Snap, parent owner of popular photo messaging app, Snapchat (SNAP), could be in trouble. The troubling IPO aside, there's an ominous cloud looming over Snap and it's one that the social media phenomenon thought it had successfully dispelled or at least defused until recently. The problem is Facebook Inc. (FB).
Having acquired Instagram for about $1 billion in 2012, an acquisition that made industry observers and pundits think Mark Zuckerberg and company lost their collective minds considering the photo-sharing app had no revenues, reported Tech Crunch at the time, Facebook would soon silence its critics. Currently, Instagram is valued at $50 billion, according to Forbes. (For more, see also: How Instagram Makes Money.)
Fending Off Goliath
Snapchat has been no slouch in taking on Facebook. In December 2012, it rolled out an Android app just as Facebook launched its rival Poke app. Unfortunately for Facebook and not so for Snapchat, Facebook's app failed and was put out of its misery. (For more, see also: Snap Inc.)
That was over four years ago. Now Facebook's Instagram has the Instagram Stories feature, which pretty much an imitation of Snapchat's My Story feature. Users can also put filters or stickers on photos and videos shared with friends (to be fair, Instagram was first out with filters).
As noted by the Wall Street Journal, this feature is clearly and obviously Facebook's most audacious challenge to Snapchat. By incorporating a similar Snapchat-like feature, Facebook is trying to attract the same audience, thereby threatening Snapchat's user loyalty.
Imitation Is Not Flattery
However, there are differences between Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Unlike Snapchat, this new Instagram feature can live stream video feeds to followers. But both the live video and the photos can vanish after being viewed—a classic Snapchat trait.
Will Instagram be able to dropkick rival Snapchat into oblivion by duplicating the latter's fabled features? It's a question whose answers remains in wait and see mode. As the Journal pointed out, adding stickers or filters these days is not exactly an innovation considering most of the popular social media apps, such as Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL) Google Allo, Apple Inc's (AAPL) iMessage and Tencent Holdings' WeChat, are doing so these days.
Instagram Stories could just make the jaded millennial user yawn.