In case Snapchat wasn't rolling out enough new features, redesigns and more, their quest to keep up with the Joneses (if the Joneses were Instagram) continues this week. Just days ahead of the ball drop, the app announced their latest engagement driving feature: a user-specific year in review, called 2017 Story.
So how does it work? Users who saved stories to their memory section throughout the year can see them seamlessly woven together into a quick look back on all the times you put the dog filter on yourself and drank a craft beer.
This feature -- which directly competes with Facebook's longer-standing year in review video and the unofficial Instagram Best Nine popularity contest -- is most certainly another aspect of Snap's new focus on social over media. If you have enough images to snag a year in review story (no word on exactly how many that is, though...) you can easily share or save to your device.
What's better? According to Cheddar, Snapchat is allegedly working on yet ANOTHER new feature called Stories Everywhere. Their new spin on stories will allow people and brands to create long lasting videos and images, which can then be embedded elsewhere.
Snap has struggled to maintain a consistent cash flow and user base, particularly since Instagram Stories hit the scene. Despite its better graphics and strong, entertaining use of augmented reality (helloooo, dancing hot dog), Snapchat's lack of integration basically anywhere else has relegated it to only a brand builder. Unfortunately, in a world driven by more clicks, more views and more shares, brands -- and consumers -- want more. Stories Everywhere could be the perfect compromise of a lighthearted app that still has a future in creative, organic content for people and companies alike.
Stories Everywhere also falls perfectly in line with Snapchat's new muscle behind original content. In fact, they have programming in the works through a partnership with NBCUniversal and the Duplass brothers.
While Snap declined to comment on Cheddar's story, I think it's safe to assume that we'll see a more evolved Snapchat in 2018. But while they're making all these changes, what's Instagram up to?
For starters, if Snapchat is gravitating towards the regular folk of the world, Instagram is ramping up its influencer-based platform. While their algorithm change a few years ago drove labeled businesses to the bottom of followers' feeds, the current set-up still favors users with copious followers and high-res images. They place a strong emphasis on frequent and regular content and even allow certain influencers to tag paid sponsorships in the location section of a post.
In addition, Insta's algorithm will now suggest images for you to like within your actual feed, taking some of the heat off the willy-nilly, often-off-base Explore section. Couple this with the ability to follow hashtags, and it seems that IG is gunning for big brands after all.
The one downside? The ever-changing process of discovering content on Instagram is constantly under fire by users, and we've yet to see if this new update will actually be user-friendly. Because Instagram isn't doing one large launch and is instead randomly and slowly incorporating the new feature into users' accounts, it may be hard to track this, too.
While the two approaches are certainly different -- and Instagram's, at least for the time being, is certainly working better -- it's hard to say which one will reign supreme at the end of the day. We'll just have to stay tuned to find out in 2018.