The social media world erupted when Instagram announced its very own “Stories” feature. Consumers have been waiting for the company’s answer to Snapchat, whose popularity has been driven by its departure from the norm with interactive, self-destructing content that allows users to share personal micro-moments without inhibition.
Some say that Instagram outright copied Snapchat, while others say that they are simply improving upon a good idea.
Here’s how Amy Schmittauer, Co-founder of Aftermarq, says the whole thing went down:
Now that we have had time to scrutinize, compare, and analyze this nearly identical feature from these two platforms, it’s time to consider the big picture impact on your brand.
The Business Benefit Behind Instagram Stories
First thing’s first — how many social media channels does your brand publish on? Odds are it’s quite a few. Now, imagine the time and effort your team would save by eliminating one of them.
Instagram makes this idea possible by allowing your brand to create the same — or at least highly similar — content on a platform that you most likely have already established a following on.
So why choose Instagram? On sheer size alone, Instagram is far more appealing, with approximately double the active daily users of Snapchat.
The most compelling example of a global brand already experiencing huge success with Instagram Stories comes from Nike. Shortly after the feature went live, the global icon generated an Instagram Story that received 800,000 views in 24 hours. Compare that to their best video on Snapchat, which only received 66,000 views. It’s expected that Instagram’s advantage in daily users would equate to more views, but how could it have generated over 12 times more than Snapchat?
The answer to this question points to another key advantage for Instagram: deliverability.
In order for users to follow you on Snapchat, they must know your specific username. Because of this, brands are struggling to grow their following on the network because users simply can’t find them.
On Instagram, users can easily search for brands, and do not even have to be followers to see a brand’s content. This creates a decided advantage for Instagram when it comes to getting more reach and engagement out of your content.
The Need for More Content
We at Rivet talk about the need for more content a lot, and for good reason. With the release of new features like Instagram Stories, the need for more and better content grows stronger.
Ask yourself, “Does my brand have enough content to be able to publish Instagram Stories on a daily basis?”
We know that your audience will ignore or block content that doesn’t appeal to them, but when it resonates with them — especially when it’s content that’s generated by users, for users — they develop an insatiable hunger for more.
With interactive features such as the ability to customize and draw on branded content and then share it out, Instagram Stories can be content gold — but only if you can engage your users with them regularly.
After all, your audience does have the attention span of a goldfish.
If your brand has been resistant to adopting a user-generated content strategy, the time to act is now. Expect to see increased growth in UGC publishing, as this will be the only way to scale content production in a way that resonates with consumers.
The Shift in Content Expectations
In the past, content published by your brand was meticulously crafted to meet the perceived standards of your audience. With the increasing need for authenticity, these expectations are quickly changing. Consumers using Instagram Stories are seeking light, intimate content, and are willing to contribute and share their own.
Given this shift in expectations and the need for more content, even branded content can be expected to take on a more user-generated feel.
Content that resonates in Stories will be raw, authentic, and spontaneous. Craig Elimeliah, Director of Creative Technology for North America at VML, sums this idea up by saying, “Less-stylized content can be an effective form of storytelling on a platform that is primarily serving up content that is created by its users.”
While this relaxed approach to crafting content may worry some brands, the potential upside is tremendous. We know that brand trust has eroded over the years, and a large-scale increase in authenticity and transparency will be what’s needed for brands to connect with their audience on a personal level.
Whether or not Snapchat will end up like Vine — another platform that failed to retain brand usage due to a lack of ability to scale — remains to be seen. What we do know is that Instagram, through their release of Stories, has greatly enhanced brands’ ability to engage their audiences with bite-sized, highly authentic content.