Oh Snap: How Instagram Stories Is Basically Snapchat’s Cooler Younger Brother

Audrey Morgan
Audrey is a freelance writer and recent graduate from Appalachian State that has an obsession with avocado toast and pop culture. When she's not writing you can most likely find her sitting down with a glass of red wine and judgingly watching reality TV.

Many of you probably noticed Tuesday morning, as you ritualistically checked all of your social media networks from the comfort of your cozy bed, that something looked a little different on your Instagram. Your friends’ and favorite brands’ avatars illuminated in hues of pinks and oranges sitting at the top of your feed beckoned your curiosity. So you did what any rational, 21st century person would do. You tapped, and like most of us at first glance you probably thought, “Oh no they didn’t!”

Instagram released a new feature on August 2 that’s so similar to Snapchat they’re actually calling it the same thing. Instagram Stories allows you to post and view ephemeral content within a 24 hour time period. Sound familiar? They say imitation is the biggest form of flattery, but I don’t think Snapchat is feeling that way. Although the feature and app look almost identical, a few subtle aspects make Instagram’s way better.

So here’s why you could consider Instagram Stories Snapchat’s cooler younger brother.

1. Searching and finding users is much easier

It’s no secret that one of Snapchat’s major downfalls is the difficulty that comes with finding other users. Unless you have a phone number or Snapcode, it often takes some research to find someone you want to follow. Instagram’s already established format makes it easy to find and follow other Grammers. You also don’t need to follow someone to see their story. As long as they aren’t private, their story can be seen just by visiting their profile.


2. You can see where one story ends and another begins

Since Snapchat’s auto play feature released in March, it’s received a lot of backlash. Not only does it make skipping stories difficult, it’s also hard to see when one person’s story ends and another behinds. Instagram conveniently puts each user’s avatar and displays a timeline of your progression through the story. There’s also a clear signal of a rotating cube that makes it evident you are on to the next story.


3. You can go back and forth through stories

Instagram Story allows you to control your progression through posts. With a simple swipe left or right you can move forward or backwards through content. Snapchat doesn’t allow you to move back after you’ve viewed a Snap and while stories can often times move quickly, this feature can become annoying.


4. Instagram has a higher reach

It’s evident that Instagram’s broader reach puts Snapchat at a disadvantage. The platform has more daily users and an ample amount of tested tools. Brands are already jumping on the Instagram Stories movement because of this. Nike is definitely reaping the benefits, disclosing to Ad Age their recent Instagram Story got 800,000, as opposed to their most popular Snapchat Story obtaining only 66,000 views. As brands discover the power in this new feature Snapchat will certainly take a beating.


5. You can restrict viewing for certain people on specific stories

Snapchat doesn’t allow you to block certain users from an individual story whereas Instagram does, and specifically by certain demographics as well. This comes in handy for adult brands, such as alcohol brands like Ketel One and Buchanan’s whisky who crafted several Instagram Story videos this week targeted to only those 21 and up.


6. It’s inclusive to both content observers and content consumers

This is really where Snapchat and Instagram digress. While on Snapchat the only permanent aspect of a user’s profile is their snapscore, Instagram has a both ephemeral and enduring content which rewards users with trackable likes and comments. This encourages not necessarily a large quantity of posts from users, but quality. It promotes aesthetic and thoughtful posts, but also candid content and doesn’t score users based on how often they post. You can be a big fan of Instagram and not be someone who posts often, while the same isn’t true with Snapchat. Because this makes Instagram Stories a huge favorite for commercial use and marketing, the money will move here. Unless Snapchat hits back their story might end here.

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