Last week, Instagram introduced their newest feature, Instagram Stories and gave the world a serious case of déjà vu in the process. The app that’s best known for its perfectly composed and highly edited images has taken a page from its competition, introducing an uncharacteristically spontaneous new feature that seems strikingly similar to Snapchat. Just like Snapchat Stories, this new feature lets users upload and string together un-edited photos and videos that are then shared with followers for a 24-hour period. But just how alike are these two story features? We’re putting the two side by side to see how they stack up.
Instagram Stories are hard to miss – the app displays them at the top of the feed, front and center. They’re listed in the order of your closest friends, as determined by Instagram’s algorithm. Unlike Instagram, Snapchat Stories have their own separate feed and are listed in chronological order, with the most recent update at the top. Users are not automatically shown these updates; they must click through to view them.
Perhaps you want to watch the Snapchat Story of a friend or favorite celeb, but you don’t know their username. This is going to be a problem since Snapchat only allows you to search by username. Finding Stories to follow on Instagram is much easier because the community already exists. For those people you already follow, their Stories will automatically appear in your feed. Want to find new followers? Search them by name and click the Follow button just as you would to follow their Instagram posts and voilà! You can now keep tabs on their Story updates!
Content Creation vs. Content Consumption
Instagram prioritizes content consumption over content creation. That’s why when you open the app, you land on your feed as opposed to your camera roll. You can check out what other users are posting before posting yourself. Instagram doesn’t automatically direct you into your camera roll; you must manually click through to the designated page to share content.
Snapchat takes the opposite approach, prioritizing content creation over consumption. On Snapchat, the app opens to your camera, and you must swipe sideways to view your Stories or personal Snaps. Once in your Stories feed, you must swipe through to your camera each time you access your personal Snaps and vice versa. There is no way to skip this step, no direct way to view other’s content.
Overall, the differences between the two apps are minimal. However, Instagram’s subtleties contribute to a much friendlier user interface that just might give it a leg up on the competition. Instagram might be lacking when it comes to doodling capabilities and fun features (think Snapchat Stickers, face recognition, and Memories), but with less navigation and buttons to get in the way it’s never been easier to share your story. Instagram may have taken Snapchat’s idea, but it successfully streamlined the steps in the process.