Published on August 6th, 2016 | by Varuna Singh


Instagram launches Stories and it’s a Genius copy

So, Instagram just launched its Stories feature on its app. The Facebook owned app has a 24 hour story section where you can post pictures/videos with annotations, emojis and what not, on a separate interface within the same Instagram app.

Instagram’s traditionally been a place for your Best photographs

This volatile method of sharing pics, videos and drawings is awfully similar in concept to Snapchat. It’s also a pure copy of Snapchat. A Swipe by Swipe copy and Instagram isn’t embarrassed about it. Does the whole “Good artists copy; great artists steal” apply here?

snapchat instagram stories data gulf mena middle east data survey northwestern, qatar, uae, android, cat

Instagram’s traditionally been known where you post your BEST photographs. Stories adds another honest and real time dimension to your Instagram posts. I think there is still scope for someone who posts on Stories to do the same for traditional Instagram posts. I don’t think either one is going away anytime soon. But I’m failing to see a connection between them.

Stories is very much an ingredient of Instagram today – not a separate app

Instagram has released a few successful features before, both of them as separate apps – Hyperlapse, boomerang and layout. Stories in part of the app so it’s very much the ingredient of Instagram today.


Stories is kind of genius – It does exactly what Snapchat does on a platform where you may have a wider audience. That’s also kind of a bad thing. While Snapchat probably worked for the limited friend circle group, Instagram probably has people from different aspects of your personal and professional life and past. It’s going to be a psychological battle. I mean is that snap really for Instagram? Or is that snap more like a Snapchat snap?

What attracted most (including myself) into it was the sense of a limited set of audience who thought it would be okay to see what I do when I’m bored. Not exactly attention seekers, but the kind of people who would see a backflip and nod in appreciation. It grew on to be a platform for a lot of important vocal people, celebrities, brands and friends.

I mean is that snap for Instagram? Or is that snap more like a Snapchat snap?

vs Snapchat

What most-probably contributed to its success of Snapchat was its novelty, fun and playful nature. Somewhere where professional life didn’t necessarily mix. The volatile nature of snaps would mean you generally don’t care how you look or sound like. You just snap, chat, and thats it. That expanded to more features and Snapchat is a decent messaging platform now.

But Snapchat hasn’t completely figured out monetizing let alone be present here in the region. Do you know who does? Facebook obviously. Instagram, in the region, has an advertising and monetizing platform. One could imagine some form of targeted sponsored stories featuring on Instagram Stories. Instagram has come on board with a really appealing business model as Snapchat continues to figure this out.

snapchat instagram stories data gulf mena middle east data survey northwestern, qatar, uae, android

There’s another piece to my experience. The Instagram app is a lot more stable than Snapchat’s app on android now. Stories feels like a decent and working Snapchat Android app that doesn’t crash all the time.

Instagram has come on board with a really appealing business model as Snapchat continues to figure this out.

Frankly I don’t know how it’ll play out in the coming days to months. Legally speaking there is nothing wrong with making a Snapchat clone. People have had a go with Snapchat clones before and failed (Skype Qik, etc.) and Instagram looks like it’s off to a good start. Facebook attempted at this trend with Slingshot but it didn’t really sling well. Facebook did buy MSQRD a face filter app that’s a separate app and hasn’t been integrated in any of Facebook’s other services yet.

Regional Relevance

In the Middle-East Instagram and Facebook already have a monetization platform. Snapchat in the US has ads while you’re going through it’s stories. They are taking their own time expanding to other markets and it isn’t clear what their strategy or timeline is for that in this region. Instagram on the other hand runs ads in the region. It got launched this year.

Facebook has a much bigger presence globally and they can already start churning revenue from their platforms in the Middle-East. Having stories on Instagram will only shoot the demand up higher since Snapchat is taking its own sweet time to expand globally.

snapchat instagram stories data gulf mena middle east data survey northwestern, qatar, uae,

A survey by Northwestern University in Qatar (in partnership with Doha Film Institute) said the video chat application Snapchat is the most popular platform in the Gulf region. This multi nation (6 to be exact) survey of the region said that Instagram’s usage in the region increased by 24% between 2013 and 2016. While Facebook’s ( popularity declined by 6 percentages in the same duration.


For example, only one in five Qataris use Facebook, and significantly more use Instagram and Snapchat. Fifty-five percent of Qataris use Snapchat, the highest Snapchat penetration rate across all countries surveyed. Overall, in the region only 17% of nationals use Snapchat, however 83% of them use it daily.

What’s next?

This isn’t a Facebook-Fan article as it may seem, but the numbers and trends in the region point to a great opportunity for both these platforms. I really don’t know how Instagram Stories’ adoption will be in the region, but it seems Instagram is prepared to scale and monetize and I wish Snapchat was on this bandwagon as well.

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About the Author

I work with technology in Education. I also write stuff. I love design and people. @varunasingh

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