A Quick History Lesson
I vividly remember my dad asking me what Instagram was while he was reading the paper one morning. I replied, “I don’t know, why?” He told me that Mark Zukerberg bought it for quite the large sum of money. I didn’t think much of it and continued about my morning. 5 years later we can’t imagine social media today without Instagram. In it’s early days, Instagram was solely for the purpose of editing and posting pictures. The community of users was still present, but nowhere near as user-friendly and intuitive as it is today. Now it’s an integral part of many marketers’ social media strategy.
It’s crazy to think it been over 4 years since the app was first introduced. Initially, I don’t think a ton of us understood the gimmick of expiring photos and videos, but obviously, the folks at Snapchat knew something we didn’t. Even without geo-filters, stickers and other editing features, Snapchat was on the verge of huge success surrounding real-time content.
What took them to the next level?
Even the most successful of apps have to adapt and innovate in order to stay on top – and Instagram is no different. In the last number of years, we’ve seen Instagram branch out in a variety of ways beyond edited content. As our generation demands new ways to engage and share genuine experiences, Instagram has introduced features to allow that unedited exchange between users. The trend of messaging apps have also taken the world by storm, and Instagram was listening.
- Instagram Live
- Instagram Stories
- Instagram Messaging
- Ability to save posts
- @mention accounts via commenting & Instagram stories
- Multiple Accounts
Snapchat has also been able to up the ante without losing what made them interesting in the first place – expiring content. It was evident that users wanted more than simply photos and video to communicate with their friends, they craved the authenticity of an unedited and raw experience. Enter :
- Video Calling
- Voice Calling
- Geo-filters, Custom filters, Emoji/Bitmoji Stickers
The Common Denominator
Maintaining the essence of the app while incorporating new and innovative methods for users to create and share genuine experiences with one another. Both apps are also leveraging robust e-commerce feature for the use of online brands and companies.
Survival of the Fittest
One of the hottest trends you can find on Instagram, and somewhat on Snapchat, is influencer marketing. Now more than ever, customers are looking to reliable third parties who are sharing experiences with products to sway their purchase decisions. Though most influencers are leaning towards Instagram, some are still on the fence about which app is best.
Though marketers may be divided on whether Instagram or Snapchat is the tool to beat, one thing they seem to agree on is that the application you choose really depends on who you’re targeting and why.
Snapchat’s biggest strength lies in it’s ability to create a sense of urgency. Users on Snapchat frequent the app multiple times throughout the day, meaning they’re more engaged with the content and messages you’re sending. However, Snapchat continues to be dominated by young women, potentially limiting the effectiveness of a campaign depending on your market segment. And while the expiring photos add urgency, that means there isn’t any permanent content – which could come in handy if someone hasn’t made a purchase decision and is looking for branded content.
One key player that contributes to Instagrams success is the hashtag – great for both branded and user-generated content. Hashtags not only help customers find your product but also boost engagement and spark conversation about your brand. Instagram is also compatible with other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, making cross-channel campaigns a breeze. On the flip side, though, Instagram can also create a sense of urgency with Instagram Stories (another stab at Snapchat), it’s much more saturated with competition. You can easily keep scrolling through Instagram among endless visuals, but Snapchat demands the attention of an audience member – albeit for 10 seconds.
My vote? Instagram. What’s yours?
Here at HeyOrca, we’re all about social media
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