Snapchat and Instagram have been in competition for quite some time. They are similar in their core functions and both are pretty much exclusive to your smartphone. Even though Instagram has twice as many active users, Snapchat is very popular among millennials.
The two apps started within one year of each other; Instagram in 2010 and Snapchat in 2011. Although Snapchat was a year behind, it seems it has always had a leg up on Instagram with its unique way of viewing video and chatting.
However, in the spring of 2016, Instagram, owned by the social giant Facebook, rolled out the ability to direct message and create vanishing Instagram stories. This move was an obvious replication of what Snapchat has been doing since 2013.
As of April 11, 2017, Instagram took it one singular step further by offering the vanishing messages in combination with permanent messages, all found in one location. The next post explains the reasoning for this move which cleans up your inbox:
Instagram Direct unites ephemeral and permanent messaging for 375M users | TechCrunch
You’ll be able to send silly short-lived selfies embellished with creative tools and temporary replies to friends’ Stories inside an on-going conversation that could include texted logistics or discussion of public posts.
Back in November, Instagram launched ephemeral messaging in Direct as a separate section from permanent messages. But after seeing Direct usage spike from 300 million to 375 million monthly active users since then, it decided that disappearing messages were popular enough to give the spotlight by uniting the two communication types in a single inbox.
The videos marked as temporary still disappear once the message is viewed, but they appear inside the ongoing chat discussions. The dramatic increase in usage following last year’s addition is what prompted the change. The merge was done to simplify the user experience, and it seems to be working. The following video covers the basics of how the upgraded interface works:
Now that Instagram has altered your inbox, understanding the difference between a regular message and a vanishing one is color coded. The ephemeral messages are highlighted in blue and the regular messages have a white background. To view a vanishing message, you have to click on the blue camera icon.
The sender of the message will still be able to see who viewed and replayed the message along with any screenshots taken, features that both platforms have in common. Check out the tweet that announced the change:
— Instagram (@instagram) April 11, 2017
With so many features in common, I think it is interesting that Snapchat doesn’t offer live video or linking in their posts. The infographic below from Delmondo.co gives you an idea of the contrasts and similarities of the two popular apps:
In the race for Miss Popularity, Instagram added stories, stickers, and live streaming while Snapchat enhanced their editing and filters. Which is better for your business? It partly depends on who your customer base is.
While Snapchat is better equipped to connect with someone one on one, Instagram allows you to engage with a post by liking it, commenting on it, saving it and sending it directly in a message. The focus of a company’s marketing campaign will play a huge part in choosing what platforms can deliver the best return on investment.