From its inception in 2011, Snapchat was quick to become the social space of young teens around the world. With lo-fi recordings that disappeared after sending, it was the perfect channel to share in-the-moment experiences. And it didn’t stop there, with major celebs (read: the Kardashian clan) and big brands jumping on the hype, showing an unedited, fun side to their online personas. However, in August of this year, photo sharing old timer, Instagram, disrupted the Story telling landscape with a new feature, describing it as photos and videos that ‘disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed’; sounds familiar, no? Since then there has been a noticeable shift of content from one platform to another, and it was never more noticeable than at the social media haven that is fashion week.
By launching Stories on Instagram in August, the platform gave editors, bloggers and trade buyers the chance to familiarise themselves with the new feature before the start of New York Fashion Week in September. This provided NYFW attendees with the option to continue their perfectly curated Insta feeds, as well as share more candid moments at the shows, after parties and all the chaos in between without having to switch apps. As an established platform, using Instagram Stories meant that suddenly the fash pack were able to reach a lot more users—with more than twice the monthly active users on Instagram vs the younger Snapchat—and the Stories feature providing up to x4 more engagement than a classic Insta update.
In Milan, Snapchat mainstay, Gucci, did a 180 and for the first time only used Instagram Stories for their behind the scenes look at the SS17 show. Utilised in the same way they’d previously taken on Snapchat, the brand showcased before, during, and after the show with a Stories takeover from illustrator Jayde Fish. With such a prominent brand disregarding a once highly utilised channel, it was clear that Instagram was beginning to win in the race for the Stories crown.
SS17 Fashion Weeks and Social Stories
However, despite Gucci’s Insta-only vision, digital pioneer Burberry continued to employ Snap’s features posting a treasure hunt-like Story leading up to the SS17 show. With a detailed build up uncovering locations, key pieces from the collection and the models who would be debuting the looks on the runway, Burberry stood strong in Snapchat’s corner and took advantage of the extra features the platform has to offer.
And it can’t be ignored that in this respect, Snapchat does still have the edge: with facial recognition filters, moving text and stickers, as well as location geofilters, the quality and varying aspects of Stories on Snapchat remains one of its biggest assets. Plus Snap is also working to provide much more for the user. With worldwide Fashion Week stories garnering millions of views, it didn’t matter whether you were following the most in demand influencers, Snapchat provided an overview of each day in the four fashion capitals with views from the FROW and inside the most exclusive parties from right within your feed.
Instagram VS Snapchat: What’s The Right Marketing Strategy?Whilst some brands, like Gucci, have decided to take a very definite leap into this new social space, many are still trying to decide how to incorporate Stories into their marketing strategy. Duplicating content to appear on both platforms—so that users who decide to stay loyal to Snap or jump ship to Insta won’t miss out—is a safe but ultimately dull game plan. Instagram’s take may become “Snapchat for adults”—it already offers a more intuitive interface—and diversify its offering from that of millennial and Gen Z-focussed Snapchat. Come the AW17 presentations the race may not be as close, but with see now, buy now becoming an ever more present part of fashion week, whichever emerges as the stronger channel, it’s the user and their access to in-the-moment content that’s the real winner.