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Why Instagram Stories might just win the older audience, and developing markets too

Instagram Stories will need to move users out of Snapchat to use the same feature on Instagram.

Written by Nandagopal Rajan |
Updated: August 9, 2016 1:47:18 pm
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Snapchat is where the young users are. So being someone in the digital media I had to get the better of it and understand how I can say stories using Snapchat and become good at it. Six months of toying with the app, I am nowhere. I do read what top publishers post on the platform, but beyond that I have no clue how the rest of the app works. I’m surely old.

But don’t old people deserves their bit of instant videos that evaporate after a few hours? I’d say yes, given that there are quite a few of us — that’s people aged over 25 — around the world. That for me is the biggest opportunity for Instagram stories. Yes, it is more than inspired by Snapchat and there is not even any pretense to hide that fact. But why bother? After all this is the Internet, where the smartest people are those who copy ideas and sell them better.

Instagram stories work right off the box for digital immigrants like me — and before you think I’m some grumpy septuagenarian, let me tell you I’m in my mid-30s. And unlike Snapchat I don’t need to look for a digital native to teach me how the swipes and pull work. The design is simple and intuitive as design should be. And that is why I think this could be a steal for Instagram, all pun intended.

Snapchat despite its popularity in countries like the US, especially among the young, is not really known for its base in many other parts the world, for instance in India. Facebook meanwhile is all the rage in the subcontinent, raking in new users, and that success has rubbed off on Instagram too. Maybe, just maybe, more people might use stories on Instagram than on Snapchat in some of these markets given that it’s much more easier to understand and actually use. Snapchat has a distinct disadvantage in such markets as it needs to grow from scratch and also create a user base that understands how to use the platform.

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Also see: Instagram rolls out Stories, an exact copy of Snapchat Stories

On the flip side, Instagram Stories will need to move users out of Snapchat to use the same feature on Instagram. There is no use case for such a product in these markets because Snapchat does that bit wonderfully well. The issue is that Instagram does not really have the same character as Snapchat. Will people want to tell stories to their Instagram audience needs to be seen.

Also read: Facebook to copy Snapchat with new MSQRD filters for camera

And the numbers do stack up heavily against Facebook. To give you some perspective Snapchat is expected to make more ad dollars in the US than Facebook this year, and it’s already clocking over 10 billion video views a month much more than Facebook is 8 billion. It is also close to raking in more photos than all of Facebook’s properties.

So, Menlo Park better make this gamble work.

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