a good thing. This will force them to step up and think about how they take care of their content creators, influencers, and maybe even think about a discover feature? Snapchat — are you listening? Discover feature?

Admittedly, Instagram is where I have my largest following — but after testing Instagram Stories, I received double the engagement than I would receive on my Snapchat Stories. For me — I still love Snapchat and will continue to use it. But for brands, its a serious juggle of whether to now invest in building a Snapchat audience from scratch or just leverage their existing Instagram following to deliver video.

It’s still early days with Instagram Stories (literally, only day two), but here are my suggestions on using the feature:

  • Still maintain your Snapchat Story. If the thought of creating two stories, one for Snapchat, one for Instagram gives you a headache — then just post a replica of your Snapchat Story onto Instagram with the call to action to follow you on Snapchat.
  • Boost engagement by posting a high quality image on your Instagram feed, with a call to action in the caption to watch behind the scenes content on your Instagram Story.
  • Since Instagram has become everyones ‘highlight reel’ with high quality, strategic content — why can’t Instagram Stories be the same? Invest in shortening your long form video content into high quality, punchy 10 second content bites with clear call to actions, and leave the shaky ‘real time’ video for Snapchat. From a user’s perspective, if your consumers are getting the same content from you on Snapchat and Instagram — there’s no clear purpose of why you are delivering the content on both Stories — unless there’s a clear call to action to follow you on Snapchat.