When Instagram rolled out its Stories feature in late 2016, many cried foul. Accusations abounded that Instagram was doing little more than riding the coattails of SnapChat by adding a feature strikingly similar in function to the breakout picture-messaging app. However, the most recent data suggests that Instagram may be winning the race for influencers and marketers alike, thanks to a brand-friendly approach to the Stories feature that SnapChat seems uninterested in pursuing anytime soon.
SnapChat has created a barrier between brands and users. While a preference to focus more heavily on the messaging aspect of the app makes for a cleaner casual user experience, it creates problems for influencers and marketers alike, limiting their reach and their engagement potential. SnapChat’s content viewing stats are sinking as its appeal shifts away from entertainment in favor of personal messaging. Influencers are posting less and less on the friend-focused app and opting for the broader discoverability and marketer-friendly features of Instagram Stories in droves. And where the influencers go, and therefore their audiences, it would be wise for marketers to follow.
Return on Investment
Like all marketing strategies, content marketing takes time and money to implement. Many small and medium businesses are gravitating towards low-cost methods, especially social media marketing, to grow their business. But when a platform insists on a separation between brands and their audience, as SnapChat does, it becomes difficult to justify continuing to invest in a strategy that just isn’t paying off – especially when there is a similar, marketing-friendly alternative gaining steam. Instagram Stories offers all the content-focused appeal of SnapChat, augmented by the extensive brand-friendly add-ons and integrated advantages of its parent app, the social media giant Facebook.
One particular advantage of Instagram is its discoverability potential. With “Shop Now” and CTA buttons, Instagram has positioned itself as an ideal starting point for funnels and content marketing to drive traffic to the businesses that make the move. These “shoppable” posts are incredibly effective and aren’t disruptive to the user experience, increasing their appeal. IG’s advertisement tools include the wildly-effective Canvas format, Power Editor, and Ad Manager from parent-app Facebook, allowing marketers to seamlessly integrate their campaigns across platforms, and their analytics tools give marketers access to crucial metrics for better campaign testing and planning. Beyond that, Extended Stories allows for a greater pool of content than SnapChat by allowing marketers and influencers to draw beyond the standard 24-hour window.
Now, more than a year after Stories were added to Instagram, one thing is clear: for marketers, IG Stories is not a “rip-off” or a “carbon copy” of SnapChat’s messaging-focused platform. Its expansive marketing tools and integrated features make it a far better solution to cost-effective social media marketing than its predecessor, and both brands seem quite content with that. For the latest and greatest content marketing insights, follow The Social Calling on Facebook and Twitter!