For years, influencers and platforms have engaged in a delicate dance of who-needs-whom. Creators populate their channels with content. Platforms drive discovery for those with hopes of becoming a social media star. It is a true chicken-egg scenario. That is, until Snapchat arrived, where creators have continuously voiced frustration about Snapchat’s lack of interest in fostering their careers.
And now Snapchat, the once-preferred choice among influencers, is losing its grip on the creators who once called it home.
Dozens of top influencers including Amanda Cerny, Lele Pons, Logan Paul, King Bach, Shay Mitchell and Matt Cutshall, who cumulatively reach hundreds of millions of fans, are taking their efforts off Snapchat to Instagram, says influencer marketing firm Mediakix.
“I’d choose Instagram Stories,” said Lele Pons when asked which platform she prefers to upload content. “It’s a favorite and a great tool to utilize if you’re focused on building your following while keeping your followers engaged.”
And Pons is not alone.
For 6 months, Mediakix tracked the posting behavior of influencers representing nearly 100 million followers cumulatively across Snapchat and Instagram, finding that not only were those influencers posting 33% less on Snapchat, but twice as much on Instagram.
“For me, Snapchat has completely fallen off,” one creator Matt Cutshall states. “[It] led in engagement for me until [the platform] changed [the] ability to watch someone’s Snapchat story then roll into the next story.”
But that’s not the only frustration for content creators. “[Snapchat’s] platform has not evolved to make it more user-friendly. Instagram Stories [has] become so simple to use [and it] implemented that capability to roll into the next story, therefore allowing more followers to stumble into your content,” adds Cutshall.
With 160 million users, Snapchat certainly stands in the shadows of Instagram’s 700 million global user base. And, despite most of the features offered on Instagram Stories being a straight copy from Snapchat, Instagram is doing a far better job catering to influencer needs.
On Instagram Stories, users can browse through suggested profiles, link their friends to stories, leave comments, and like content which they find entertaining. This allows for Influencers on the platform to be discovered through a variety of avenues, whereas on Snapchat, one must know who they’re looking for to find them.
And that ability to drive discovery and create stickiness has yielded the biggest opportunity for creatives and brands, alike — an influencer marketing economy that stretches towards $1 billion dollars annually, according to another finding by Mediakix. The firm also predicts that business will grow to $5 billion by 2020.
While Instgram tailors its product towards influencers and community building, Snapchat has doubled down on its original content offer with premium publishers via Snapchat Discover. Can its growing slate of projects including tie-ins for big broadcast hits like “The Voice” and “The Bachelor” and news offerings from publishers like Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC and Insurrection Media drive a meaningful enough value for Snapchat? With stock dipping 40% from its IPO price in March 2017 ((day one close: $24.28), the answer may indicate no. Plus, the recent launch of Facebook’s new video platform — Watch — is likely to further complicate matters for Snapchat as influencers, brands, and publishers eye a very lucrative offer on the other side of the court.