Could WhatsApp Status hurt Instagram and Facebook?
Just a few hours ago we knew the arrival of WhatsApp Status, the response of the app to Snapchat and Instagram Stories. The idea is that users can, through this function, share images, videos and any file that supports the application quickly. These publications will disappear after 24 hours, something that shares with those already mentioned.
Taking into account that it is also owned by Facebook (another that has developed its own Stories), and that long since the “snaptatization of Instagram” culminated, we are faced with a panorama in which sharing these ephemeral publications begins to be a Norm: Facebook seems determined to turn this feature into something by default in all the applications it controls. Is the market saturating? Who can win this war?
It is true that in the present times everything seems to depend on the immediacy, to be able to share at any moment an instant of our life. The applications oriented to the social part of our day to day seem to be determined to offer facilities for this, although we may be approaching a “critical mass” that end up making it irrelevant.
Facebook and its war against Snapchat
Instagram CEO himself commented : Snapchat invented the format of the stories in the form of images or videos that have a temporary presence on the Internet. Right now everyone is using it in their applications (or, at least, the part of the world that corresponds to Facebook), something that, in his opinion, “is not about who invented something. how you take it to a net and you put your own seal on it.”
Snapchat was the first to do so, changing the way we use the mobile to share aspects of our day to day, for better or worse. Instagram and other technology copied it, something that perhaps speaks to us of a crusade of Facebook to be able to open hollow in the market of the video and among the young public.
What’s more, Facebook is the one that is gaining more thanks to the snapchatización of its own applications (including some cuttings like Messenger) or of the purchases that it has made in the last years (like Instagram or WhatsApp). No one doubts that, in addition, the play has gone well.
The truth is that both Facebook and its various satellite applications have very distinct purposes, while Snapchat is a hybrid between social network and messaging application. However, it works very well among young people. In addition, the public between 14 and 20 years tends to abandon “old” social networks.
The age range of the audience that Facebook uses is, a priori, wider than that of Snapchat. The products of Mark Zuckerberg’s company, until recently, were far from what the hybrid offers its users: spontaneity, immediacy and ephemeral content. If the social network wanted to integrate that audience also, it is logical that it tried to take steps in that direction, as it already did with the live videos.
And, again, the move has worked well for Facebook. For now there is talk of an exodus to Instagram by the users of Snapchat. For now, the number of active users in Snapchat would have fallen by 15 to 40% since the arrival of Instagram Stories.
What impact can WhatsApp Status have?
Right now WhatsApp is still unstoppable: in total, 1.2 billion active users each day put it on the throne of instant messaging, where it seems like it’s going to stay a long time. However, its impact could reach Instagram. For now Facebook seems determined to make this feature a de facto standard, but it can have negative consequences (that those using Instagram Stories pass to WhatsApp Status).
The great dilemma that can face Facebook is how to differentiate both products to try to avoid a cannibalization. The way, perhaps, would be to make WhatsApp Status work as a plus when it comes to sharing multimedia content, while Instagram Stories could continue to retain its current role.
Apart from the information announcing the arrival of the new feature to WhatsApp, there remains to be an official statement by the messaging app explaining in more detail how it will work. Perhaps in it we find some keys that we still lack for now.
Another option that is floating in the air, and that I could not avoid being raised, is that maybe Facebook is doing field testing by launching this feature in all its popular applications. Maybe they are looking for a product that works really well, so that they can leave it more unattended in others. However, being decant for something like that would not make much sense.
The strategy of Facebook, increasingly clear
Today, Facebook has a clear objective: to become the front page of the Internet. He’s already showing he wants to do it: from his own TV content, experimenting with live videos, and even his own Facebook Stories (coupled with Instagram and WhatsApp). They have even presented a way to look for work in the social network.
What does it mean to become an Internet index? That users would interact through the network without leaving their products not even a second. It’s something that Google have tried to capitalize with some success, just take a look at the entire ecosystem of services and applications that have created around them: Maps, Gmail, Google Drive … we all know it well. It’s your best choice to keep growing, and Mark Zuckerberg knows it.