Guru

Is Facebook Finally Going To Take a Bite Out of Snapchat’s Business?

By August 4, 2016Guru
Instagram launched its Snapchat-like “Stories” feature Tuesday — will content marketers jump ship?

Have you ever heard the phrase: Fifth time’s the charm? Well Facebook wants you to add it to your vocabulary.

On Tuesday, the social media giant announced the launch of “Instagram Stories.” The ephemeral feature allows users to create picture and video slideshows chronicling their day. The slideshows will disappear after 24 hours. And to make things a little more fun, the app added text and drawing tools to enhance the experience.

If you’re getting an overwhelming sense of deja vu, that’s because Instagram Stories is essentially a carbon copy of Snapchat’s 2013 “Stories” feature. (Yes, Instagram even used the same name.)

But those who follow social media closely won’t be surprised by this act of imitation. That’s because this is actually the fifth time that Facebook has attempted to take a bite out of Snapchat’s business.

In 2012, a year before news broke that Facebook tried (and failed) to buy Snapchat for $3 billion, Facebook created the Snapchat ripoff Poke. The company built it in 12 days and the app was retired by 2014. Mark Zuckerberg had told Businessweek that it was “more of a joke” than anything else.

But was it a joke? Because in 2014, Facebook launched another Snapchat disappearing messaging clone called Slingshot. (It was pulled a year later.) In 2015 it tested, but didn’t fully roll out, self-destructing messages in Messenger. Just last month it rolled out another set of disappearing messages — this time in an encrypted form. And now, when Snapchat is valued at a whopping $19 billion, here is Facebook-owned Instagram’s Stories.

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom admitted to the Wall Street Journal that Stories replicates Snapchat, but pointed out that, “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.”

Basically, Instagram is trying to make Snapchat seem less unique — and thus less “cool.”

And this move could be really helpful for Instagram’s business. Not only will users stop worrying about over-posting (and thus post more every day), but Instagram Stories won’t allow users to like or comment on pictures (like Snapchat) — which is really important because the WSJ article said that half of all teens who use Instagram delete their photos if they don’t get enough posts.

And it’s probably only a matter of time until Instagram inserts advertising into their Stories — just like Snapchat did. And since Instagram has many more users than Snapchat, advertisers content marketers and brands will definitely be excited to get in on the business.

Instagram wreaked havoc on Vine’s business for marketers after it launched its looping video feature. Social Bakers found that 28% of brands use Instagram for posts while 7% use Vine. And brands prefer sharing Instagram videos on Twitter four times more than they like sharing Vines.

Still, Snapchat probably isn’t going anywhere. Teens might be using Instagram Stories, but the Next Web found out that a lot of them are using it asking people to follow them on Snapchat…

Author Laura Stampler

Laura Stampler is a freelance writer and editor with experience producing in-depth magazine features, blog posts, and breaking news pieces. She's been a staff reporter at TIME Magazine (covering entertainment, lifestyle, apps and millennial culture) and co-created the advertising vertical at Business Insider (covering retail, ad tech, social media and marketing). Her articles and personal essays have appeared on Vogue.com, Refinery29, and New York Magazine.

More posts by Laura Stampler

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