Today, Instagram is introducing a new feature of its app that looks to directly compete against Snapchat. The feature, called “Stories,” has the exact same function of the same name as Snapchat – users will be able to upload transient photos and videos to their feed throughout the day and the content will disappear in 24 hours.
Instagram is poised to overtake Snapchat as a service for two reasons. First, Instagram’s platform is already well-established with 300 million users, according to Verge. According to Bloomberg, as of two months ago, Snapchat was just breaking 150 million daily active users.
Second, Instagram has a more sophisticated (read: existing) search functionality for users to find celebrities, models, athletes and musicians that they want to follow. In Snapchat, you basically have to have a user’s Snapchat username or their Snapchat code in order to add them. This will be infinitely more attractive to users who are already using Instagram more than Snapchat, and could even cause some users to jump ship.
Our concern, though admittedly we don’t have any lawyers on staff, is that Instagram is encroaching far too close on Snapchat’s model, even going so far as to call their new feature by the same name as Snapchat’s. The feature resembles Snapchat’s in another way, by capping videos and photos in Stories at 10 seconds. And again, as with Snapchat, users will have the opportunity to respond to Stories with text messages that will appear inside the Instagram Direct mailbox.
It will likely take a week or two before Instagram users become comfortable using the new feature. Whether they choose to use it exclusively within Instagram or prefer to switch between Instagram and Snapchat remains to be seen.