Despite Being a Rip-off, Instagram Stories is a better User Experience than Snapchat
It used to be that social platforms only coyly competed against each other. But with the literal rip-off of Snapchat Stories, even taking its name, Instagram has called it war. Twitter’s take on introducing stickers to its images did not catch on as much as Instagram stories has. Several weeks into it, it seems that it is fundamentally, – despite being a knockoff – an actually good platform. Why is that?
Reaches out to an established Instagram following
Instagram celebrities are no joke. Many get hired, paid, and classified as influencers based on their following. So for your followers to see your stories, without the choice of following, is a win. Most Instagram stars have a larger Instagram following than Snapchat, which thankfully thus far, has no follower metrics, only a Snapchat score (which is the sum of all snaps sent and received).
Followers and non-follower views of stories
Aside from the fact that Instagram Stories caters to an already established following, one can also look at stories from people they don’t follow. While dissimilar from brand stories on Snapchat, the feature works for seeing stories from people you don’t necessarily follow – something unavailable on Snapchat. Further, Snapchat makes it less intuitive to add a friend without knowing their username; although it does have an upper hand in adding people from your contact list (or for those socialites out there, from a recently added list of phone numbers).
No sex-ting hangover
Like it or not, Snapchat will likely never emerge from its founding usage as a sex-ting app. Disappearing stories of intimate pictures gave birth to a new series of apps – saving snaps without having to take a screenshot. Which is still the case with Snapchat, which informs users if you replay a snap, take a screenshot, or essentially do more than just view it. None of that for Instagram stories.
An easier (and arguably prettier) interface
The reason many “older generations”, including older millennials, do not use Snapchat comfortably is that the motions of swiping entire screens is at first confusing. Instagram makes all that easier, with clear buttons to send a story, save it, etc. As a bonus, the only way to interact is to use their under-utilized Instagram Direct product. Plus, with different font styles, Instagram’s free form writing unleashes inner artists and creative expression better. The quality of video on Instagram stories is also far superior to Instagram’s regular videos and Snapchat videos, which are often shakier and overlaid with graphics or poorly constructed art.
Easier availability of anticipated story counts
Whether you have one Snap or a several minute Snapchat story, its hard to gauge without tapping through all of them, as the circle on the top right is hard to read. On Instagram, a clear bar on the top showcases how many stories one has to make it through with a person. Plus, a left swipe is easy for skipping a person’s stories altogether, a feature absent from Snapchat. This makes it a more efficient and less time-consuming user experience.
Intuitive uploads from camera roll
Snapchat only introduced Snapchat memories as a more recent product, with the ability to upload previously taken pictures, and with a default option of saving photos to your Memories instead of Camera Roll. While initially confusing, and while Memories themselves are polarizing, the product has met with a lot of appreciation with users who liked uploading previously taken pictures. Instagram Stories skips the entire process for a simple downward swipe to upload pictures from the previous 24 hours. Once again, an easier interface.
Snapchat is still a world favorite product, but Instagram definitely poses a threat. Nonetheless, with the viral penetration of Snapchat, owing to its geo-locations, intuitive texting interface, and addictive facial recognition distortions, it will be interesting to see what rebuttal strategy it adopts. If any, which may be best to stay true to its organic growth and roots.