When Instagram launched its Stories feature in August 2016, most people scoffed at what appeared to be a blatant rip off of Snapchat. However, it soon became pretty clear that social media addicts were being wooed away (or at least were willing to share serious time with) from Snapchat’s dog filters and quickly deleted ugly selfies in huge numbers. By January of 2017, there were over 150 million Insta Story daily active users. Those numbers continued to skyrocket, and according to reports, Instagram Stories now boasts 250 million daily DAUs, with Snapchat garnering 166 million.
According to Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s global head of sales, this success will only continue, telling CNBC:
“If you think about it a year ago when we sat together, Instagram Stories didn’t exist. Today on the platform, we not only have 250 million people using it, but actually a third (of the most viewed stories) are businesses using Instagram Stories and one million are advertisers. Our user growth for stories is actually coming at the explosive growth for Instagram overall. Instagram is now at 700 million people globally.”
With such unprecedented growth, one can’t help but wonder what makes Instagram the more popular option. However, there are a couple of things to consider: first of all, people, especially millennials, like ease of access. We want all of our content in one place. So, having a Snapchat-like service right there in the same app that we’re curating our more permanent digital footprint within is a huge bonus.
Secondly, Instagram Stories are continuing to evolve. It started out as a simple video and photo option that deleted the uploads after 24 hours, but has since developed DM services that delete semi-instantly (just like Snapchat’s main draw), customizable filters and stickers, the ability to tag other users, and a live streaming option.
Snapchat, with a few exceptions (bring back the bunny filter, please and thank you), has remained largely the same. Instagram Stories may have started out by essentially stealing Snapchat’s ideas, but it has managed to add enough new tech that it feels like the more forward thinking option. Thanks for getting the ball rolling, Snapchat, but Instagram will take it from here.