Instagram stories is just snapchat. Instagram's founder Kevin Systrom even said so. And although Facebook has had several unsuccessful attempts at conquering the ephemeral messaging space in the past (ie. Poke, Slingshot), This time around it could be different as they attempt to leverage the market proven Instagram. They're well on their way to blowing Snapchat out of the water; but with the addition of audio filters and spatial audio support, Facebook could put the final nail in Snapchat's coffin.
How Instagram Stories has already taken the lead, and how Spatial audio support can seal the deal.
1. For many people, this will be their first encounter with story like media sharing.
Facebook's first big win is tapping into a market-proven app instead of introducing a new app for users to download (poke, Slingshot and the never launched Messenger Messages). Tons of celebrities and brands have already amassed a following on Instagram and the thought of putting work into a separate platform seems tedious. But here's the thing: many of those celebrities and brands use Instagram to share content, where Snapchat tends to be more social and centered around posts outside of work hours.
There's no better time than now to introduce spatial audio support to these users that are new to ephemeral messaging. Their content will thrive and stand out, thanks to instagram, not snapchat.
2. Instagram Just Locked In the 15-25 year olds.
Instagram and Snapchat may be both for the youth. But Snapchat is younger. And that matters.
I'm 27 years old and the biggest reason I hear from my peers for not being on snapchat is this: "I was on Instagram first and feel "too old" to start anew on snapchat. It would take forever to amass a new following." The second, "why would I want two apps that basically do the same thing. I already have videos on Instagram." Users under 25 don't see instagram and snapchat as the same app. They use them in very different ways.
Here's the important difference between 30 year old Instagram users 20 year old snapchat users. Instagram users capture moments they want to remember, snapchat users capture moments they do not. So how does Facebook get archive-first market interested in ephemeral messaging? Offer them quality that Snapchat cannot. If Instagram invented the filter, take it one step further with the sound filter. This is where spatial audio can be an advantage for Instagram stories. Sound filters in the Instagram style might make existing users more willing to jump in.
3. Instagram Stories Successfully Emulated Snapchat's backbone.
Mainly because they completely copied the UI. Stick with what works and in this case Facebook does just that. If the backbone is there, this is where Facebook can put their own "spin" on the messaging format. Systrom sees Instagram stories and Snapchat as being different, even though they do the same thing:
“When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.
Facebook invented feed, LinkedIn took on feed, Twitter took on feed, Instagram took on feed, and they all feel very different now and they serve very different purposes. But no one looks down at someone for adopting something that is so obviously great for presenting a certain type of information."
I agree with Systrom, you can't patent "the feed" or "filters" because it's a format, but you can put your own spin on it. And that's exactly what Instagram Stories will do. Twitter adopted the Facebook feed and succeeded by adopting a newsfeed style that could only come from a platform that limits content to 140 characters. However Facebook supported stereo audio on video uploads, twitter did not (though it does now). Visuals look the same on both platforms, with the same filters and ability to write on images. But changing the way users both create and consume AUDIO on Instagram Stories could put Facebook way ahead in the race. This is just one audio "spin" that Instagram stories could implement.
4. Instagram Stories is Facebook and Facebook Has Access To The Best Tools. Including VR.
Anyone who's been reading TechCrunch over the past 6 months can see how invested Zuckerberg is in VR. Just last month Facebook bought VR audio company Two Big Ears and is making their tech free to developers. Is it so crazy to think some of this VR tech will be integrated into Instagram Stories in a way we've never seen before? Last week Zuckerberg said "When it comes to AR or VR, mobile phones will be the main device." Facebook already has a leg up on Snapchat with Oculus, Two Big Ears and Instagram. All of these tools can be implemented into Instagram Stories seamlessly. And for the user, they don't even have to download a new app. That's a huge advantage.
Instagram Stories, Integrate VR Audio!
Immersive audio is very real and will soon be present in most of our daily devices. The one thing that holds Instagram stories and snapchat back is mono audio from the smartphone built in mic. Instagram invented the mobile filter, how about re inventing the audio filter? How about giving users the same creative authority over their sounds as they have had on their images? Zuckerberg believes AR and VR will come from the phone, not a new piece of Hardware. Fine, then start at the phone and move outward. Knowing that right now Snapchat and Instagram are identical, would you ditch snapchat if Instagram offered the added feature of capturing and playing back immersive audio? Audio is a frontier that can be heavily disrupted not just by audio companies, but by the companies who are providing us the tools to make our own story. Instagram Stories, integrate immersive audio and put the final nail in Snapchat's coffin.
Here's our instagram btw, WE WISH IT WAS IN STEREO :-)
From One Ear To Another,