Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat: A Status Update
It seems like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat unveil new developments and product features every day as Snapchat goes toe-to-toe with Instagram Stories (and now Facebook Stories), and all of these networks try to:
A) Get current users to spend more time with them
B) Attract new users
C) Get currently engaged brands to invest more in them
D) Attract new brands
Here’s the latest information on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, and what it means for social marketers.
- Facebook Camera and Stories: Facebook just debuted the Facebook Camera and Stories feature (mobile app only, for now). We talked about it on our Facebook Live here. This feature is very similar to Instagram Stories, in that Facebook Stories disappear after 24 hours.
You can share Facebook Stories directly to your traditional Facebook newsfeed and via Messenger, as well. Facebook is positioning this as a move away from being “text-centric” and towards a more visual-centric format.
Should you take action, wait and see, or ignore? On this one, if you have the resources, take action. The blocker for content creators is that, if you’re already active on Instagram Stories and/or Snapchat, you have to repackage content for the Facebook Stories system. An additional blocker comes into play if you’re focused on creating unique content for each network you’re active on–this is just one more task in your already overabundant to-do list.
That said, I think this is a really valuable feature for brands who want to reach a wider, older audience with their live content. If you have the resources, go for it. If you’re strapped for resources, wait and see if this feature gets adopted by Facebook users and they’re interacting with Facebook Stories or ignoring them.
- Group Chatbots: It’s been in the works for awhile, but Facebook will launch its group chatbots at F8 to keep users informed about real-time news like sports, e-commerce deliveries, and more. How these chatbots will actually perform (and be adopted) is a bit murky at this point.
Should you take action, wait and see, or ignore? Sit tight until F8 (April 18-19). This is usually where we gain clarity on where Facebook’s future is headed.
- Fighting Fake News: Facebook just became part of a $14-million effort called the News Integrity Initiative, spearheaded by Craigslist founder and journalism advocate Craig Newmark to fund research and projects about improving news literacy and trust in journalism, and host related events.
Should you take action, wait and see, or ignore? There’s nothing you need to do here, but I mention it just because it’s a trend in our ecosystem and you should know it’s going on.
As the head of brand marketing at Instagram told AdAge:
We’ve been known as a place that highlights those special moments you want to remember, and then seven months ago we launched Instagram Stories and suddenly we saw a change in how 150 million people express themselves every day. We moved from highlights and the epic to silly, casual, funny moments and sides of people we’d never seen before on the platform.”
Here’s the latest:
- Ads debut in Instagram Stories: This happened in January. These ads run between user posts, similar to but longer than the ads on Snapchat Stories. Thirty brands were part of initial video ads tests, including Nike, Buick, Netflix, and AirBnB.
Should you take action, wait and see, or ignore? Instagram Stories ads are now available for all brands around the world, after pilot brands like AirBnB experienced early success.
I recommend taking action and investing in these ads, but only if you’ve got a regular cadence of Instagram Stories going. Set a goal, try it for six months, and see if you meet your goal–then determine whether to reinvest.
- Instagram’s first Global Stories campaign goes live: Instagram will release 20 to 25 films by the end of the campaign, which is meant to show off Instagram’s global community and encourage use of their lenses.
Should you take action, wait and see, or ignore? There is nothing for you to do here. I mention it to encourage you to think about Instagram Stories in an expansive way, to widen your reach and get a little more playful than normal.
Just take a look at Snapchat’s April Fool’s jab at Instagram (in which Snapchat “ripped off” Instagram the way Instagram has been “ripping off” Snapchat features), and you can see that the competition is fierce. Here are the latest developments for Snapchat.
- Snapchat goes after direct response-minded companies. Marketers from a wide range of the budget spectrum can now target Snapchat users who are most likely to download their app. These are users who have shown interest in either the brand or the functionality it’s offering.
Should you take action, wait and see, or ignore? If you have an app and ad money to spend, I recommend taking a chance here. This new system charges ad buyers on a cost-per-thousand-impressions scale that’s based on auction-style, competitive bidding. “[It’s a] cost-efficient way to drive app installs right from Snapchat,” explained Peter Sellis, Snap’s director of monetization.
- Snapchat makes its Stories searchable: This is BIG news. Users can now search Snapchat Stories for topics they’re interested in, including local basketball games, Fashion Week shows, or the scene at their favorite bar. This is the feature that so many users and marketers have been asking for, and Snapchat’s main disadvantage up until this point: discoverability. It’s no accident that this feature rolled out at the same time as Facebook Stories.
Should you take action, wait and see, or ignore? This feature hasn’t rolled out in all cities yet, but keep your eyes peeled and wait to see what user adoption looks like. If it looks good, then work on building content around major cultural events and milestones.
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I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.