Ever since Instagram launched its own version of Stories August 2016, there has been big controversy about the move being an attack on its rival Snapchat – arguably, with a cause. Instagram Stories is exactly everything we’ve come to know and love about the Snapchat app. Disappearing videos, images, and messages.
A brief history would explain why the whole digital sphere would pit these two big names in social media against each other – and now, it seems, Facebook is going full force:
2012: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, buys Instagram from Kevin Systrom for $1 billion April 2012. In December the same year, Facebook launches Poke, its first attempt at disappearing messages.
2013: Zuckerberg tries to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion; Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel refuses the offer.
2014: Facebook’s second attempt at making an app with similar features as Snapchat is Slingshot, launched June 2014. The twist to Slingshot is that replies were mandated. Soon after its launch, however, the company removes the mandatory replies. Later this year, Facebook tries to add a twist to their site, adding a feature that gives users the option of an expiration date on their posts.
2015: Facebook’s update allows their users to swipe into filters, much similar to Snapchat filters. Later on, they launch a beta testing of disappearing messages on Messenger.
2016: March 2016 sees Facebook acquiring MSQRD, an app that lets users play with filters that alter the face – some of which were originally seen on Snapchat. A month later, the company introduced Messenger Codes. In August, Instagram releases their own version of Stories, largely hitting the target audience of Snapchat. This year Facebook tries and fails in its bidding for Snow, dubbed the Snapchat of Asia.
2017: Facebook launches Facebook Stories in Ireland, and is planning to expand to more countries soon.
Facebook has long been trying to join the ephemeral messaging bandwagon, finding success with Instagram Stories. Although Snapchat was way ahead of the competition and is credited for the idea, the launch of Instagram Stories greatly affected Snapchat, as the app’s user growth slowed by 82% after the release of Instagram Stories.
The never-ending chase of Facebook on Snapchat is totally understandable. Snapchat boasts 152 million daily users. Its average daily user opens Snapchat 18 times a day and uses it for 25 to 30 minutes, with 60 percent of them creating Snaps and/or using its chat feature daily. Despite Facebook having a larger number of users in tow, the instant gratification and exclusivity of ephemeral messages that Snapchat is known for is key to getting people hooked. Instagram Stories is proof of this, garnering 100 million daily active users in less than a year of its release, and Facebook wants to get in on the action.
The steady battle of the social media giants on attracting a wider regular user base does not seem to be coming to a halt any time soon. The big names continue to push the envelope- and, each other’s buttons- and fashion the way we communicate.