Why it matters to you
Instagram may not have gotten there first but it appears to be growing faster than Snapchat and that will only draw more users.
Instagram only launched Stories last August and yet in April of this year, the company reported more than 200 million users of the feature, which was developed to take on Snapchat. While it may have started off as a “me too” play, now that a year has passed since Instagram copied Snapchat with Stories, the feature has become a “me first” component of the app. Instagram announced that 50 percent of businesses on the platform created a Story in the last month, and more importantly, people are now spending more time on Instagram than they are on Snapchat. So while Snapchat might have done it first, it looks like Instagram is doing it better.
Today, the average 25-and-under Instagram user spends 32 minutes a day on the app, while those over 25 spend 24 minutes browsing photos and videos on the Facebook-owned platform every day. There are now 250 million people using Instagram Stories every day, whereas Snapchat boasts just 166 million. What’s more, Snapchat’s monthly active user growth rate has seen a rather precipitous decline of 17.2 percent per quarter to just 5 percent, and its stock price is following suit — when the company went public earlier this year, it was trading at $17 a share. Now, after this latest Instagram news, it’s fallen to just $12.67, an all-time low.
The news of Stories’ success is not necessarily surprising, but it is impressive, considering Snapchat claimed around 150 million users when it filed for its initial public offering in February. It took the startup five years to get to that point and growth reportedly slowed over the fourth quarter of 2016 — one would imagine, in no small part, thanks to its Facebook-owned competitor.
Instagram commemorated its 200 million user milestone by adding an assortment of new stickers and sticker-related features. Now selfies can be made into stickers, and users can decorate them with different frame styles. Stickers can also be pinned to three-dimensional objects in videos — a feature the app has borrowed from Snapchat. It works with text as well.
Another Snapchat-similar feature is Instagram’s ‘recent’ page, that puts your favorite stickers more easily within reach.
None of these features are unique to Instagram. Snapchat boasts a seemingly endless number of geostickers, for example, and allows you to make new stickers out of anything you can see (in addition to your face) through its scissors tool. The fact that Stories has been able to accomplish the reach that it has, and continue to grow despite being routinely late to the party, speaks to the power of Instagram’s install base — which was estimated at 400 million back in February.
Update: 50 percent of businesses created an Instagram Story last month as the feature continues to surpass Snapchat in popularity.