Changelogs November Column: Snapchat vs Instagram

Which team are you on?
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Moshe Isaacian
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Which team are you on?
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Living in a technology-first society can be overwhelming but exciting at the same time. We’re at the point where we can livestream our experiences, immerse ourselves in virtual reality, or communicate with our friends and family at a touch of a button, but truth be told? It’s hard to stay on top of these changes. Whether you’re a corporate professional, student, musician, or freelancer, you might find yourself constantly too busy to determine which app or platform best suits your needs, and if you’re not someone who has the patience to keep track of each individual change, you will find yourself falling behind on the times and the competition.

Here’s where my column, Changelogs comes in.

My mission is to provide you a roundup of all the latest technology news across multiple sources into one easily digestible bite. Included will be releases, changes, tricks, tips from industry leaders, and my personal favorite, hidden and unreleased features exclusive to this column. If there’s a topic you want us to cover, let us know!

This edition of the column will cover the following: Snapchat Spectacles and its impact, New features on Instagram Stories, and breaking down Instagram vs Snapchat Stories.

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1. Snapchat Spectacles and 115-Degree Circular Video

The Who: One of the biggest tech products to launch this November were the Snapchat Spectacle that continues to dominate the news cycle, even to this day. Sold as a limited release, these $130 glasses, sold exclusively through randomly located bots, connect to your Snapchat app to shoot 10-30 second video

So what exactly makes these glasses so special?

The What: For starters, the way you produce and create content is now revolutionary. Not only do these glasses record from a first-person POV, but also create circular video. When viewing the video, rotating your phone from landscape to horizontal position allows you to view the video from different perspectives and explore the surrounding footage. Here’s a visual example to further explain:

The Why: For content creators and marketers, this new video format will open up endless opportunities for creatives. One way could be taking advantage of the first-person POV to shoot video from an artist's perspective of their day preparing for their live set. Hiding hidden messages in the corners of the video is another possibility, giving fans an extra treat by encouraging them to rotate their phones.

A great source of inspiration would be to look at Go Pro videos.

The How: For more use cases and technical explanation of how to take advantage of the video’s fullest potential, read this Medium Article. I also got my hands on a pair and recorded a video summarizing the features while unboxing the glasses, which you can view here

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2. Instagram Stories goes “Live” and other features

The Who: Instagram’s parent company Facebook is not keeping it secret that it wishes to dominate mobile app Snapchat at its own sharing game. With the introduction of Instagram Stories, many have found the Stories product to be more user-friendly and accessible than Snapchat, prompting many musicians, marketers, and influencers to flock back to the platform.

In November, Instagram pushed a slew of new features to Stories that set it apart from Snapchat. Here are a few that you may have missed. 

The What:

1) Mentions: One of the main advantages of Instagram Stories is the visibility of the content you produce. Your stories may be temporary, or they can be posted onto your profile- either way, it’s easy to further interact with the profiles of people who's content you’ve watched or the people who interacted with your own. 

Mentions takes this interaction to the next level. Now you can tag users in your Stories, just like you would with normal posts. When a user gets mentioned, they will receive a notification in their inbox or message requests, the latter which will happen if they don’t follow you

2) “See More”: Got a link you want to put people to from your Stories content? This feature allows people to swipe up from your content and redirects them to a video, article, and other content you want to direct them to.

NOTE: This is in testing and available for verified accounts only at this moment. 

3) Instagram Live: Following with its popular livestream craze, Facebook has added the ability to go “Live” straight from Stories. You’ll have the ability to go live by swiping up from the camera and choosing friends to hit notifications and sit back while users add hearts all over your stream Broadcasters will also be able to comment on the stream and pin other people’s comments, so make sure to interact with your audience as much as you can!

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The Why: Not much needs to be discussed on the known fact that going Live is encouraged and will be the biggest traffic booster for anyone using Instagram Stories. “Mentions” could be a great way to convert regular fans to superfans in an instant. Since you have the ability to keep track of who views your stories from one content to another, you can reward viewers who finish your stories consistently with a story mention and a gift to follow. Your super fan will receive their 15-seconds of fame (quite literally) and others will want to participate in appearing on your story too.

It goes without saying that producing high-quality content and offering simple rewards is key. 

The How: For more on the how these features will work, visit Techcrunch’s announcement of Instagram Live here and Instagram’s official blog post on “See More” and “Mentions”

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3. Platform Matchup: Instagram vs Snapchat Stories

The hottest debate between users of Snapchat and Instagram centers on which platform has a better Stories product. My personal answer would be to either use both or choose one where your network exists on the most. Regardless if you agree with my answer or wish to consolidate to one platform, here are the most important notes about each platform to help with your next decision:

Snapchat Stories:

  1. Younger, hyper-engaged age group of users
  2. User behavior is already accustomed to flipping between longer stories
  3. Content is more fun, unfiltered, creative, spontaneous, and doesn’t necessarily need to be be HQ
  4. Uploading content is available but detracts from the story
  5. Geofilters and Facemasks encourage your audience to interact with your content more
  6. Snapchat Spectacles and circular video
  7. No public profile, mentions, or links within story content

Instagram Stories:

  1. Varying age groups with longer attention spans.
  2. People look for more professional, HQ content with production value on the app at an all time high
  3. Business-friendly allowing for links, mentions, and uploads from camera roll to Stories
  4. Stories content can remain permanent by posting it straight to your Instagram feed
  5. More aesthetic filters and geotags, which Snapchat doesn’t have
  6. Content is easily accessible and allows you to keep track of users who watch your Stories

Conclusion: If pressed for time, choosing one platform is the safest choice at this point. But if you have the ability to, creating content for both platforms or creating for one and then uploading to another is a recommended choice.

Stay tuned for more Changelogs content in the coming month and for any clarification or questions, feel free to reach out on Facebook or email me at mosheisaacian@gmail.com.