Reuben Lewis, head of conent at Snapchat influencer marketing platform Fanbytes, takes a look at how Snapchat differentiates itself from Instagram and how brands can take advantage of this.
Instagram has tried to add a Snapchat-esque element of ephemeral, playful visual communication to the app, by copying Stories and selfie filters.
In order to resist Instagram’s competition, Snapchat must sharpen its tools to reaffirm itself as the number one pioneering camera app.
Snapchat has reaffirmed its identity as a camera app with three new features: a magic eraser, emoji drawing, and limitless snaps. In doing so, it further differentiates itself from Instagram and asserts itself as the leader in visual communication.
Instagram is very much a photo blog – users open the app to a feed of pristinely-edited, permanent photos. This, by implication, means content is often a product of the user’s social self; how they want to be seen.
Snapchat, by contrast, opens to a camera, ready to take photos or videos. Browsing is the main form of engagement on Instagram, direct photo communication is Snapchat‘s. It acts as an in-the-moment form of visual communication. Users embrace being ‘weird’ and ‘quirky’.
The updated and more advanced array of tools sharpen this and resemble a ‘Photoshop: Generation Z edition’. It’s not the standard tools like ‘brightness’ or ‘contrast’ because, unlike Instagram, Snapchat‘s not about achieving picture perfection.
Indeed, the magic eraser enables users to erase real life objects in a photo, and Snapchat automatically fills in or blurs the empty spot.
The emoji drawing tool provides an emoji drawing brush, enabling users to supplement their Snaps with emoji artwork.
Both new features encourage greater creativity and experimentation, adding to the already quirky, spontaneous nature of Snapchat.
These tools help Gen Z to tell a story quickly and effectively in the moment. The fact that they’re still inherently basic and easily accessible lends itself to the fun and carefree nature of the app. They also give brands more creative room to showcase their Snaps in a way Gen Z can get on board with.
Moreover, the limitless Snaps feature is essentially a copy of Instagram’s Boomerang tool. Users can put their videos on an endless loop, while photos can be made to appear for an unlimited time, until the recipient decides to close them.
As a result of the new features, Snapchat has made itself more versatile for brands, while retaining the core feature of its identity – disappearing photos/videos.
This feature will benefit brands in various ways. First, it strengthens brand-consumer interaction. If a brand posts a story and selects no limit for certain photos or videos, their followers can then choose to engage for longer. This encourages a more active engagement on behalf of the user.
It also gives the brand subtle marketing power – they can manufacture how much attention their followers pay to certain Snaps, by selectively choosing Snaps to have no limit.
For instance, for a Snapchat story about a new product launch, a brand can select both no limit for a Snap about pricing/special offers, as well as for a video showing the new product itself. In doing so, they can manufacture engagement of particular messages they want to emphasise.