On August 2, 2016 Instagram introduced a new feature: Instagram Stories. This addition to their app seemed all too familiar, because it already existed. Yes, Instagram copied Snapchat, but why not?
Since 2012 Instagram has been backed by the mother of all social channels, Facebook. Although they have the stability of a powerhouse, most importantly they have the data that marketers are craving.
This is all old news, yet the debate between Instagram and Snapchat continues with the release of new Insta updates that have stagnated the growth of Snapchat.
Should Snapchat be Worried?
If anything, it appears that Instagram has all the momentum they need to roll over Snapchat. Not only are they incorporating many of the features that users love about Snap, but they have already developed a platform that encourages sharing and discovering other users, more than Snap ever has.
Perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves and making assumptions based on hype. In an effort to understand the future of Instagram and Snapchat, we decided to reach out to experts in social media, digital marketing, and emerging trends.
And we asked them one simple (or maybe not so simple) question:
Will Instagram eventually eliminate Snapchat?
Here’s the feedback we received:
Ana Gotter is a freelance writer specializing in social media and content marketing.
“I think that Yes, there is a lot of potential for Instagram to erase Snapchat. One study actually found that Snapchat usage has declined pretty significantly since Instagram stories were released. And what I think will push us over the edge is Instagram’s new story ads. Running ads on Snapchat can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and Instagram story ads cost dollars per thousand views; that’s a significant difference, and I think it’s enough to get marketers and businesses to stick to Instagram instead.”
Mikal E. Belicove is a noted freelance business journalist and book author whose credits include Entrepreneur magazine, SUCCESS, and Forbes, among others. His latest book, The Complete Idiots Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores.
“No. Usability issues aside, Instagram’s value proposition (Take and share beautiful photos) and Snapchat’s (Life’s more fun when you live and share in the moment) are fundamentally different enough that they serve different purposes. While one (Instagram) serves to curate and archive content for community, the other (Snapchat) favors a ‘catch and release’ approach that’s antithetical to the benefits of crafting and curating content of an evergreen nature. Bottom line: Broadcasting and photo albuming both have a role to play in the marketplace. Whatever it is that ends up undoing one of these services, it won’t be the other provider’s offering.”
Rachel Miller is an experienced marketing professional and community builder with a passion for influencer marketing, digital marketing, and social strategy. She is currently the Chief Operating Officer at iSocialFanz.
“I do not think Instagram will eliminate Snapchat. I believe they have different demographics and while there may be some overlap, Snapchat skews younger and resonates with a bolder crowd. Instagram feels familiar to many and offers analytics which resonates with older and more professional orientated use cases. But ultimately both platforms will continue to grow and expand their feature set.”
Brian Carter is an internationally Best-Selling Author, Speaker and Consultant. He is a 15-year digital marketing veteran and popular keynote speaker (with clients like NBC and Microsoft, but also small businesses and franchises) who delivers entertainment, motivation and practical takeaways.
“I’m not a gambler outside of entrepreneurship, but if forced to bet on it, I’d put my money on Instagram for a number of reasons… #1 is this: 43% of teens would switch to Instagram if it had filters, and their friends are using the two networks just about equally. If this is merely a feature war, it’s no problem for Instagram to InstaAdd features.
Plus, they’re owned by the 800 lb. FaceGorilla of social that everybody’s on, who makes a convenient sugar daddy, and whose advertising platform you can easily use to grow your Instagram account. Instagram already has ads integrated into the scrolling experience, similar to Facebook, so it’s not that odd or surprising or weird for users. Even better, Facebook knows who everyone is, so those ads are likely to be relevant and that means they’re less likely to be annoying.
But Snapchat’s problem is that most of their money comes from Discover, which many Snapchat users ignore (I’ve probably been there less than 10 times EVER), and as they try to monetize they’re already having to barge into previously pure areas of the Snapchat experience, which may alienate their base.
Those nearly-socialist platform gypsies who typically “love the one they’re with” until it needs to monetize may already be thinking about leaving Snapchat. Oh, snap! And Snapchat’s ad problem is even worse because they don’t have Facebook’s customer data to personalize and place highly relevant ads that consumers might actually find useful or convenient. Yuck- not just ads but irrelevant ads? Gag me with a geofilter!”
