Stories: Instagram vs Snapchat

Instagram Stories vs Snapchat Stories.

Instagram has been on top of the world for quite a few years.The social platform at its peak boasts 500 million users with 300 million of those users utilizing the platform on the daily. Instagram also boasts that 80 percent of their users are outside of the United States making it truly an international platform.This comes without saying but Instagram is still fighting to stay on top.

At the end of 2015 and into 2016, Instagram took the back seat to a social platform that was (and still is) utilized by teens and millenials.  Piper Jaffray holds an annual study amongst teens regarding the most "important" social network to their specific demographic. In 2015, Snapchat was fourth behind Twitter, Facebook, and in first place was Instagram. A year later, Snapchat surpasses all of those platforms and takes the top spot. Snapchat has been working hard.  A good example of that hard work, Snapchat and the NFL announced a multi-year partnership.

People are taking notice and Instagram has as well. 

What Instagram has done to stay on top

Instagram has long been the photo social network. It started out as the "amazing window to the rest of the world" app where users would take amazing images (mostly with their mobile devices) post to the app, and share with the rest of the world.

Soon Instagram got to big for its britches and like all social networks got too noisy. The immense growth of the app included millions of people starting to use it past the original idea of photography and sharing the now, the instant with your audience. It soon began meme heaven like its parent company Facebook.

Instagram made a few major updates where they had to to make sure that they stayed on top. For instance to fend off competitors, Instagram provided the ability to add videos. Concurrently Facebook, did the same to fend off Periscope by implementing the feature of Facebook Live. Instagram also added a few other trick apps such as Hyperlapse and Boomerang. I believe all to combat whatever the trends were (GIFs and the apps that make them) the new trendy thing.

As you can see its a chess game for the players in the social media platform industry.

Enter Snapchat

In 2011 and 2012, Snapchat enters the industry with a bang - again amongst teens. The idea behind the app is the ability to visually communicate in a way that is short-lived. The idea of temporary photo was directly opposite to that of Instagram and the other visually focused apps. In the beginning Snapchat uses "snaps" which are either photos or short 10 second videos. Once posted these snaps would have a short lifespan, usually right after a friend sees it, it automatically gets deleted. The innovative features kept on coming. In 2014, Snapchat introduced Geofilters - stickers that you can add to your snap of a certain location or city. In 2015, the Lens filters and Stories were then added.  The Lens filters utilized face detection technology to throw on awesome filters onto your person while the Stories feature put together your snaps into a story fashion. These features helped propel the app past the teenagers and into the hands of their parents. Then in 2016, Snapchat added Memories which at first came under scrutiny because of it going against the apps core principles.

 Memories allow you to take snaps and save them for later publishing.

The core of Snapchat lies in the short story but the driving force behind the increase in use has been Stories.By letting the user tell a linear story of how they cook a certain dish, a behind the scenes of a photo shoot, an exclusive launch party, a behind the scenes of a professional football training camp - being taken by a football player - all of these story ideas are the strength of Snapchat. 

Snapchat started out as a messaging app and turned itself into a broadcasting app through Stories.

Enter Instagram with...Instagram Stories?!?

Like I said in the beginning, Instagram with its 300 million users sees Snapchat and its 150 million and growing users.

The founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, has even given credit upon launch of their feature, to Snapchat. Within the same breath he also notes that its not what has been invented but the spin you take on the invented.

Well the spin to the naked eye, is very minute. Instagram's Stories is very similar to Snapchat. I mean its similar pixel by pixel. Of course Instagram would adopt these features upon seeing the growing demographic of Snapchat grow. 

The question is: will this help Instagram? Instagram has decreased in its engagement. People are posting less to Instagram and for a social media platform, that's not a good sign. As stated by Jessica Lessin on CNBC, "There are a lot of open questions (with this new feature) and we'll see if it helps by getting that posting number per user back up."

What does this mean for mobile photographers?

First of all, I am a new adopter of Snapchat - like literally only a couple of months. I did not understand how to use it or even saw the value in it until I started to see the numbers and also the engagement.  The user behaviors are totally different. Snapchat is not a place to share your perfect picture like on Instagram. I use Snapchat to share my behind the scenes and my goofy personality. Instagram I use for my portfolio and to refer potential clients to see what I have done for others. 

By adding stories to Instagram, it can be a good place for me to continue showing my behind the scenes work and still keep it semi-serious and show a bit more personality. The thing for Instagram for me is that I have a way larger audience than I do on Snapchat. Snapchat holds a small percentage of that audience and one that I have built relationships with. I can put a funny filter on my face and sing Careless Whisper and not fear losing a potential client.  I don't think I am ready to do that on Instagram without knowing who really is watching.

We will see where this all will lead to. I'll see you on both platforms and feel free to chat or gram me up.