Last week there were mixed reactions to Instagram's me-too version of Snapchat. Instagram released a new feature on the 2nd of August, that lets you share all moments of your day - disappearing after 24 hours. Since Instagram launched in 2010 with its original square photographs it has continued to expand with features such as private messaging, an advertising platform, and now Instagram Stories.
What are Instagram Stories? You can view the stories of people you follow which appear at the top of your homepage. Updates appear with colourful circles surrounding user’ profile pictures following their latest stories. An absence of a colourful circle indicates no story update available. Unfortunately you can’t save or post your Instagram stories automatically. However you will be able to save or post your pictures/videos manually from your stories.
Moving on to Snapchat; Snapchat is an image messaging and chatting media which was released in 2011. They launched stories in October 2013. Stories are based on sharing photos and videos that can be watched on repeat for up to 24 hours - almost identical to Instagram’s recent launch. But Snapchat remains a popular app for smartphone users. Snapchat has over 200 million users based on last years stats whilst Instagram has 150 million users. Results are quite close, but can Instagram surpass Snapchat after introducing their story feature?
So how about their user interface?
- The user interface of Instagram is impressive; that’s a good start!
- You can find stories located at the top. It’s very visual, it is impossible to miss!
- New story updates; a colourful circle appears surrounding the user’s profile picture.
- Swipe the screen to move to a different story - pretty cool! I like their approach here of letting you view stories by going back and forward. Snapchat doesn’t have this feature, it only works by going forward rather than going back.
- Drawing and writing features for stories are quite good. I love the highglow drawing - it’s really appealing! Snapchat doesn’t have this!
- The design pattern is quite similar to Snapchat, but different approach as to how it works.
Great privacy features
I spotted one good feature on Instagram - privacy control when sharing stories. After uploading a story you can set your story to be visible to your followers only. However I can hide my entire story if I want, allowing access only to followers I choose. Pretty neat, but again more work as you will need to redo the process to set up this access. Again - similar for direct message when people see something interesting in your story; they can get in touch with you directly - you can control the settings - setting for everyone or just selected people you follow - nice one! Unfortunately Snapchat doesn’t have this; you may have to block or remove a user if you don’t want them to view the story.
Advantages of using Instagram Stories?
It’s pretty exciting brand accounts on Instagram to promote products or share with an audience. Instagram allows you to follow a chosen brand, celebrity and so on - their stories will appeared on the top when following them. Snapchat when entering stories page - it can be a bit overwhelming. The number of stories produced by users not to mention advertisements. The advertisements are located at the top just before the stories. All contents bundled together on stories page which can lead to confusion and negative user experience.
Sounds good - but how about preparing content for stories.
This can become cumbersome if users/businesses have their own Snapchat stories also. Duplication of content for both social media platforms isn’t a good idea; hence the need for explaining a product in different ways within different social media platforms.
It’s an exciting time for content teams in producing new ideas for Instagram stories. For users it can be frustrating at the same time when the features for Instagram and Snapchat are replicated.
For example - certain food brand stories on Instagram such as The Happy Pear and Donal Skehan are good. They often share everyday events - showing or making their foods; a good way of promoting their business and products. Different ways of promoting content for both social media platforms have been adopted by these brands.
So that’s enough background and analysis on both social media platforms, but what are my thoughts?
While Instagram have pulled things together well, I prefer to go for Snapchat due to high audience and more features such as stickers, a variety of filters and so on. However it is great to see that the social media platforms are trying out different things such as updating their new features and healthy competition for producing a cool feature. I know there are many social media apps, but I believe it is important for us at Webfactory to explore throughout the social media platforms and be able to offer our assistance such as producing contents and to be able to offer solutions for our clients.