This week, Instagram launched face filters within their app, a feature that allows users “to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining,” according to the company blog.
Most importantly, this is yet another step in which Instagram has lifted a popular feature in Snapchat and brought it to their own app.
This process began with Instagram launching their “Stories” feature back in August, a direct take on the concept of capturing and sharing media that disappears after a certain amount of time. You could publish content to a general feed that disappears in 24 hours, or send content directly to your network that vanishes nearly in an instant. From there, Instagram added features that allow users to shoot video in reverse, add stickers to their selfies, and augment their photos through drawing and erasure tools. All of which originated in Snapchat first.
It’s clear that Instagram can and will continue to double down on the “me too” strategy, and the implications of it may shape your social media strategy.
As a marketer, Instagram’s strategy may reduce your need to invest time in Snapchat if your audience skews towards the older side of the young professional spectrum.
When you look at the demographics of these social media profiles, the picture becomes even clearer. Both Snapchat and Instagram, you see a similar picture of a heavily millennial base, with some Gen X users. However, when you look at the demographics of Facebook, who owns Instagram, you’ll see an older audience that heavily favors baby boomers and Gen Xers.
If Instagram sees an influx of older users from Facebook, they’ll need to offer that functionality to keep users exclusively on their platform.
It’s also worth pointing out that copycatting ideas isn’t a startling revelation in the tech industry. Per an article from TechCrunch, Instagram SVP of Product Kevin Weil said, “Good ideas start in one place and they spread throughout the entire industry. Kudos to Snapchat for being the first to Stories, but it’s a format and it’s going to be adopted widely across multiple platforms.”
If this play works, Snapchat’s growth may stall out, while Instagram continues to grow its user base, especially within the Gen X demographic. Let these audience shifts dictate how and where you reach that audience.