I have deemed Instagram Stories for “the followers” not “the friends.” In order to prove this theory is predicated on more than a personal opinion, I decided to do a case study on a few users. This case study consisted of my most active “friend” story poster my most active “influencer” story poster. I decided to look at their Snapstory vs. Instagram story usage over a 3-day period to determine how frequently they posted to one or both platforms and what type of content they posted (was it the same/different?).
The friend I chose to follow, who will not be named, is one of the more avid users I know. Her Instagram story was actually a picture of herself she had taken on Snapchat where she had drawn her snapchat name onto the image. She told her Instagram followers to go follow her on Snapchat so that they could be updated on her life throughout the day. On her Snapchat story, she posted the mundane of her day while (of course) posing in various filters. We saw her with her dogs, in the car, out to dinner with friends, and the list goes on. The Instagram story remained one image of her asking users to follow her on Snapchat. She did not use the story timeline on Instagram to update users of her daily doings.
The influencer I chose to follow is Dillon Francis, who is notorious for posting Snapchat stories that last 5 minutes long. His Snapchat stories are often short skits he puts together with friends that are planned with props, locations, and characters. His Snapchat story had his website typed out in multiple snaps of him yelling at fans to go to his website because he was releasing a collaborative music video with another artist. The snapchat story also had clips of music he had posted to Soundcloud, culminating with a Snap story which was a piñata hiding in a closet. The viewer is told they will see the piñata’s fate in the new music video should they decide to check it out. This is as opposed to Dillon Francis’s Instagram story… which is simply a photo of the piñata in the closet with no call to action. While Instagram would have arguably been the better platform to post a directive to go to a website (you can have website links on your profile page), even influencers are still using Snapchat to disseminate messages.
When scrolling through Instagram stories, I found that people rarely posted mundane things the way they do on Snapchat. Influencers and friends alike would post one or two moments that were generally as edited and perfected as their photos were. The moments posted were posed and thoughtfully put together as opposed to messy and candid. Snapchat stories were posted far more frequently, and it felt like not a lot of thought went into the editing, timing, or content of the posts.
One underlying difference between the two apps is always going to be a poster’s call to action ability. On Snapchat, an influencer can request that followers Snapchat them back. Whether the influencer actually checks the replies or not… we will never know, however directly Snapchatting another user is a pretty normal thing to do. On Instagram, it is entirely uncommon to direct message people, therefore a call to action within a story on this platform will probably be for followers to go to his/her profile page to click on a link. Additionally, on the Instagram story feature, you can only directly message those who follow you back. With our friends, there is a “send message” option in the lower left hand corner of a story. With influencers that don’t follow us back, this option is unavailable. I think this only adds to people’s tendency to use Snapchat as the interactive “every moment” platform while Instagram stories are more attractive to those who are trying to lead users to a website.
Due to the lack of interaction a user can have with those who post Instagram stories vs. Snapchat stories, I think Snapchat will forever be where we follow our friends for the mundane and every day. Instagram stories, while great, are for the few and far between moments we would really like to craft and edit. These are characteristics of the apps that even new features will not change!