Ever since Instagram launched its version of Stories earlier this month they have come under a lot of flak for having copied Snapchat’s popular feature. Almost everybody agrees that Instagram’s feature is strikingly similar to the one found on Snapchat. They seem to have ripped off Snapchat’s video storytelling style of temporary stories and it is packaged almost identically. However, going beyond the superficial similarities, Instagram has managed to pack in a lot many innovations that have taken the feature to a new level. Take a look at some of the stuff Instagram Stories got right:
Simpler To UseUI:
The initiative taken by Instagram was not a kneejerk reaction to a competitor’s feature becoming popular is amply proved by the fact that Instagram has taken the trouble of spending the time and the effort to study Snapchat’s feature in detail and substantially improve the user interface. Instagram’s approach is simple – the screen’s top displays all the stories and more can be added by tapping a small plus sign on the top left of the screen. Users can click a photo, shoot a video, and turn on or off the flash, add text and do whatever they want and post it to be displayed for the next 24 hours, after which it disappears.
Instagram has also made the navigation in Stories extremely intuitive. The feed’s top displays new stories, which scroll in a straight line from left to right. Tap on the story you want to read and move on to the one you like next. In comparison, Snapchat’s UI can take hours of getting used to for new users because there are all sorts of tapping, jabbing, swiping, etc. that needs to be undertaken to access the stories you want.
Exhaustive Search Capabilities:
Even though it is a component of the user interface, the search facilities that Instagram offers is not limited to Instagram Stories. It is now very easy for users to find specific people that they want to follow with the exhaustive search capabilities provided. Searching is possible by both first and last names, as well as usernames. If you want to find followers interested in specific genres you can search by subjects too. Instagram now also features an “Explore” option that delivers content from other users, which it thinks you would be interested in and disposed to follow. Snapchat is sadly lacking in this sort of functionality. It has a “Discover” feature that only displays stories from publishers that it trusts like ESPN, MTV, Buzzfeed, etc. With Snapchat there’s simply no way of discovering other followers and if you are searching for someone specific you must know their exact username or else you can just forget about it. For a more detailed comparison of the search functions visit Instamacro.com.
Higher Engagement Levels Displayed:
Since Instagram is placing new stories on the top of the feed it becomes easier for viewers to see them. Brands have already reported that their engagement with users has reached an all-time high. Proving this right is Nike’s first Instagram story that received more in 800,000 views in the allotted 24 hours in comparison to its most popular video on Snapchat that got a relatively paltry 66,000 views. That represents a factor of 12 times more user engagement by Instagram. While it is still too early for statistics across more brands to come in, it is still a pointer that Instagram really seems to have scored in this department quite emphatically.
While Instagram seems to have hit it off just right with its users who had always wanted a Snapchat type of story feature, it is still too early to say whether Instagram will prevail over its competitor. There are even now some features like messaging and facial recognition that Snapchat users will swear that are simply great and worth staying for.