There’s no denying that Snapchat’s Stories feature heavily influenced Instagram’s recently added Stories feature. Not only do the two share the same name, but they’re both incredibly similar in their design and overall goal. As a user, all you have to do is create some interesting picture or video. By “uploading” it to your Story, you grant your friends on either platform the ability to see what you did — as much as they want — for a full 24 hours. After that, your little moment is lost forever.
Simple, right? While all is fair in love and app development, many have made the obvious observation that Instagram blatantly copied Snapchat for its new feature. Does that really matter, though? We don’t think so, especially since Instagram executives have no trouble admitting this fact and tossing credit where credit is due. At least, that’s what Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said in a recent interview with TechCrunch: Snapchat deserves the kudos for coming up with the idea.
“Innovation happens in the Valley, and people invent formats, and that’s great. And then what you see is those formats proliferate. So @ usernames were invented on Twitter. Hashtags were invented on Twitter. Instagram has those. Filtered photos were not invented on Instagram,” Systrom said.
“And I think what you see is that every company looks around and adopts the best of the best formats or state-of-the-art technology. Snapchat adopted face filters that existed elsewhere first, right? And slideshows existed in other places, too. Flipagram was doing it for a while. So I think that’s the interesting part of the Valley. You can’t just recreate another product. But you can say ‘what’s really awesome about a format? And does it apply to our network?'”
That said, Instagram still lacks the fun little filters that Snapchat users can slap over their faces to create funny new pictures and videos. Facebook is currently testing this very feature in its own application; it’s a reasonable guess that the company would roll out such a feature to Instagram as well at some point.
What Snapchat lacks, however, is Instagram’s sprawling network. As Business Insider recently reported, Instagram has around 300 million daily active users to Snapchat’s estimated 150 million. Its advertising tools make it easier for brands to reach people (and vice versa), and advertisers can get much more traction on Instagram than on Snapchat. In one example, Nike managed to acquired 800,000 views for a single Instagram Story, or just over 12 times the number of views the company’s most successful Snapchat Story received.
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