The advent of “instant stories” is a relatively new one.
It all started with Snapchat. This instant messaging service was especially popular with teens and those in their early ’20’s–you could take photos or short videos of yourself, and send them directly to friends, or you could post them to the “My Story” feature on Snapchat, so that all of your followers could watch if they wanted to.
The idea was this; to create a chronicle of your day, but one that would be disposable. 24 hours later, your story would poof! disappear.
There are lots of people that didn’t (and still don’t) get this. It’s partly because of the millennial mindset: they tend to be more interested in experiences, rather than owning things. For me, I like disposable media because it allows me to share myself on social media at my most imperfect. I’ll often experiment with new recipes here, ones that may fail, and you’ll often see me posting with my hair in a ponytail and no makeup.
This is in, of course, stark contrast to my blog, where the recipes I post are carefully tested and tried, and my Instagram, where I’m definitely wearing eyeliner in all my selfies.
Instant stories allow us to be less formal; less in search of perfection. More real. And I love that. Social media can sometimes use to be a little more real.
But the question at hand is this: today, in early 2017, we now have 4 platforms to choose from when doing instant stories. Let me run them down for you.
Snapchat: the original. You can do photos and up to 10 second videos, add filters and silly special effects. Send to “my story” and they live for 24 hours there. In business since 2011.
Instagram Stories: While Instagram was launched in 2010, Instagram Stories only came out last year. The backstory goes like this: way back in 2013, Facebook (who owns Instagram) offered to buy Snapchat for $3Billion. Snapchat turned them down. So Facebook set out to take Snapchat down, by basically reproducing their exact platform. Last summer, they launched Instagram Stories, which is essentially a clone of Snapchat, except for the selfie filters.
Just recently, Instagram Stories surpassed Snapchat in daily active users. For realz. I’ll talk more about this a bit later.
FB Messenger My Day: Just last month, Facebook Messenger introduced a feature called “My Day.” Total Snapchat clone.
Facebook Stories: has been rolling out over the last few weeks. It’s such a new feature, you may not have even gotten it yet. You’ll see it above your timeline on the app if you do have it.
So–to the question at hand. Which one of these four contenders is the best one for you and your business? The challenge with having so many is that it’s nigh impossible to create content for all four of them. You could, of course, create content for one and then upload that same content to all 4, but I’m not sure that’s the answer. I’m not crazy about the idea. So, you should use the one where you’re going to get the best bang for your buck, right?
How can we determine that? Numbers, my friend. Sheer numbers.
I posted a image across all four networks and then observed the amount of eyeballs I got. Here’s the comparison chart:
|Network||Number of followers||Average views of stories|
|FB stories||1800 + 576 followers||13|
|FB My Day||(same as FB?)||20|
A couple of (*) notes on this chart: first off, it’s impossible to know exactly how many followers you have on Snapchat, because they don’t tell you. My educated guess is around 1500. Secondly, before Instagram Stories came on the scene, I was using Snapchat on a daily basis, and my Snapchat Stories were regularly getting 50-60 views per day. That number, as you can see, has fallen, whether because of my own lack of use of the application, or because many people, like me, now use Instagram Stories more than they use Snapchat.
So, analtyics-wise, the clear winner here is Instagram. My audience on Instagram is not terribly larger than on on both Facebook and probably Facebook Messenger (I would guess the amount of people I have on FB messenger is lower than the amount of people I’m connected to on FB), but the views I’m getting there on my stories are much higher.
This could be, in part, due to the fact that Instagram Stories has been around for nearly a year, whereas the Facebook options are only a month old, and many people are still getting used to them and figuring them out.
But in some informal polling I’ve done among my friends, many of them echo the same thing: since Instagram Stories came along, we have all but abandoned our Snapchat accounts.
So, for me, the clear winner between the four contenders is Instagram. What’s yours? Only the numbers can tell the truth. Do a similar experiment to what I did: post the same image across all 4 networks at the same time and see which one gets the most views.
You may also want to take into account engagement. I get the most comments back to me via Instagram Stories and FB Messenger.
Report back with your results! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.