Just a few months ago, Instagram found itself under fire after releasing the new Instagram Stories feature, what many found to be a complete rip off of Snapchat’s similar Stories feature. It seems that Instagram is up to its antics again, this time with controversial new updates to the Direct Message feature and testing with live video.
Let’s dive a bit deeper.
You’ve probably noticed the Stories feature in the bar at the top of Instagram when you log in now. While I’ve since grown accustomed to it, I have to admit it took me a while to warm up to it. Maybe it was because the new experience was eerily similar to Snapchat. I went ahead and added my own impeccable selfie to my story to see what Instagram had to offer. Instantly, I was prompted to send the photo to a friend, something that was all too familiar on Snapchat but new to the Instagram experience.
Instagram is not only using the same features as Snapchat but addressing the most aggravating aspects of the platform. Do you typically find that you send your snaps to the same group of people? Get annoyed when you have to select each friend individually? From day one, Snapchat’s interface has been criticized as confusing. There are very few logical queues within their navigation and one of the most common ways of figuring it out is by accidentally sending friends incredibly unflattering photos. Instagram has taken a lot of the guess work out of finding this new feature.
Instagram has eliminated one of the most aggravating aspects of Snapchat by adding a Group feature. If I switched to Instagram for my silly in the moment communication I wouldn’t have to select the same fifteen people for every time I wanted to share a Snap.
Why Would Instagram Want this Feature?
Snapchat is still very much an up and coming social media platform. Instagram is making it possible to communicate in the same way that you would with Snapchat, but those that haven’t jumped on the Snapchat train don’t have to refriend their entire audience. This makes it hard for Instagram users to switch to Snapchat and might attract some of Snapchat’s existing audience.
Going Live in…
It’s not just Snapchat that Instagram is hoping to adopt exciting features from. They have recently been testing live videos. Lately the ability to share what you are doing in the moment has become the next big thing to get right. Periscope was an up and coming social media platform that was completely devoted to live videos. Since then, the biggest social media platforms like Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter have all had their own versions of live video but none of them have been that successful.
How is Instagram Live different?
Instagram is hoping to differentiate it’s live video feature by integrating live video in it’s purest form. Their version of live video will allow anyone to see your video while you are streaming but the video completely disappears once you end the video. This is different than both Facebook and Twitter’s live video feature by removing the video after the stream has ended. Snapchat’s Video Chat feature came close to the live video feature Instagram is testing but only a single person could join that chat making it more like a video call rather than a Live video.
Should Snapchat Be Worried?
The recently rebranded Snap Inc. is no stranger to attracting new and excited crowds. After Snapchat exploded, many people speculated the company wouldn’t make it far, because the app seemed confusing to many “experts”. Recently they have repositioned themselves within the ranks of innovation giants like, Google and Sony, by being one of the first companies to release their version of “Smart Glasses”, Snapchat Spectacles.
My guess is Instagram won’t make a large enough dent in Snapchat’s bottom line because Snapchat isn’t the type of company to stay in one place too long.