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Snap Away Instagramers

It has been three years since Snapchat Co-Founder Evan Spiegal hastily and unapologetically turned down Facebook’s $3 billion acquisition offer. Since then, Facebook’s obsession with Snapchat has gradually shifted from “the one that got away” to “the one we want to be.” This sentiment became even more apparent this week when Instagram, owned by Facebook, launched a new feature called, “Stories”.

Sound familiar? It should. It’s practically a carbon copy of “Snapchat Stories,” a photo and video sharing platform where posts disappear after 24 hours. The addition further intensifies the competition between the two social media powerhouses. Still, this move seems a little different from some of Facebook’s earlier attempts to innovate and remain cutting-edge.

Previously, the two apps were operating in the social media world relatively similarly, both focusing on visual content and extremely popular among millennials. Regardless of said similarities, they have never faced off directly against each other, at least not like now. By introducing Stories, Instagram is inviting Snapchat directly into the boxing ring. The move is a clear shot at Snapchat, and Facebook’s leadership is not hiding it.

They say, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” and we’d have to agree. Instagram’s rollout of Stories only solidifies what Snapchat has been able to create. Not only does the social platform have a loyal following of over 150 million users a day, and counting, Snapchat has completely changed the way in which people engage with photos and videos. Snapchatters are now watching over 10 billion (yes, we mean billion) videos per day. It’s no wonder Facebook, via Instagram, would want to emulate Snapchat’s smashing success.

What’s even more interesting is the name Instagram selected. Was this a lack of creativity on Instagram’s part? A rush job with simply not enough time to come up with a new name? Not likely. Stories were first released by Snapchat in 2013 and quickly became one of the app’s most popular features. Snapchat has so mastered the concept of brand loyalty that you can walk into any high school cafeteria and you’ll hear a number of teens referencing their “story.” Not to mention my baby boomer parents, who don’t even use it, are familiar with a Snapchat Story.

With that being said, why would Instagram fix something that isn’t broken? The term “Stories” is so widely used and accepted on social media that it didn’t need an explanation from Instagram. Instead of having to spell out what exactly what an Instagram Stories was, users were able to make the immediate connection and start using the new feature; there was no learning curve. A win-win for Instagram.

So, what does this update mean for the average Instagramer? Well, on the upside it presents us with more creative and engaging ways to share and view content. It will also give advertisers a more creative and engaging way to get in front of their consumers. As Instagram Stories continue to rollout and update, we can only imagine more sophisticated ads on the Stories feature (Hey, there is a price for everything, isn’t there?).

With celebrities like Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, Kate Hudson, and John Legend already using Instagram Stories, it’s hard to imagine the feature doing anything but gaining traction. For now all we can do is sit back, relax, and story away.

Amanda Murphy is a Marketing Specialist at LEVICK.

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