Look Past “Copycat Instagram” – Geostickers Are A Big Deal

By @TheMarkDalton

There are still people out there trying to blast “copycat Instagram” particularly over their most recent move which is the launch of geostickers in their stories feature. We have to start looking past the whole Instagram copycat spiel and start looking at how to leverage the platform for our benefit, be it business or personal.

I will admit and I have admitted several times now, when Instagram first launched stories I was like – “woah, this is a direct rip off from Snapchat, what the fuck?” and then after an hour or so I had changed to – “alright, how can I use this as a storytelling tool to grow my content and brand?”

Just months in and Instagram stories has caught up almost to where Snapchat is, Instagram have 150 million story users per day and Snapchat has just over 160 million. Complain all you want about it, Instagram stories is a huge success. Good news for Facebook who have been looking to take on Snapchat after their refused to sell to Zucks. The bad news for Facebook however is that the integration of stories into the main app has pretty much been a disaster with nobody using it on my personal Facebook circle.

As I mentioned from the start, Instagram would have to find the balance of standing apart from Snapchat but at the same time provide the same fun experience of Snapchat. For me, Instagram is a platform I have fallen in love with as it has the full package. Great content in a feed, control over comments, stories, DMs and live. I have noticed a lot of influencers who jumped on Snapchat early last year have been abandoning it somewhat over the past few months and appearing more frequently on Instagram stories.

The week before last, Snapchat went public and had success with their IPO. Facebook sat back, let them have their moment in the limelight and plotted their next move which seems to be going after Snapchat’s geofilters.

When I first reviewed Instagram stories I said that some kind of location based filter would be coming at some point. Then we got a location sticker which has been nice to have but geostickers are beautifully designed stickers based on where you are at that given moment.

They are only available in New York and Jakarta at the moment and Instagram explains them as follows:

“No matter where you are in New York City or Jakarta, you’ll see a custom sticker for that city. You may see other stickers appear when you’re visiting select neighbourhoods and landmarks – each one is designed to match the vibe of the location it represents.”

You can add as many as you like and unlike Snapchat you can adjust the size and placement while combining them with Instagram’s other creative tools. People viewing your story can tap on the geolocation sticker and see more content will show up from that location.

Given how popular Snapchat’s geofilters are, this move makes sense. Snapchat revealed in their S-1 filing that – “on average, more than a billion Snaps with geofilters are viewed on our application each day.”

I have said before that I don’t see Instagram killing Snapchat and I stand by that, however they are taking a much bigger part of the pie than I thought they would. The numbers show that Snapchat is losing momentum from Instagram stories and the apps growth has decelerated from 17% between Q1 and Q2 2016 to 3% in Q3 and Q4 of the same year.

Even though people can moan and groan about Instagram copying Snapchat, the reality is that every time they do it they are hurting Snapchat’s growth and if Facebook can gain a foothold and release tools for stories on Instagram fast before Snapchat gets a hold then they could do real damage.

Snapchat still has value but it is interesting to see some content creators talk about attention in marketing but still not executing with Instagram stories and sticking with just Snapchat because the data tells us attention is shifting. Geostickers are just a reminder to Snapchat that Instagram is hot on their heels.

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