It truly is amazing how things change in the space of a year. At the start of last year, Snapchat was hot property, marketers and influencers were going all in and it appeared that Snapchat couldn’t be stopped. Analysts were predicting 2017 to be the year Snapchat exploded but Instagram had other ideas.
Last week Instagram stories turned 1 year old. This time last year people were blasting Instagram and making fun of them for blatantly ripping off Snapchat. I admit that at first I was surprised at how Instagram had just gone and pulled Snapchat’s key selling point and stuck it on the Instagram platform.
Then after about a day I changed my mindset to, ‘how can I get this to work for me on Instagram?’ It really did feel like the perfect compliment to the feed, while Snapchat had just stories, Instagram now had the stories and a curated feed to go along with it.
A year down the line and it appears people are choosing a clear favourite, I stopped using Snapchat a number of months ago now and went all in on Instagram stories, it felt like the right thing to do at the time and it has since been confirmed as the right move to make.
Some Instagram story stats
Instagram gave us some statistics to mark the occasion of turning a year old. Half of businesses on Instagram produced a story in the last month. Average usage has jumped to 32 minutes per day for those under the age of 25. That is a big dent in Snapchats demographic, the average usage for those over the age of 25 is 24 minutes. Important to note that is just data for time spent in stories, add onto that the time people spend in the main feed too looking at curated content and you got people spending a lot of time on Instagram. Stories also has 250 million daily users in comparison to Snapchats 160 million daily users.
Why is Instagram more appealing?
Quite simply, Instagram got it right. Their pure scale and reach in terms of the community they had already built up before stories meant that they could hook people in fast. The community was already there on Instagram, they just needed to introduce the tools.
Instagram has given influencers and marketers what they want, they have given them business profiles. They have also provided analytics built into the Instagram app, something that marketers and influencers had been crying out for on Snapchat.
Another point that makes Instagram more compelling is that it is owned by social media giant Facebook which means it hooks right into the Facebook ecosystem. That means they are tapping into a platform with one of the best online ad models in terms of value for money right now. There is more data to hand and they can target people more efficiently through Instagram.
Snapchat is the hard sell
Snapchat is somewhat being put back in its box, they are the hard sell. It is so much easier to sell Instagram stories to a client than it is to sell Snapchat to them for a variety of reasons.
- Snapchat is not a sexting app, not by any means but when it comes to a lot of clients when they hear “Snapchat” they think about that app that teens sent nudes to each other. That was back in the early days when Snapchat was first let loose, since then it has been reigned in and brought under control but when you talk to a client they only think of what made the headlines and we can’t hold clients accountable for that!
- It is confusing. I had this conversation with someone just recently a few weeks ago when we were talking about Snapchat. The UI is unlike any other social platform, it is confusing and when people download an app which confuses them then they won’t spend much time trying to adapt to it. When it comes to clients? They have zero interest in something which confuses them, its just not worth their time.
- It just makes more sense for businesses to clamp down on a platform which has it all, more than likely businesses will have heard about Instagram or started their own Insta page. It just doesn’t make sense for them to get started on Snapchat creating story content which would make more sense living on their Instagram platform.
Is there any hope for Snapchat at all?
There is hope, just not a lot of it right now. Snapchat is being hit hard by Instagram, I really didn’t expect Instagram stories to take the strides it did. Snapchat has rolled out Snapchat Ad Manager which has a unified dashboard for metrics, choosing objectives, targeting and mobile monitoring.
The problem is that it has just come too late, the organic scale on Snapchat just isn’t there. Snapchat have acknowledged this but there seems to be no solutions present to creating that ability to scale organically. As far as the numbers go, Instagram has managed to stop Snapchat dead.
Snapchat shouldn’t be ruled out as they continue to produce new tools and competition between the two should encourage innovation however it can’t be denied that they are really facing an uphill battle.
I have noticed myself people have been jumping ship over the past number of months. People who were creating at scale on Snapchat have jumped over to Instagram and when I log into Snapchat the content is just bare in comparison. Instagram’s scale, discoverability and interaction just makes it the more appealing option to users.
Their stock is staggering as a miserable summer on the market continues. They are currently down 25% on their initial share price and 50% down on their highest market share price. Investor concern is piling up for Snapchat as they try to keep pace.
No doubt the two platforms will continue to push each other over the coming months and maybe longer but people won’t swing back and forth between the two so Snapchat has a lot of work to do.
Should you still be trying to crush on Snapchat?
I mean its up to you, who your demographic is and how well Snapchat is going for you but all the data says no. One thing that I always preach is to play where the attention is, attention is key, it is what we are fighting for on social media. Market in the year you live in, if you are working hard on Snapchat stories and you are happy with the return then keep going.
However if you are working hard on Snapchat and paying zero attention to what is happening on Instagram stories then you need to think about your strategy and start looking at what Instagram can do for your business or product. Online publications who are still not on Instagram? Well you guys need to correct that pronto.
Either way, no matter what platform you are on, storytelling in this format is in and its hot. So you really need to be on at least one of them and if you are not on either one yet you could end up being left behind.