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Instagram's new Snapchat-like feature hasn't hurt Snapchat — yet

Launched August 2, Instagram Stories spurred controversy over its obvious resemblance to Snapchat’s My Story feature.
Launched August 2, Instagram Stories spurred controversy over its obvious resemblance to Snapchat’s My Story feature.

If you can’t innovate, imitate.

That was the philosophy behind Instagram Stories, the latest Instagram feature launched on August 2 that very closely resembles Snapchat’s own My Story feature. Similar to My Story, Instagram Stories lets people string together several photos and videos, but with fewer filters and lenses, to appear atop Instagram users’ feeds. The result: a series of visual narratives for Instagram users to tap, swipe and giggle over, much the same way Snapchat users have done with friends’ stories for nearly two years now.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom was the first to admit in a series of interviews around the time Instagram Stories launched that the new feature was no mere coincidence. Rather, as he told TechCrunch, Snapchat deserved “all the credit.”

This change sparked some to declare they’re using Snapchat less in lieu of Instagram, which is owned by Facebook (FB).

Stories 1
Stories 1
Stories 2
Stories 2
Stories 3
Stories 3

But has Instagram Stories really taken a bite out of Snapchat user engagement? To answer that question, Yahoo Finance reached out to App Annie, a third-party mobile app tracking firm that measures app downloads and engagement on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

The answer appears to be no, at least so far, despite some anecdotal evidence and the flurry of initial coverage discussing Instagram Stories’ similarity to Snapchat’s My Story.

“Instagram Stories has not made a measurable impact on engagement since the feature launched,” an App Annie spokesperson told Yahoo Finance. The firm based its conclusion on user engagement during Instagram Stores’ first seven days after launch.

“Actually, it’s pretty interesting that such a controversial new feature from Instagram had little to no impact on activity,” the spokesperson added, chalking up the initial results to the fact that many of Instagram’s users also use Snapchat.

Still, as days turn to weeks, it’s possible these kinds of social media updates may be an indicator of a larger pattern. We’ll report back with an update in a few weeks’ time.

JP Mangalindan is a senior correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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