- Instagram Stories, a Snapchat-lookalike feature for the photo-sharing app, has hit 200 million daily active users (DAUs), according to Facebook and as reported on by CNBC. That tally puts it ahead of its obvious inspiration in terms of audience, as Snapchat reported just 161 million daily active users at the initial public stock offering of parent company Snap Inc. in March.
- Instagram Stories, which launched in August, has grown rapidly and is up from 150 million DAUs in January. The feature not only cribs from Snapchat's ephemeral video and photo-sharing model but has also released new tools like location-based geostickers, which Snapchat helped popularize.
- It's long been suspected that Instagram Stories has hurt Snapchat's audience growth, which began to taper off around the release of Instagram Stories and has been cited as one of Snapchat's major weaknesses post-IPO.
Facebook continues to prove that iterating rivals' products and features can be successful if a platform has an audience and solid infrastructure built-in: Instagram drew from its reported 400 million daily users to turn Stories into an engine of success that Facebook has since tried to replicate on everything from Messenger to its core platform.
As more of these copycat services not only proliferate but also see a measure of success, brands are eyeing them more carefully, and Instagram Stories rolled out full-screen ads globally at the beginning of March after successful early tests with a select group of marketers. This is bad news for Snapchat, which brands have coveted for its youth-centric audience but have also found frustrating given a lack of tools and support a more established player like Facebook could be better at providing.
Regardless of these efforts, however, it's starting to feel like Snapchat is playing serious catch-up, as something like search has been a staple of Facebook and other social platforms for years. If Facebook's other Stories iterations see the traction that Instagram Stories has, it's very possible Snapchat could be crowded out.