Watch out, Snapchat. Facebook is taking you on with its new Instagram Stories feature in Instagram. Like Snapchat, Instagram Stories lets you draw on photos and videos then post them where followers can see your impromptu works of art before they disappear 24 hours later.
If Instagram Stories sounds like a clone of Snapchat, that’s because it is. It’s also Facebook’s very blatant attempt to keep Snapchat from eating too much into its own user base.
Snapchat hasn’t reached Instagram’s size yet, but is growing in popularity and could draw away advertisers—something Facebook would no doubt like to avoid. The best way to do that it seems is for Facebook to use Instagram clone Snapchat.
Instagram is already a photo diary-style social networking service, so adding expiring photo and video features there is a better fit than mashing them into Facebook’s already busy interface. Stories are also far less likely to get lost in an service that focuses on photos than on one catering to longer text-based conversations.
Assuming Instagram Stories catches on, it’ll create a new way to drive up engagement and could be a draw for new users, too. That translates into more advertising dollars for Instagram and the company that owns it, Facebook.
Snapchat could cry foul and say Instagram is ripping off its features. On the other hand, It could also say Twitter did the same thing with its Stickers feature, and Instagram could say Snapchat Memories stole its permanent photo storage concept. The bottom line is that it’s a wild free-for-all in the social network game with everyone stealing everyone else’s features.
In this case, however, Snapchat may be a little more uptight because Instagram Stories is essentially a clone of Snapchat Stories. Instagram also has Facebook’s weight and legal team behind it.
The big question now is whether or not Instagram Stories will be the downfall of Snapchat. The answer to that, most likely, is no. Instagram has historically drawn an older demographic compared to Snapchat’s younger crowd. That probably won’t change with Instagram Stories, and there are plenty of users to go around.
The real issue for Snapchat will be convincing advertisers the market is valuable enough to support two social networks offering many identical features. For now, the answer to that is yes, and considering how popular Snapchat is, that isn’t going to change any time soon.