On August 2nd, Instagram launched its new Stories feature to its users. To summarize, Instagram Stories allows you to share multiple photos and videos in a slideshow-type medium to your followers. But unlike traditional Instagram content, Stories do not allow comments or likes, and disappear after 24 hours. Also, Instagram Stories don’t appear in your feed. They display horizontally atop the feed as to not interfere with Instagram’s original interface.
Now we’d like to address the ways businesses can connect with consumers via Stories. As we’ve noted in previous entries, Instagram is a highly sociable platform. It allows businesses to portray themselves in a more lighthearted manner. In our opinion, Instagram is best used when offering your customers a “behind the scenes” look at your business. Stories reinforces this idea, allowing you to share multiple short videos and photos without bogging down your followers’ feed.
Instagram Stories Vs Snapchat
Yes, we know what you’re thinking. This sounds weirdly similar to Snapchat. Instagram’s CEO even said so. But Stories is better, and Snapchat will likely see a downturn in traffic as Instagram’s new feature becomes more popular. Don’t believe us? We’ll detail the reasons for our argument below.
Established, Diverse Audience Makes for Faster Growth
While it’s true that Snapchat is growing, Instagram has a much bigger, more diverse audience. According to a report by Smart Insights, Instagram clocks in with around 400 million users while Snapchat has around 200 million. In addition to a bigger audience, consumers are more familiar with interacting with brands on Instagram than Snapchat. Only very recently have businesses attempted to incorporate Snapchat into their marketing strategy. Generally speaking, it makes more sense for marketers to opt for an established social media channel rather than a relatively new one.
Stronger Advertising Platform
In case you’ve forgotten, Facebook owns Instagram. And as we’ve noted in previous entries, Facebook has a highly sophisticated ads manager. This specialized advertising extends to businesses on Instagram, making it a more attractive channel for marketers. If used correctly, a business can grow quickly with these targeted ads. Snapchat on the other hand doesn’t have nearly as advanced ads manager. This makes choosing between the two platforms an easy decision for business owners.
Often with specialized advertisements comes sophisticated analytics. Like Facebook, Instagram offers informative insights and feedback about your audience. You can find out when they’re online, best times to reach them, and how they interact with specific content. Using this data, one can then refine and optimize their advertisements to better connect with their target demographics. Snapchat’s analytics are not nearly as advanced. In fact, marketers at this point have to manually produce their findings. There’s no efficient method for collecting data from a Snapchat marketing campaign. This isn’t ideal, as it can increase your work load. It is our feeling that businesses will likely slow their Snapchat effort now that Instagram offers such a similar feature.
Keep In Mind…
We’d like to point out that Snapchat’s current user base is much younger than most social media channels. 85 percent of monthly US Snapchat users are between the ages of 13-34, and 7 out of 10 global users are millennials. This is a much younger audience than Facebook and Instagram. It’s likely that Snapchat’s young audience is tied to it’s lack of sophisticated advertising and analytics. It just isn’t what their users want. This is changing, though, with the recent introduction of Snapchat Geofilters. This may be a sign that Snapchat is looking to diversify and expand it’s audience. It’ll be interesting to see how these demographics develop over the next few years.