Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Instagram’s latest move likely doesn’t feel like much of a compliment to Snapchat.
The Facebook-owned photo sharing app just launched Stories, a new feature that looks almost exactly like Snapchat’s Stories product. Both let users post photos and videos to a timeline that disappears in 24 hours.
Although it’s easy to make fun of Instagram’s copycat move, it could have some serious consequences for Snapchat, last valued at nearly $18 billion, as it tries to grow its fledgling advertising business.
A bigger platform with better tools
One reason why Snapchat is so attractive to brands is that the Stories feature lets them get their message across through a full-screen, live-ish format that’s much more like TV advertising than what you’d see in other social feeds.
Now, Instagram offers largely the same experience, but with a broader reach and more time-tested tools.
Nike has already seen that size difference in action, telling Ad Age that it got 800,000 views on a newly posted Instagram Story versus 66,000 views on its most popular Snapchat Story. Snapchat may have a higher ratio of loyal millennial users than Instagram, but Instagram has way more users overall.
Plus, Snapchat’s advertising business is still very young. The company just launched a bunch of new tools and ad products in June and looked like it was finally ready to usher in a “new era” that advertisers have been craving. By contrast, brands have been familiar with Instagram’s format and tools for a long time, in particular because they’re largely the same as Facebook’s. The platform doesn’t offer Story ads yet, but many brands have already started creating organic Stories, and it makes sense that a sponsored option will eventually roll out.
With this launch, Instagram now gives brands the best of both worlds: The live-ish content of Snapchat and the traditional static business profiles, too.
“Advertisers are already very comfortable with Instagram,” Nick Cicero, the CEO of creator-network company Delmondo, tells Business Insider. “I
f I’m a brand and I haven’t spent time or money on Snapchat yet, I don’t get it yet, now I might not feel like I have to.”
Instagram’s new feature doesn’t spell death for Snapchat, but it certainly could slow its advertising growth at a crucial time.
For a more fun analysis on the new competition, watch comedian Casey Neistat explain how Instagram “MURDERS” Snapchat here: