Instagram Stories Beats Snapchat at Its Own Game

April 14, 2017 - 2 minutes read

So many apps have ripped off Snapchat’s popular Stories feature that it’s become something of a joke among mobile app developers. Even Snapchat itself is in on it, as the company proved with its April Fool’s Day-exclusive Instagram filter. But the laughter may be catching in Snap’s throat. The company’s most direct competitor Instagram Stories now has more daily users than Snapchat. When Snapchat went public last month, it claimed 161 million active users. Launched just this past August, Instagram Stories has already amassed a whopping 200 million (from its total user base of 600 million).

To add insult to injury, Instagram Stories has just released a feature called Pinning that is a lift of Snapchat’s popular AR 3D stickers. The latest update also includes takes on Snapchat’s relatively new Scissors feature and a fresh line-up of geostickers. And just this Tuesday, Instagram unveiled Direct, a private messaging feature that incorporates the ephemeral images that put Snapchat on the map. At this point, there are few of Snapchat’s innovations that haven’t been looted by Instagram. Mobile app developers have to admit that the strategy seems to be working: Instagram Stories is up 50 million users since January. And as it flourishes, Snapchat seems to diminish; the company’s growth has plummeted 82% since Instagram Stories hit the scene.

Next month Snapchat will unveil its earnings for the first time since going public; until then, it’s hard to say how bleak the news is for the startup. Rather than trying to beat Snapchat’s innovations with new ideas, Facebook continues to shamelessly swipe the game-changing social media app’s defining features — which is a game-changing move all its own. How does a startup stay viable when its competitors can just clone what makes it special? It’s a question that’s going to keep a lot of Chicago app developers awake at night.

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