Adi Domocos is the Founder of HotinSocialMedia.com. After working for several years in different international companies, from Marketing Manager to Country Manager, he decided to launch a site in a field he really loves: Social Media Marketing. He’s a social guy who tries to help and cheer up those around him.
“No. Although Instagram copy and pasted a lot of features from Snapchat, such as Instagram Stories, I think Snapchat has succeeded in growing a large and strong community. It’s true that Instagram has a great adoptive father (Facebook) that will push Instagram into a battle with Snapchat, but I think the two mobile apps will survive together for a long time. Snapchat has an original feature that allows users to send images and videos that self-destruct once a person has viewed them, and this feature attracts a lot of people, especially teenagers. Instagram was very simple and more serious at first, but now is trying to attract more and more young people with its new features.”
Tamar Weinberg is a killer inbound sales closer, a digital and social media strategist, a customer happiness hero who believes in the importance of real time email, and author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web (O’Reilly).
“As far as your question – I’ve been writing for awhile that Instagram is stealing Snapchat’s best features, so no, I don’t think Snapchat will have the longevity that’s being predicted. A recent survey points to that as well.
Right now, I think Snapchat has demographics in its corner; Instagram skews older while Snapchat skews younger. For the sake of your survey, I’d be interested in getting Gen. Z folks to answer the question to see what their preference is: Instagram or Snapchat? For me, it’s Instagram. I also see my younger millennial family members on Instagram. If we open the question to teenagers and pre-teens, where are they mostly? Snapchat, that’s for sure.
The question about eventual elimination is a hard question to answer. There’s the desire for the youngsters to have a space away from their elders, so Snapchat will remain a viable platform for awhile, but if Instagram keeps stealing Snapchat’s best features, it is hard to tell how long that will last. People want to be where their peers are, and I can’t say for sure, if all things being equal, someone would move over to Instagram if it is an identical platform — especially if all their friends are already on the other one.”
Dave Kerpen is the founder and Chairman of Likeable Local, and New York Times bestselling author of three books. An international keynote speaker, Kerpen is the #1 LinkedIn Influencer of all time in page views, ahead of Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Mark Cuban and Barack Obama. His most recent book is The Art of People.
“No, Instagram will not eliminate Snapchat. But it has limited Snapchat’s growth and it will continue to do so, eventually rendering Snapchat a niche app, popular with the under 21 crowd, but less meaningful outside of that core audience. Instagram has the scale to continue to iterate and keep Snapchat at bay.”
“No. Even though no one knows what would happen longer-term, as it stands right now it won’t happen. I can list a number of reason and talk about the unique product features or Spectacles, but the main reason for my answering “no” is the audience. Snapchat has a very specific audience – younger users who love the platform and are very loyal to it. That said, Snapchat does need to innovate at a constant rate to stay relevant.”
“My short answer is no. It’s not because of features, it’s simply because of mobile app usage behavior. In a survey a couple years ago, 49% of US smartphone app users used six to 10 smartphone apps each week. That means we get in a rut where we’re stuck using the apps we love. With Instagram AND Facebook’s dive into Snapchat features… the more interesting question will be whether Snapchat can ever actually make a profit and sustain itself!”
“Yes. Snapchat has a few fundamental reasons it will not likely be top dog in the particular space it is currently in. Social media is always about users and networks. If your friends aren’t on the platform it doesn’t matter how good it is or how many features it has (Google+). Snapchat is a closed invite based platform, Instagram is open and connected with Facebook, as well as it makes suggestions and you can easily find and follow new people on the platform. This is not the case with Snapchat, so getting your friends on is tougher and meeting new people is very difficult within the platform. Second is, Instagram has Facebook to integrate with and standalone platforms like Meerkat have been proven to die when competing with companies integrated in larger platforms.”
Kate Rose is a co-founder and Director at Rose McGrory Social Media, a specialist social media agency providing social media training, social media consultancy and social media management.
“We’d say No… because Snapchat already has a well-established place in its users’ hearts, and is perceived as a more intimate place for one to one or small group discussions with friends. Instagram is so much more about public broadcasting. Plus, many of the “fun” features (lenses, 10-second messages etc.) which have a strong appeal to the younger demographic, are still absent from Instagram. We think that the impact of Instagram Stories will be more about broadening the use of Instagram than about killing off Snapchat entirely.”
