The Whole Story: Has Instagram Taken a Snap at Snapchat?

by Georgia Sanders

On August 2nd 2016, Instagram shocked the world with a new feature that many believe is a little too close to comfort for fellow social app Snapchat.

Instagram Stories: What Are They?

Instagram’s new ‘story’ feature allows users to share moments from their day in a slideshow format. This does not get added to your usual profile and will disappear after 24 hours, so you won’t have to worry about overposting. However, it does come with some snazzy additions, such as the ability to add text or draw on the images.

If you click on your Instagram, you’ll see the new feature right at the top of your home feed, alongside stories from people you follow. Simply tap on the profile picture to view the story and swipe left and right. Though do note, although you can send private messages from here, there are no public comments as with a usual post.

Copying is the Greatest Form of Flattery

Many people have noted that this new feature seems to be ‘ripping off’ Snapchat and ‘stealing’ its best features. And, in a rather non-dramatic way, Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, has suprised the world by admitting to Tech Crunch reporter Josh Constine that Snapchat was the inspiration behind the new feature.

He said:

“When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.

Facebook invented feed, LinkedIn took on feed, Twitter took on feed, Instagram took on feed, and they all feel very different now and they serve very different purposes. But no one looks down at someone for adopting something that is so obviously great for presenting a certain type of information.

Innovation happens in the Valley, and people invent formats, and that’s great. And then what you see is those formats proliferate. So @ usernames were invented on Twitter. Hashtags were invented on Twitter. Instagram has those. Filtered photos were not invented on Instagram.

And I think what you see is that every company looks around and adopts the best of the best formats or state-of-the-art technology. Snapchat adopted face filters that existed elsewhere first, right? And slideshows existed in other places, too. Flipagram was doing it for a while. So I think that’s the interesting part of the Valley. You can’t just recreate another product. But you can say ‘what’s really awesome about a format? And does it apply to our network?’

Don’t you think that Snapchat’s done a really awesome job? And Facebook’s done a great job. And Instagram’s done a great job. I think all of these companies have done a great job. Some people invent stuff. We’ve invented things.

Gmail was not the first email client. Google Maps was certainly not the first map. The iPhone was definitely not the first phone. The question is what do you do with that format? What do you do with that idea? Do you build on it? Do you add new things? Are you trying to bring it in a new direction?

We’re bringing some new creative outlets with ‘neon drawing.’ You have different ways of navigating back and forth with this. You have a completely different audience. If you’re a business, if you’re a celebrity, if you’re an interest-based account, you can have a giant audience. It’s going to feel very different. I don’t believe these two things are substitutes, and that’s okay.”

Our Thoughts: Are We For or Against the New Feature?

If we’re honest, we weren’t crying out for this feature. However, now it is here, we will certainly make the most of it and will encourage our clients to do so too.

We think stories would be highly useful when spending days in the field at conferences, marketing events (such as Figaro’s) or as a simple yet effective way of added a human aspect to your business social account.

It could also be hugely beneficial to those brands that currently don’t have Snapchat accounts – whether this is due to restrictions on the number of profiles they have or because the target audience simply doesn’t utilise the photo app.
What are your thoughts on the new story feature? Tweet your opinion to @Figaro_Digital