Instagram Stories could halt Snapchat’s growing success

Instagram Stories could halt Snapchat’s growing success

This article first appeared on AdNews.

Instagram’s new Stories feature, which is largely a copycat of Snapchat, has already seen multiple brands get on board in the 48 hours since its launch.

It’s hardly a surprise given Instagram still dominates Snapchat in monthly active users, which begs the question – will Instagram’s new feature halt the social media darling’s breakneck rise to the top?

Instagram recently announced it hit 300 million daily active users. By comparison, Snapchat revealed in February that it has more than 100 million daily users, who spend on average 25 to 30 minutes on the app each day.

While it is the social darling of the moment, Snapchat only just got on the ground here in Australia, naming former News Corp sales director Kathryn Carter as its general manager in April.

It’s in high demand with clients and agencies tripping over themselves to get onto the platform. According to sources, there is a four week wait to even get a meeting in the diary at Snapchat. It is also still experimenting with various ad units, which puts Instagram in a better position to appeal to brands having launched ads in Australia a year ago.

So while Snapchat is in demand, Instagram’s more established relationships with commercial partners could help it make gains, Snapchat’s remains somewhat unproven.

Nike, Sony, Airbnb, L’Oreal, Maybelline and Covergirl are just a few of the businesses that have jumped on Instagram Stories. Previously these brands have also used the Snapchat Stories feature, but the swift move to use Instagram Stories could be because the photo-sharing platform has larger audience, and is easily accessible and already familiar to marketers.

For example, Nike told Adage it generated 800,000 views in 24 hours for an Instagram Stories. It posted on the first day the feature was available. On Snapchat, Nike’s best video got 66,000 views, according to Nike’s social media agency Laundry Service.

Nike used its Michael Jordan brand Jumpman23 Instagram account to unveil a new Michigan football jersey. It has also posted a story on its Nikesportswear Instagram, showcasing the latest sneakers available.

L’Oréal used Instagram Stories to take its fans on a tour of its new offices and teased some new products set to hit the shelves in September. Covergirl spruiked its collaboration with Katy Perry and directed its fans to a microsite to purchase the “Katy Kat” range of lipsticks.

Brands seem to be applying what they have learnt from Snapchat to Instagram. Nike has previously used Snapchat too, but the platform is not currently as brand-friendly as Instagram. The more familiarity with Instagram could lead to the shift to use the Story feature within its platform rather than learning how to work the new interface of Snapchat.

It’s harder to follow brands on Snapchat as users need to know their exact user names to find them. Instagram makes searching easier and its lets brands buy ads that directly link to their account. It makes building an audience easier.

Instagram’s new feature also allows users to stay in its ecosystem, rather than jumping between it and Snapchat. Creating a sustainable ecosystem, that keeps users within its platform, is something Facebook has been doing for years. It bought Instagram in 2013 and has been following the same model.

Media publishers are also testing out Instagram Stories. Buzzfeed, Kiis1065 and Triple J have all dipped a toe in.

Instagram’s new feature has also captured the attention of alcohol brands, which have previously been held back from Snapchat due to age targeting issues. Instagram allows brands to restrict viewing to people older than 18, while on Snapchat a brand must pay for ads to target to people of a certain age.

People have been quick to announce Instagram Stories as a Snapchat killer. That’s unlikely for now but it does put more pressure on Snapchat’s pleding commercial model. It’s going to have to move a lot faster to continue to keep commercial dollars from pooling into Instagram.

Will journalism become a sea of weightless bylines?

Will journalism become a sea of weightless bylines?

This article was first published on AdNews.

The Fairfax transition from daily print to mostly digital will inevitably have some casualties, but I can’t help but wonder whether the publisher will end up with an irreversible experience gap as a slew of senior journalists exit the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

Some senior journalists are being told their “skill set is not aligned” to the publisher’s new strategy.

But what strategy is that and what skills are more important in journalism than experience?

These are questions that Fairfax Media boss Greg Hywood needs to explain, not just to his own employees, but the wider market, which will be looking at how the cuts affect output and the effect this has on the strength of the Australian media.

Also, the knock on effect and commercial model it can support. A business can only be as strong as its product and a publisher’s core product is its content.

While it’s important to note that are many top, experienced journalists are still at the business, including the likes of Kate McClymont, Nick McKenzie and Adele Ferguson, the exit of several seasoned reporters can only affect the quality of the newspapers’ output.

As Fairfax transitions into the digital age, sources close to the moves say less experienced journalists are being prioritised over senior positions, as their skills better align with those required of the transitioning business.

And when Fairfax shuts down its Monday to Friday editions, it is predicted 40% of the newsroom is expected to be trimmed – leading to further redundancies and loss of experience.

As a young reporter, this saddens me as I’ve grown up reading the Sydney Morning Herald.

I also can’t help but question what will happen to the next generation of reporters without senior mentors to show them ropes and inspire them to produce better work.

If editors don’t support journalists to write about the pointy issues, instead focusing on click-friendly content, I worry we could end up a sea of weightless bylines.

I’m told the younger generation of Fairfax employees are excited by the future, and so they should be. It’s their time to shine and they’ve worked hard to earn the opportunity.

I hope and am optimistic that quality remains the key focus, rather than clickrates – one of the most misleading measurements of journalistic success.

Fairfax has previously been instrumental in exposing corruption in the oil industry, Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning scandal and organised crime in the construction industry.

That’s the journalism Australia needs more of, rather than articles about Shane Warne’s latest tiff with a TV presenter or Lara Bingle’s pregnancy rumours.