May 17 - 3min readInstagram Unveils Face FiltersBy Borne
Yesterday Instagram delivered what could be the final blow in their quest to make biggest rival Snapchat totally obsolete. Over the past year, Instagram have been stealing parts of Snapchat’s interface bit by bit, and the face filters, rolled out yesterday, mark the integration of the only thing Snapchat had left. The filters include bunny ears, maths symbols and you guessed it, flower crowns. Various other updates have also been implemented, including a rewind feature, hashtag stickers and an eraser tool.
It’s a low blow from the social media platform that already boasts around 200 million daily active users. Now, like playground bullies picking on the weak, Instagram have gone after the one thing Snapchat had left – the face filters. And it’s safe to say that Instagram are showing very little remorse when it comes to their sneaky update. In an interview with Tech Crunch, VP of Product, Kevin Weil said;
“I think it would frankly be silly of us if we were to say ‘Oh, see that good idea over there that’s actually fulfilling a need people have to share more moments of their life? Because one person did that we can’t even go near that idea”
He went on to claim that “this is the way the tech industry works and frankly, it’s how all industries work…kudos to Snapchat for being the first to Stories, but it’s a format and it’s going to be adopted widely across a lot of different platforms”.
Whatever you say, Kevin.
The Final Blow?
We’re not gonna lie, it isn’t looking great for poor Snap. TechCrunch reported earlier in the year that the launch of Instagram’s Stories last year slowed Snapchat’s growth by 82%, among a host of other declines. I’ll be first to fess up and say that I have deleted Snapchat from my phone, only downloading it when I’m seriously bored.
I’m not the only one who has transitioned from a serial Snapchatter to an Instagram enthusiast. And it goes without saying that the more people who migrate from Snapchat, well, the more people will migrate from Snapchat. If there’s nothing to see then quite frankly, users will stop engaging with it. Discovery on Snapchat is limited, it isn’t easy to find or add new people to follow, and there is no ‘featured’ page like Instagram. Social Media Influencers crave the reach of Instagram, and the those who were late to the Snapchat game have begun to reject it in favour of platforms with larger followings. People want to reach a wider audience and as it stands, Instagram is the way to do this.
Can Snapchat Pull It Back?
Well all may not be lost for Snapchat. Snap Spectacles were released in November, a deliberate attempt to reposition the company as progressive, venturing further into the world of augmented reality. However, despite the specs being generally well received by teenagers on their spring break, they did little to negate the general migration to Instagram.
But there are still differences between the platforms which, theoretically, Snapchat could take advantage of. People generally use Snapchat a lot more with actual friends, people they know outside of social media. Instagram however, is dominated by social media influencers, with a huge element of discovery via their explore page. Working your way through Instagram’s stories is time consuming. At times, there simply is too much there and users miss out on the stories they actually want to see. If Snapchat can find a way to capitalise on the fact that their platform is seen as much more ‘personal’, they may manage to claw their way out of trouble. Or are we just clutching at straws here?
When Instagram unveiled their stories features back in August last year, we all felt just a little bit sorry for Snapchat. I even vowed to boycott Instagram’s Stories features altogether, albeit changing my mind approximately 4 days later. And the reaction to Instagram’s latest steal is the same today, sympathy, rage and solidarity with the original snapping platform. All the same, we’re convinced we’ll be seeing an increase in dog-eared selfies over the coming weeks.