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Snapchat is now competing to stay ahead of its own ideas, starting with its Stories feature—very effectively copied and launched by Instagram.
Instagram Stories, which launched in August 2016, now reaches more than 200 million users a day.
That’s more than Snapchat, which reported 158 million daily global users as of Q4 2016.
It’s an interesting shift, especially since the Stories feature was Snapchat’s signature offering. One of the company’s major standouts is how it has been imitated, and those copied features are now used widely on other platforms.
But what once may have seemed flattering is now potentially damaging.
Instagram Stories was just one of many Snapchat knockoffs Facebook released over the past few months. Facebook also implemented the feature among its own apps—WhatsApp, Messenger and most recently in the Facebook app itself.
Based on a recent blog post, Stories is working well for Instagram. Many people, including influencers, are increasingly using Instagram Stories.
“When Instagram Stories first launched, I thought, ‘Snapchat is going to disappear,’” said Flor Pereira, an influencer and founder of Penny Lane Blog. “Instagram created the same tool and they already have this huge user base of millions of people who use it.
“Most people aren’t going to use two apps when they can use one,” she added.
According to Pereira, Snapchat is difficult to use, especially when it comes to discoverability. For example, you can tag people on Instagram Stories, but you can’t do that in Snapchat. “Instagram basically took everything Snapchat had and made it better,” she said.
But it’s not just the ease of use that is growing Instagram Stories. The core problem for Snapchat is Instagram has more users worldwide than it does.
“Instagram has an existing audience that they can build on,” said Morgan Kaye, vice president of community and support at Bloglovin. “It’s not surprising that their Instagram Stories audience is larger than Snapchat’s.”
eMarketer principal analyst Cathy Boyle pointed out that with that big a difference, Instagram only needed one out of two of its users to adopt the new feature in order for Stories’ user base to exceed Snapchat’s.
“Also, Instagram has a larger global footprint than Snapchat, so in some international markets Instagram Stories is not directly competing with Snapchat Stories, at least not yet,” Boyle added.
Nevertheless, the growing popularity of Instagram Stories worldwide poses a significant challenge for Snapchat in the short term, both from an audience and advertising perspective.
Snapchat’s challenge is simple but steep: Expand its user base in order to increase its advertising revenues.
“If Instagram already has a strong foothold in key advertising markets worldwide and the adoption of Stories continues to grow among that user base, that will make it harder for Snapchat to differentiate itself and attract users in those markets,” Boyle said.
Shifts in how retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands think about ecommerce, combined with an accelerating acceptance among consumers for buying food digitally, have boosted online sales of groceries. Retailers and brands are taking note of these changing consumer behaviors and offering more digital options for grocery shopping and delivery, which will continue to drive the trend upward in 2017 and beyond.
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