“No, Instagram will not eliminate Snapchat. As well-funded as Instagram is, Snapchat has an embedded user base that continues to use the platform. In addition, despite Snapchat’s foray into strange and odd things like Snapchat Spectacles, the platform continues to grow and won’t go away any time soon. Instagram will try to put Snap out of business, but they’ll fail.”
Mary Thomas is a social media trainer, author, and consultant. She founded Concise Training in 2008 to provide help, advice, and training for both businesses and individuals.
“In my opinion, I think Snapchat will continue to exist for some time – there will be some users who like to use Snapchat as they don’t like to use Facebook and associated tools. However as Instagram develops more functionality to copy Snapchat, I think there will be a gradual move across to Instagram. I think Instagram is an easier tool for brands to use which could drive some of the movement from a business perspective.”
Frederic Gonzalo is a speaker & Travel Marketing Consultant. He was ranked among most influential bloggers for marketing & social media in Canada in both 2013 and 2014. In 2015, he published his first book: Social Media Best Practices in Travel Marketing.
“Yes. It’s not just Instagram that will eventually eliminate Snapchat but the whole Facebook ecosystem, including Messenger and its new “Story” feature, just like Instagram and its “Stories”. Both Facebook and Instagram also now have live streaming, which is a hot and popular trend. And let’s not forget Whatsapp and its 1.2 billion active users, that can also hurt the evolution of Snapchat.”
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
“No. That’s like asking if Ford will eliminate Chevy or McDonalds will eliminate Wendy’s. Sure, Instagram has the power of Facebook behind it, a proven business model and a more broad user base. But competition like Snapchat is good for the market and while they may not “win” whatever imaginary competition the industry seems to think there is between competing startups, they will still find ways to generate revenue, drive users and provide an experience for them. We need to stop acting like we’ve never seen competition before and realize these companies are not unlike any other. Competition comes and goes. If Snapchat dies, it will be because their leadership didn’t see a trend coming or got too greedy and sold out to the wrong group. It won’t be because Instagram was better.”
Vincent Orleck specializes in social media marketing including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. He is also an active blogger and CMO/partner at BRANDish Social Media Marketing.
“No (but with a caveat). If anything is actually able to eliminate Snapchat, it will be the combination of ALL of Facebook’s powers contained and channeled through Instagram (mainly Stories), WhatsApp, and now Facebook Messenger “Day”. Its clear that their goal is to beat Snapchat to the punch when it comes to the other 1 billion potential users who are on those platforms and not YET on Snapchat. Having said all that though, I don’t think that will happen anytime soon, and I truly believe that parent company Snap Inc. has FAR greater goals than even just the Snapchat app.”
Jacob Warwick is the founder of ThinkWarwick Communications, a strategic marketing company in Northern California. He contributes to Forbes, Entrepreneur, Adweek, and several other publications to share his experiences from a decade in the marketing industry.
“In the B2B world that I participate in, Snapchat is barely a blip on the radar. It’s a tool that executive’s kids use, like Instagram. I don’t think Instagram will directly eliminate Snapchat, but wouldn’t be surprised if businesses concentrate less on those channels to fine tune their focus. As for the younger generation, there will always be new trends that captivate their interests—perhaps the next trend won’t be on a mobile (One can only hope).”
“Instagram will eventually replace Snapchat. Their recent IPO, in fact, is a harbinger of that. The data released and the ensuing media coverage noted the company is uncertain when—if ever—Snapchat will be profitable. It also faces stiff competition from Facebook, which has launched a number of Snapchat “inspired” features for Instagram in the past months. That doesn’t mean Snap, the parent company, is doomed. It just means Snapchat may not be a long-term play.”
Akinade Eniolabi is a social media writer, marketing strategist, and founder of SocialMediaVerve.
Still Hope for Snap?
Snapchat may be slowing down in terms of growth, but it still remains a major player in the social media industry. Based on the feedback from our small survey, we can’t give up on Snap just yet. In fact, as of January 2017, Snap is reported to have 158 million daily users. Although this is less than half of daily Instagram users, it remains a very strong user base, with users checking Snap 18 times a day and spending 25-30 minutes of their time on it.
Furthermore, Snap has leverage over Instagram within its niche as an authentic story-telling channel. It allows users to see not only into their friends lives but also into the lives of influencers. This “real” content gives us something to connect with on a more human level, as we continue to demand more immersive media. However, is this enough to keep people loyal to Snap, or is the mass migration to Instagram already happening?
What are your thoughts?