Think back to around five years ago. Do you remember how and when Snapchat Stories started infiltrating our lives? Because I don’t, although I do remember some more “affluent” friends of mine discussing it at some point. Not that I wasn’t tech savvy enough to be able to use the application, but smartphones – or their equivalents five years ago – were deemed evil by my parents. Until, of course, they got ones of their own.
Anyway, I don’t really remember Snapchat being the ‘rage’ in my social circle until the ever infamous floral tiara and dog filters started appearing in every other Facebook post. Then face-swap happened and that was when the app really started to grow on people. I mean, it’s always relieving to see that your insecurities about how you look become vastly understated when you see your grotesque features on someone else’s head.
It was around that time when I downloaded the app. But I find it unfair to myself that just when I gave into the peer and social pressure of being present on every major social media platform, Instagram came up with its story feature which is almost – if not completely – the same as Snapchat. What’s funny is, the jaded Snapchatters who were revered over the points they had collected on the former app flocked eagerly over to Instagram as if the new story feature was an invention never previously known to man (shocker!). Reminds me of when I heard someone say that individuality is dead. Anyhow, the point is that Instagram stories were introduced and were an immediate success, mainly due to the Boomerang feature in the stories.
And then, the world turned on itself yet again when our beloved WhatsApp status feature (my passive aggressive friends, I’m talking to you here) was replaced by – guess what’s new – stories! Now see, Facebook Inc., we won’t pretend to notice that your bitterness over being unable to take over Snapchat has lead to such ‘unique’ updates in the apps you own. I mean, there’s only so much creativity a person can manage to portray when telling people about their day on one app, let alone repeat those 5 minute stories on every single application they own. And just when we had reluctantly accepted the WhatsApp stories, they brought the feature on Messenger and Facebook as well. What happened to the good old days when Facebook’s status was the only passive aggressive way of telling people how emo you are?
But the point in this whole tirade is, in the digital world where competition has lead one multimedia storytelling feature expand to almost every major social media platform, how does this bode for businesses and brands? Snapchat was launched 5 years ago, yet I haven’t seen a lot of Pakistani ads being sponsored on that app. However, Instagram story ads are gradually starting to grow. Facebook being one of the most influential digital marketing platforms has already started promoting the story features in its acquired apps, but I don’t see myself learning the Snapchat advertising front. Am I the one who is outdated if I sponsor my ad on Instagram and not Snapchat, or is it the latter app who has got to adapt to one of the biggest chunk of their audience in Pakistan?
The attempt by Facebook has nonetheless been interesting. Now those who don’t understand Snapchat don’t have to even try anymore. And even though the journey is educational for us laymen, it is a question of whether Snap Inc. would give in to Facebook Inc.’s obvious attempts to take over their market share, or will they bring something new to counter their strategy.