Instagram's Advantage →

Ben Thompson:

So good for Instagram: Snapchat’s Stories is a great product that has already gone through years of iterations; why, but for pride, would you build something different?

Still, cloning isn’t enough. The fact features don’t offer useful differentiation does not remove the need for differentiation: the key is figuring out what else can be leveraged. Google, for example, may have largely copied the iPhone’s UI, but the key to Android’s success was the search company’s ability to leverage their advertising-based business model to offer it for free. On the hardware side Samsung leveraged their manufacturing might and long-established distribution channels to dominate the otherwise undifferentiated Android market, at least for a time. And, in perhaps the most famous example of this strategy, Microsoft embraced web standards with Internet Explorer, extended their browser’s capabilities with features like ActiveX, eventually extinguishing the threat when Netscape couldn’t keep up.

This is why it is so fascinating that Facebook is leveraging Instagram in this way. For all of Snapchat’s explosive growth, Instagram is still more than double the size, with far more penetration across multiple demographics and international users. Rather than launch a “Stories” app without the network that is the most fundamental feature of any app built on sharing, Facebook is leveraging one of their most valuable assets: Instagram’s 500 million users. [Emphasis mine]

Nailed it.

So now the question is: what are content creators and social media influencers going to do? How many will make the effort to cross-post on both networks? If they don't, are they going to stick with Snapchat because it has better filters and lenses? Or are they going to migrate to Instagram which has more than double the viewers?

Instagram can copy Snapchat's filters and lens easily with enough time…but Snapchat acquiring new users from Instagram just got a lot harder.

Ultimately, I believe, viewers are going to follow wherever their favorite celebs go. We'll have to wait and see.