Did Instagram just admit to copying Snapchat?

Instagram has introduced a new update called, Instagram Stories which allows users to create content which disappears after 24 hours.

In a blog post, Instagram said that the new feature will allay fears about over posting and instead allow users to share as much as they want through the day with as much creativity as they want. Since the launch, the response has been mixed so far.

Several have come out to say the new feature blatantly copies the Snapchat concept and interface.

Others have already started utilising the new feature.

According to a spokesperson from Instagram, several brands such as Starbucks, Vogue, Visit Singapore, Harpers Baazar, Nike, Mountain Dew and Coach have already started using the feature.

Nonetheless, all the accusations have since led to Kevin Systrom (pictured), CEO of Instagram taking on an unconventional move and admitting to TechCrunch, that the new feature was indeed inspired by Snapchat.

He said: "[Snapchat] deserves all the credit." He added that when one is an innovator, it is about putting "your own spin" on things.

PR folks such as Jacob Puthenparambil, partner at Redhill Communications, said the unusual move by Systrom hits a homerun from a public relations perspective as honesty is a crucial policy to have when it comes to maintaining a good reputation. He said:

Being honest upfront will encourage other people in the tech industry to do the same and hence allow the whole industry to ‘level up’. There is no shame in admitting that you are inspired by someone else’s idea and wanting to do more to improve on a great idea.

Mindshare’s managing partner, Ivan Wong added that the move is a necessary one.

“In an era where authenticity and accountability is highly prized and valued, this is something we would expect no less from the head of a company which seeks to deliver authentic connections and experiences,” Wong said.

Keeping it real and authentic

According to folks Marketing spoke to, Instagram Stories' update shows a movement as to how users want to dictate their own generated content – through the use of authentic storytelling.

Mindshare’s Wong said the move was not surprising given how social apps today are adapting and replicating each others' features. The update, he added also affirms that users around the world are increasingly seeking what’s real versus what is considered perfect.

“The desire to make that authentic,  'what you see is what you get' connection is stronger than ever,” Wong said. As such, brands need to move from the innate behaviour to 'curate', 'sanitise' and 'control' what goes out, to one which is more collaborative and open-sourced.

“The key here is 'real moments' as consumers have become savvy enough to discern what's real or not,” Wong added.

What is very interesting, said Wong, is that platform differentiators are becoming less distinct. This is likely a reflection of the reality to continuously stay ahead in the game, create 'new news' and be the social platform of choice and be competitive in an increasingly 'crowded' social space.

Ash Palmer, senior manager at Golin added this may lead to more authentic moments from influencers while still giving them the perfectly curated ones on their Instagram feed. As such there will be a merger of authenticity and perfection.

“For brands, this means that there is a now a more genuine way for influencers to interact with consumers. While we will get to see a more authentic side of influencers, this also means that self-serving influencers could now adopt a more ‘spray and pray’ approach to sharing their moments - it will be interesting to see how this impacts who we choose to follow,” Palmer added.

Several also argued that the move made sense of Instagram as it is a lot more user friendly and accessible compared to Snapchat.

“Snapchat has long been the domain of a younger demographic who intuitively understands how to use it. The Instagram Stories interface is simple and that should allow it to get more traction with an older audience,” Abel Sim, head of planning and strategy, Havas Worldwide added.