Whose Story Is It Anyway?

Snapchat may be one of the fastest growing social media platforms ever.  The now popular multimedia messaging service got a late start to the game; beginning in only 2011, Snapchat may be one of the youngest platforms, but is also one of the most used.  Other popular social media outlets began operating as early as 2006 (Twitter), or even 2004 (Facebook), several years before Snapchat was available in any App Store.

According to research on Statista.com, Facebook is, without surprise, the most popular social media platform.  With 1.87 billion active monthly users, it corners the market.  Instagram sits at around 600 million, Twitter follows with about 317 million, and Snapchat rings in at a still impressive 300 million.

There is no question that the three social media giants—Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter—recognize their younger cousin’s successes and competitive ability. 

In recent months, consumers have watched Instagram and Facebook scramble to mirror Snapchat’s once unique stories feature.  It is clear that ‘Instagram Stories,’ and ‘Facebook Stories,’ are blatant rip-off responses to Snapchat’s continued success.

In my experience, people have not taken too fondly to Instagram’s story feature—I have yet to post one on my own account—however, there are a reported 150 million daily users of the platform’s newest feature.  Snapchat maintains a comfortable lead of about 10 million more daily users. 

As advertisers work to find new ways to promote their products and services in a constantly changing marketing environment, stories are a new and exciting medium for promotion.  Currently, there are three different ways to advertise on Snapchat: Snap Ads, Sponsored Geofilters, and Sponsored Lenses/filters.  Snapchat has sold ad space for a fairly decent amount of time, but has amped up their efforts in the past couple months as Instagram also recently began selling ad space in their stories feature.  Facebook has yet to link advertising opportunity to their stories feature. 

Snapchat’s advertising webpage explains the many ways that their app can be used for “the best mobile video ad,” and proudly shares the success stories of those who have advertised with them in the past.  The company’s ad page also shares the plethora of targeting abilities offered with their advertising services, “age, gender, geographical location, mobile device, operating system (Android or iOS), mobile carrier, interests, Snapchat's first-party audiences, lookalikes, and purchase intent with Datalogix segments.” 

The implementation of both Instagram and Facebook stories, followed by the sale of ad space in Instagram’s story feature, are clues to the cutting-edge, continual success of Snapchat.  For companies interested in advertising with story features, Snapchat remains the leader due to the loyalty of their users having been the first to offer such opportunity.

While competition continues to develop for the still young social media outlet, it is important to note that Snapchat is being copied, not copying.