Remember that time when Instagram copied Snapchat’s features and didn’t even bother to change the name? Well, it happens to be that they stumbled on a really cool idea that turned into a unique feature — the ability to go back and forth in the Stories — that Snapchat wants now. The neat addition is available now as a part of the app update.
While it may seem like a minor update, it’s huge news for Snapchat lovers. How many times did they want to spend more time on a Story, or watch it one more time, but had to jump through the hoops of searching for that friends’ Story again? The struggle is real.
The latest update also brings the ability to share a snap from one friend’s story to another friend, similarly to Instagram Direct. It used to be that you could only share Snaps from Discover section, but now you can embarrass your friends not only in real life but also on Snapchat.
The final bonus of the latest update is the back camera filters that Snapchat calls “augmented reality.” You can apply the filters to photos taken with your back camera. Now not only selfies will be fun and silly.
It’s interesting to see the dynamic between the two networks. It used to be that every platform was trying to differentiate themselves from the others by focusing on one specific feature. For example, Pinterest is known for beautiful images and aspirational designs; Twitter is famous for short updates; and Facebook used to be about keeping in touch with friends.
However, the battle between Snapchat and Instagram shows that this is no longer the goal. And since Instagram and Snapchat are the hottest, fastest-growing players on the field, this may turn into a bigger market trend.
Now, if you really think about, Mark Zuckenberg has a flair for things that are about to go viral and is business-savvy enough to keep adding those things to his own arsenal. Think of acquisition of WhatsApp, introduction of Facebook Live, acquisition of Instagram, and finally, the declined proposal of acquiring Snapchat.
Now that younger generations are moving away from Facebook and on to Snapchats and Instagrams of the world, Facebook will stay relevant by pushing Instagram to the top. So, this competition won’t slow down anytime soon.
Are both Snapchat and Instagram running the risk of becoming too much like the other? It surely starts to look like that. While the goal might be to drive another app out of the game, they both may lose if (and when) the new hot app will enter the market and offer something unique and new.
So, while the two are copying each other’s’ features, they may be losing sight of their most important asset, their audience that craves a unique proposition.