It's completely obvious to all Snapchat users that Instagram has totally ripped-off Snapchat stories. It has left a lot of people confused as to why Instagram would make it so obvious; are the developers really that stupid?

In fact, I'm starting to think the opposite; that it has actually been a very clever and well-thought out move.

Why Instagram needed Instagram Stories

For a lot of Instagram users, deciding on a picture to post is a pretty big deal. It is recommended that you should post once a day on the platform but any more than that could actually be deemed too frequent!

Instagram is all about aesthetics and, if used well, every detail of a picture will be considered and scrutinised before being uploaded to the platform. Factoring this and the recommended posting frequency means that users often feel restricted with what they can post which means less content is uploaded to the platform.

Instagram Stories introduces a new dimension to the platform; a more relaxed approach to uploading pictures which focus on the story behind the picture and not just its visual qualities. Photos uploaded to Instagram Stories don't appear on your profile or the feed and only last for 24 hours – pressure off!

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

6,000 snaps are shared every second! There's no doubt that social media users favour sharing pictures on Snapchat over any other platform, especially those between the ages of 13 and 24.

Instagram shares a very similar demographic with 53% of its users being aged 18 to 29. However, there are around 500 pictures uploaded to Instagram every second which, in comparison with Snapchat, isn't a lot! So if Instagram knows that its users are spending more time on Snapchat because they like it, why would they spend time and resources in creating a feature that could potentially fail?

Instagram goes into battle with Snapchat

The features are practically identical which makes it highly unlikely that both platforms will be used. Either Instagram stories will never really take off or, if it does, Snapchat will inevitably die out.

Instagram never had much to lose by testing out Instagram stories; Instagram is already a very successful platform with the second highest amount of active users after Facebook.

Although Snapchat is very much still a rapidly growing platform, it is thought that it is still a way off the 400 million active users that Instagram has. This is the most obvious advantage Instagram has over Snapchat.

Here’s what blogger, vlogger and social media fanatic, Zanna Van Dijk had to say:

“I think that Instagram stories are inevitably going to rival or even take the place of Snapchat stories. This is simply because most people have their largest audiences on Instagram and will be able to reach a larger audience this way.”

So should your business be using Instagram Stories?

YES. There is clearly one huge advantage for businesses using Instagram Stories over Snapchat; it's much easier to build a following (and in most cases you probably already have one).

Instagram has great discovery features which help brands reach a wider audience. This is something which Snapchat lacks; users must have already heard of the brand and have its username/snapcode and then be bothered to open the app to actually add it.

There are also advantages to be had by businesses because of the similarities in the apps; we already know what marketing techniques work on Snapchat. Surely this would mean the same techniques are transferable to Instagram Stories? At this early stage it's going to be trial and error but at least we have a starting point!