How Snapchat can survive Instagram's assault on its features

IgnitionTech Insider/YoutubeOne of the teen trendsetters on IGNITION 2015’s panel.

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Ever since last summer, Instagram has made a habit of replicating the features that have made Snapchat so popular.

Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app, began by unveiling its own “Stories” feature at the top of the app. Users have responded well to that update, with the number of daily story users on Instagram surpassing those using Snapchat’s story feature in April.

Earlier this week, Snapchat rolled out a new Stories update whereby several users can contribute to the same story. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for Instagram to roll out something similar.

But Instagram hasn’t just cloned the story from Snapchat. Over the past nine months, Instagram has released a number of updates that look awfully similar to features that already existed on Snapchat. From funny filters and geotags to disappearing direct messages, Instagram has shown it is willing to take anything from Snapchat, and it doesn’t seem intent on stopping until Snapchat is dead.

There does seem to be one feature that is extremely popular with teens that Instagram has not yet brought to its platform: the Snapstreak. The Snapstreak is a number that lets users know how many consecutive days they have sent a snap to a specific friend.

Last year at IGNITION, Business Insider hosted a panel of teens considered to be trendsetters. Among the topics discussed: how they interact with their phones and the apps they use most sparked the best conversations. The idea of the Snapstreak being a major reason users engage with the app came up: “Let’s say you have a 1oo-day streak going with a friend,” one participant said. “There’s, like, an obligation and a lot of pressure to continue, and if you lose your streak, the world’s over.”

The panel spoke highly of Snapchat as an indicator of social status. To many, the user’s Snap score and the number of views the user got on a Snap story was nearly as important to them as the number of followers they had on Instagram.

The panel was split over which app they preferred, but it’s clear that if Snapchat can continue to make its users believe they NEED to use the app daily, it should continue to thrive, regardless of how many features Instagram copies.

Given the great change that’s taken place in the six months since last year’s conference, it will surely be a topic discussed again at IGNITION 2017.

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