Snap out of it! Or how Instagram is winning the battle for the young

Earlier this week we learned that some of the world’s biggest influencers are turning away from Snapchat. One out of every two influencers have stopped using Snapchat and just 1% feel Snapchat will be the most important social medium in the next 10 years. This switch can be explained mostly by influencers not feeling that Snapchat can be as engaging or play the role of its biggest rival, Instagram.

It’s a fact – Snapchat is struggling with engagement. In our fast paced world, some companies fall while others quickly rise to take their place. That seems to ring true for Instagram and Snapchat.

This story begins in 2013. Back then, Mark Zuckerberg decided to make an offer to buy Snapchat for $3 billion dollars. He was fascinated by how popular Snapchat was becoming and the future that seemed to lay ahead. Nevertheless, the shareholders of Snapchat felt this offer was too low and didn’t reflect the true value of the company. As we know, they rejected the offer.

Instagram user grow

Unable to buy Snapchat, Mark Zuckerberg decided to compete with it, using a social media channel he had just acquired at the time, Instagram. To compete, he changed the entire Instagram format and created “stories” in 2016. Stories become so popular that the function has now reached 200 million daily users while Snapchat has only 166 million daily users. In just one year, Instagram became the leader of ephemeral videos.

There’s no consensus as to why Instagram became more popular than Snapchat. Some argue that since Instagram belongs to Facebook, users adapted it more easily (the channels work in an identical way). Others point out the change might have happened because Instagram stories are of a better quality in terms of images and stickers.Regardless of view, the fact is that Instagram has passed Snapchat.

That said, the race has not ended. Snapchat has tried to fight Instagram by creating new features and coming up with novel concepts. For example:

In 2016,  Snapchat created “Spectacles”. These $130 sunglasses allow users to take photos and send them immediately to their friends. This concept is innovative, and Snapchat recently started distributing the product in Europe.

In July, Snapchat installed a “Snapbot”( a vending machine that sells “Spectacles”) in London. There are also plans to put “Snapbots” in Venice, Paris, Berlin, and Barcelona.

A more recent example of Snapchat’s development happened last month when it released several new features such as paper clips and snap maps. The paper clip allows you to tag your snaps and websites so your friends can check them out. The snap map on the other hand allows you to share your location with your friends and relatives in your own snaps.

From any vantage point, the race is far from being over. Let’s see if  Snapchat and/or Instagram can grow to become even more mainstream and also reach the Brussels opinion makers. Currently, Twitter and Facebook are the only social channels that made it to the top-10 “Most Read, Most Influential EU Media Publication” according to the ComRes/Burson Marsteller 2017 media survey of EU influencers.

Of course, what’s most exciting about social media is the constant change and development so stick around and see what comes. One thing that can be guaranteed is that it will be an exciting ride!


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