August 2nd is the day that Snapchat started sweating bullets.
Instagram’s latest application update has unveiled a powerful new feature: Instagram Stories.
What’s your first reaction?
You may find yourself thinking that Snapchat is already too big and won’t be affected by this Instagram update. At first I thought the same thing.
Then I looked closer and realized…they’re in big trouble.
Snapchat vs. Instagram – Battle to the Death
So what are Instagram Stories? In a nutshell:
- 24-hour expiring videos and photos
- Text on the image
- Drawing on the image
What doesn’t Instagram have compared to Snapchat? Well, it doesn’t have that cool Snapchat feature where the app puts funny filters on your face that make you look like something you’re not, but guess what Facebook acquired a few months back?
(P.S. Facebook owns Instagram)
A little app called MSQRD. You can bet those features are coming to an Instagram Story near you.
Sounds like they’re going toe-to-toe with each other at this point, right? So how could Instagram overthrow Snapchat?
The Power of Business Adoption
One of the biggest problems Snapchat has had is making the platform business friendly. There are a handful of inherent issues with businesses adopting Snapchat:
- Expiring content (it’s painful when you spend a lot of time – and $$$ – producing something that disappears 24 hours later)
- Difficult to reach new potential customers
- Difficult to reach current customers
- Poor analytics
Snapchat is well aware of these issues and is trying very hard to overcome them.
They recently introduced Snapchat memories to help overcome the expiring content issue, and they’ve given businesses the ability to pay for custom geo-filters for a specific location during a specific time frame.
These are good innovations, but not great.
There are also some analytics that come with a paid geo-filter, but they are lacking in many ways. Overall, Snapchat isn’t a platform that attracts marketers, and therefore, money.
Why must businesses adopt a platform in order to ensure it’s success?
Believe it or not, these social media platforms are not charitable organizations. They need to make money!
Of course, they all know they can’t charge the end users for access, so guess who has to foot the bill?
You got it.
If businesses don’t adopt the platform, then there is a high probability that the social network may eventually run out of cashola. And, well, no cash = no social network. You see where this is going.
Why is Instagram poised to dominate Snapchat?
Snapchat is still a fledgling social media startup (in tech years) and they’re trying very hard to figure out how they fit in the whole ecosystem. They know they got the user recipe correct since their user base has exploded in the past 12 months or so, but the business adoption side is lacking.
Instagram, on the other hand, is 100% ready for businesses today.
Having recently released their Instagram Business Profiles with all their advertising glory, Instagram doesn’t have to “figure it out” at this point – they already did. They have businesses 100% on board already. We all know how to Instagram and stories will be an easy thing to pick up as we go.
This could be a rough gig for the Snapchat guys because the millions of businesses out there who have been struggling to figure out Snapchat might quickly give up that battle and make the switch to Instagram Stories. It’s that simple, and it leaves Snapchat without much power at all.
How soon will Instagram replace Snapchat?
Do you all happen to remember a little service called Vine?
I remember very well the day that Instagram released the update that supported videos on their platform, effectively crushing all the hopes and dreams of the Vine fellas.
It seemed that, overnight, Vine became a thing of the past.
Snapchat probably won’t disappear that quickly, as it has a much larger user base than Vine had when Instagram put out a hit on it.
I’d say we’re somewhere in the range of a few weeks to a few months from seeing a dramatic shift in usage from Snapchat to Instagram. Start your clocks.
Will Snapchat survive Instagram Stories?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not 100% doom and gloom for the Snapchat folks.
There is the possibility that they will stay relevant for the long term.
It will require some really fancy footwork on their part to get businesses on board more now than ever. They’ll have to do it in a way that doesn’t sacrifice user experience, and they’ll have to move quickly. Let’s see what they come up with.
What do you think? Is Snapchat going to make it? Tell me in the comments.