Chasing Davies: Why I Am Sticking to Snapchat

August 8, 2016

Why I Am Sticking to Snapchat

Oh Instagram.... I'm pretty sure they knew they would start a frenzy when they totally ripped off Snapchat last week and launched Instagram Stories. And I guess no one should be surprised.  After all, Facebook (who owns Instagram) tried to buy Snapchat last year and Snap shut them down.  So when you can't buy it, you build it yourself.  I would have just hoped for it to be a little bit different and a little bit more unique to what was working on Instagram (and maybe what hasn't been working as well on Snapchat).  I'm sure it will continue to evolve, and you know Snapchat is going to have a rebuttal.  

But for now, I have compiled my thoughts on the pros and cons of each, and after playing with IG Stories this week - I have my own thoughts and plan to how I'll continue to use Snapchat vs. IG Stories (for now).  So, if you are interested, read on... and comment with your thoughts/plans!

Pros & Cons of IG Stories vs. Snapchat

1. I don't think Instagram can be everything for everyone. They grew for the love of photos. People started following others for photo inspiration. Because of the slower feed (people typically only post 1-2 times per day) and the quicker scroll to peruse through the visual feed, I personally follow a couple thousand accounts.  I follow accounts for several reasons - photo aesthetic, travel inspiration, to see other people like me (moms!), and other niche interests.

I do not follow all these people to see their behind the scene stories, talking, personalities, etc. Over on Snapchat is where I follow only about 150 accounts for that reason.  And I treat it like TV... At night or when I workout, I watch my Snapchat feed of those I choose to follow.  Sometimes I tap to skip - but I've chosen to watch these people/these accounts, so it's not too often.

I was watching Instagram Stories last week, and was tapping to skip stories, swipping to go to the next account, even stopping to scroll to look for a new account to start with. Because this type of content is not why I follow these accounts, and I follow too many, it became annoying fast.  Some stories even made me want to stop following the IG account altogether.

As a viewer, Instagram feels too messy and disorganized now.  It feels like there is too much stuff.  If I follow one person for their amazing travel photos, I now have to see them in their day to day stories feed, too.   I am sure I'd get use to it, but I guess I need more control. hah!

2. Then there is being the content creator and sharing out stories. I have been doing a bit of both last week - giving it a go.  On Instagram, I immediately had 3-4 times as many views as I typically get on Snap since on average people follow more accounts on IG and it's a more established channel (people already have followers there).  And while that's appealing, three things... 1) I'm sure that will wear off as people stop getting to know the "new" thing; 2) I might start losing IG followers myself for people who follow my more stagnant feed and don't like seeing my stories (I get it!); and 3) follower numbers isn't everything.  It's about connections and quality.

I am happy to see that my views to my Snap stories have not gone down - so people are either doing both, or the Snap followers are sticking to Snapchat.

3. Snapchat has more to offer.  I'm sure over time that could change, but not anytime soon.  No, I'm not just talking about the filters and lenses - those are great and a big reason why I do love creating Snapchat stories.  I also love the geo-filters, I think all of those filters/lenses help curate the story liek your own personal movie.  Those facial recognition lenses are also proprietary technology of Snapchat's - so one definite thing IG can't steal (though I'm sure they're working on creating their own).

Snapchat also has Live Stories of curated user-generated content to show you tons of different perspectives from around the world.  They have a discover channel that has reinvented how people "read" magazines and aided in how people now watch "TV."  Outside of NBC, Snapchat is also the exclusive broadcast part of the Olympics... This is just the first of this kind of partnership, truly making Snapchat (along with YouTube and other apps, some still to come) the future of TV.

4. But where Instagram is winning is in discovery. You can find people easier on Instagram (besides the tons you are already following) through direct links, hashtags, search and desktop usability (but not the IG stories).  Instagram accounts also ranks and pulls into regular Google Search. Searching for people to follow on Snapchat is definitely harder. You have to know who you are looking for and open the app to do so right through then and there (via user name, location or snapcode).

While overall I don't like following one person for both types of content, I actually think this is where IG totally could have done something cooler, and where there might be an opportunity to use IG Stories differently than on Snapchat (especially if you plan to use both).  While you're watching IG Stories, I wish the account photo up in the left corner was clickable to their IG account feed (you can already click from their account profile photo to the live story if there is one).  It'd be nice for those to go back and forth so maybe there was a way that their still photo/posted video and live story could tell a bigger story.

I like the idea of seeing someone who is in a cool place or traveling (for example) sharing a live story to be able to reference the photo that was just posted.  For fashion or beauty products, it'd be cool to see a tutorial or outfit being styled and then be able to link directly to the IG photo feed to like the photo linked to for those products to be email directly to you, for instance.

{You can find me on Snapchat at username ChasingDavies}

My Prediction: 

Snapchat is not going to die.  It's very much established with younger generations (where IG was starting to slip - and I don't think copying Snapchat is going to get that audience).  I also think that those that were more heavily invested on Snapchat already (actively using and liking it) will not leave.  And while Snapchat was on a quick rise with older audiences, that could slow down with this IG Stories roll out.  People who were interested in Snap or just starting to get going, yet already established on Instagram might move to Instagram Stories all together.

It will be very interesting to see what happens over the next month.  New shiny things can sometimes quickly fade, or they can continue to grow.  So more time will tell. I think people will use the channels differently, Snapchat will continue to be biggest for this kind of content and IG will grow with some demographics - and hopefully roll out some cool differentiations.

So, What am I going to do?

I sticking with Snapchat (mostly). The behind the scenes, day-to-day life, tutorials, product/fashion/home recommendations, travel experiences and overall discussion will still live on Snapchat. I will continue to use lenses to mix it up and use geo-filters to establish a sense of place.  I will also continue to use the direct chat back and forth to talk more directly with other Snapchat friends (I do think the direct messaging functionality so much better on Snapchat vs. IG).

Instagram will continue to be the best photo or two a day.  I will share big moments to small happenings, to bold photos to subtle sweet ones, of my kids, to my outfits and fashion finds, travel experiences, to Kansas City pride. And I will continue to lightly use and test IG Stories, but when it's more relevant to the photo that I just posted and not the same content as over on Snapchat.

I will coordinate my IG Stories to my photo feed, so that the story can be more from behind the photo, or share a more detailed experience that just one photo alone can show.  That's where I think IG can be different, where it can win. But I don't 'think I'll be using IG Stories daily (I think I'd start to loose too many followers).  For the more day to day type content, you can find me on Snapchat (username: ChasingDavies).

What about you? What do you think you'll do and what's your prediction for these channels?

Follow along here: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat Username: ChasingDavies