As I pointed out in a post last month, Snapchat has been experiencing healthy growth and has become a major player in the competition to get the most users and, ultimately, more marketing dollars invested in the app.
However, after Instagram copied some of the features that make Snapchat unique, many people started to wonder if Snapchat will survive.
If you look at the facts, I think Snapchat should be able to weather the storm.
In fact, as I explain in this post, there is the possibility that Instagram Stories might actually be a good thing for Snapchat.
Either way, the competition between Instagram and Snapchat is great news for marketers.
The Argument for Instagram Stories
Almost immediately after it was introduced, marketers started to have success with Instagram Stories. That is, if you define success as the number of views that content receives.
As reported in an Adweek article, brands were getting more views on Instagram Stories on the very first day than they were ever able to get on Snapchat.
“Nike, for example, generated 800,000 views in 24 hours for an Instagram Story that it posted on Tuesday, the first day the feature was available,” reports Garett Sloane in the Adweek article. “On Snapchat, Nike’s best video got 66,000 views, according to Nike and its social media agency Laundry Service.”
This is leading some experts to predict the downfall of Snapchat.
For example, Adam Padilla, CEO of the creative branding agency BrandFire, thinks that the end is near for Snapchat because Instagram has more users to begin with, more high-profile users, and it has a better user interface. He also thinks that there can only be one “now” app. And, of yeah, the Zuckerberg factor also is in play.
Other people think that Instagram Stories won’t destroy Snapchat.
In a TechCrunch article, Josh Constine makes a good argument that Instagram is not necessarily trying to win over current Snapchat users, but prevent or hinder Snapchat from growing any further.
The Argument for Snapchat
It has only been two weeks and no one knows for sure what will happen in the future.
However, Yahoo! Finance is reporting that Instagram Stories hasn’t hurt Snapchat’s engagement levels… yet.
In an article on the Yahoo! Finance website, an App Annie spokesperson is quoted as saying, “Instagram Stories has not made a measurable impact on engagement since the feature launched.” (This was based on data gather during the first seven days after Instagram Stories was first introduced.)
App Annie’s spokesperson thinks that this is because many people use both Instagram and Snapchat.
I think that many of the arguments made so far, both for Snapchat and Instagram, could be good for the long-term growth and success of Snapchat.
As many people have pointed out, it is difficult to get people to find you on Snapchat. Therefore, many users have taken to other social networking sites to promote their Snapchat usernames. In fact, this is what many people used Instagram Stories for shortly after it was first introduced.
Given the fact that there are so many people using Instagram, the addition of Instagram Stories might actually increase the number people using Snapchat, just because they now have a way to find interesting people on the Snapchat app.
On the other hand, the fact that it is difficult to find usernames unless given directly to a potential follower could continue to work in Snapchat’s favor, particularly for younger users who want a place to post where their parents won’t find it.
Turning to adults, another thing Instagram Stories might have done is explain what Snapchat is used for.
Before Instagram Stories, Snapchat was starting to grow the number of adults who use the site.
However, one of the hurdles Snapchat had to overcome was getting adults to understand how and why to use the app.
Now many adults get it and some might start to use Snapchat in an effort to try the other features the app provides.
In addition to the Snapchat lenses and geofilters that have become a part of pop culture, Snapchat also has gamification elements that Instagram currently doesn’t have, including the Snapchat score, emojis, and trophies.
These are very important to some Snapchat users.
In fact, a friend who happens to be a millennial pointed out that this is one of the key reasons why her younger sister uses Snapchat in the first place.
As experts have pointed out, Instagram offers many things that Snapchat doesn’t, including more users, more high-profile users, and a user interface that is easier to use. Instagram also makes it easier for users to find other people to follow. This makes it easier for brands to get followers and, therefore, get their content in front of potential customers.
On the other hand, Snapchat will probably continue to be a place where teenagers and young adults go to share content that they don’t want their parents to see.
That said, there is a possibility that more adults will continue to try the Snapchat app and use it for its other features.
Since there is an overlap in users and only a finite amount of time in the day, Instagram Stories might decrease the amount of time spent in the Snapchat app. However, it doesn’t look like that is happening so far. Then again, it might be too early to predict the long-term usage patterns within each of the apps.
For marketers, Instagram will likely be the app that they use to reach a larger audience, while Snapchat might be the place to reach a more targeted audience, particularly for brands that want to reach younger consumers.
The real question for marketers is what app will give them a better return on their investment.
Because there are so many factors to consider, it is probably too early for brands to decide which app is the best place to invest in.
The best advice for brands is to keep an eye on both apps and experiment, test, and optimize the content used in both apps. Then allocate more resources to the app that gives the brand the best results.
Having two popular apps that can potentially reach a brand’s target audience in a slightly different way is a good problem for marketers to have.
Photo credit: Patrik Nygren on Flickr.