Instagram, the Facebook-owned company, released a new update this week that is making headlines. The reason: the update looks similar to Snapchat. Not just a little but a lot.
For some people, it feels like complete theft. For others, it seems like an awesome update. Either way, it has happened, and the results are worth pointing out.
Instagram’s massive user-base is one major benefit the app will receive. Earlier this year they announced that they reached over 400 million users. Their growth has been substantial over the past few years and is increasing at a high rate. Also, Instagram potentially gains back users who were slowly switching to Snapchat. Especially the younger crowd of 12-22 years old.
A disadvantage Instagram may face will be a temporary hit to brand valuation and trust. Take the authentic feel that Instagram gives users and consider how people interpret the brand. This update, for some people, may devalue the brand. This won’t happen in real life, but it may occur in the perspective of a portion of users.
Overall, I think the update is fantastic. It makes one platform posses various, clearly defined formats of communication. In the same way, we use Snapchat for quick, 24-hour content and Facebook because everyone we know is on Facebook. We can now use Instagram for more than a ‘professional’ gallery. Instagram offers the options to post to your feed, DM people, and give people live updates with Instagram Stories.
In the coming weeks, we will most likely see updates that make Instagram Stories better with the integration of geo-filters, additional filters, and downloading entire stories to your device. Plus, I can see improvements to the direct messaging feature of Stories. And maybe Stories may get more people on Snapchat. Think about this: many people between 34-55 who are comfortable with Instagram may become more comfortable with Snapchat as they have the opportunity to play with the same UI.
Will I use both? Possibly. It’s hard to document the same moment on two apps (for now).
My favorite part of Stories? The ability to connect with people from all around the world. This morning at 630 AM I got to experience life in Paris, Indonesia, Singapore, and Germany. It's much simpler than Snapchat too because I could stumble upon impressive profiles and watch their Story the day I meet them. Right now, you cannot do that on Snapchat.