social media

The social media direct battle: Snapchat and Instagram

Written by Alex Veeneman
Last September, we were introduced to a new kind of social media platform. Snapchat was a new photo and video sharing platform, where media can be sent through mobile devices, ranging in time from 1 to 10 seconds, then being destroyed and leaving the server.
Three months later, one of the more well-known photo apps, Instagram, now known for its competition with Vine, is taking on Snapchat with the launch in New York this week of Instagram Direct. 
Although it had been widely acknowledged that competition with Snapchat was emerging, Kevin Systrom, one of Instagram’s co-founders, said that was not the case. “It’s a new-use case,” Systrom said according to a report from the Daily Telegraph. “We wanted to attack an opportunity that we felt hadn’t been fulfilled.”
In a separate report from the American technology news web site Mashable, Systrom said communication had been at the core of this idea. “Communication is really core,” Systrom said. “It’s not about photography necessarily. We aren’t built into cameras. We are built into phones, and phones are communication devices.”
While this had been the subject of rumours as talks of competition had been emerging, it was not the first time the Facebook-owned Instagram was looking to be competitive with Snapchat. The Mashable report added that some features of Snapchat had been integrated into Instagram, while earlier in the year a deal to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion (£1.84 million) was turned down.
The photo and video battle
Additionally, days before Instagram introduced its direct service, Twitter unveiled the option to send and receive images via direct message, the Mashable report added.
What now emerges is the photo and video battle between Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. However, according to Clark Fredericksen, Vice President of the New York based digital marketing firm emarketer, photo sharing has become incredibly popular with social media users, and says he’s sceptical of drawing conclusions of competition. “What we have seen some Twitter, Snapchat and the growth of other messaging apps is that photo sharing is clearly popular, particularly among younger demographics and millennial,” Fredericksen said according to Mashable. “It makes sense that Instagram would want to incorporate that into their services, as well.”
The next move?
With the introduction of Instagram Direct, it is part of Instagram’s evolving into its reach as a visual social platform in attempts to keep up with competition and appeal to as many people as possible. In the direct competition for users, we may also see the direct competition for the best ways to send photos through social media, something that will likely be reflected in tastes of users going into the New Year. For now, what Instagram has done has allowed itself to be at the centre of user interaction, and for Facebook to continue to be at the centre of social media.
The next move goes to Twitter or Snapchat, and if additions or further developments will be coming. Until then, Instagram’s appeal will continue to widen, perhaps taking away from Snapchat’s core, diehard users.
What do you think of Instagram Direct? Can Instagram remain competitive? Have your say in the comments section below.
Photo: Ed Yourdon / Flickr