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The Instagram Spinoff That Could Change the Digital Marketing Landscape

Snapchat is in trouble. Ever since Instagram launched Instagram Stories in August 2016, Stories have quickly become the most-used feature on the platform — with more than 500 million people using Instagram Stories every single day. This huge influx of new users has resulted in a decline in user-ship for Snapchat, calling the platform’s future into question.

Snapchat is about to ensure another blow, though: A recent leak might indicate that Facebook and Instagram are primed to encroach on Snapchat’s audience even further, potentially changing the digital marketing landscape for good.

It’s All ABout Close Friends

If you’ve been keeping tabs on some of the newer features Instagram has to offer, you’ve likely noticed there’s a new way to decide who has access to the content you create. By adding people you follow on Instagram to your “Close Friends” list, you can create Instagram Story content that’s just for the members of that Close Friends list, removing the worry that might come with baring too much of one’s soul in front of their entire Instagram following.

This new development follows in the footsteps of “finstagrams:” Private, tightly guarded Instagram accounts created by younger users with which they can share content that’s deeply personal to them and their lives. By adding a Close Friends option, Instagram has essentially embraced a wave of heavily personalized content that’s been sweeping the platform for years now.

A Major Shift

Until earlier last week, Close Friends lists were seen as the easiest way to connect users with personalized content from their closest friends. That all changed, however, with the leak of Threads, a new, Facebook-run app that takes the concept of your Close Friends list and expands it into a fully fledged private messaging app.

An illustration including the working logo for Threads, Facebook's new Snapchat competitor.
An illustration including the working logo for Threads, Facebook’s new Snapchat competitor. Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/26/20833903/facebook-instagram-threads-messaging-app-close-friends-snapchat

So, what exactly does all of that mean? In simplest terms, Facebook/Instagram’s new app is positioned to debilitate Snapchat, playing off many of its core features and rolling them into the newest app in Facebook’s ever-expanding ecosystem. Not much is confirmed about Threads yet, but from the information available as of publishing, it seems like Threads will be centered around groups of close friends, allowing them to share information like current location and movement speed with one another.

To readers who aren’t members of “Generation Z,” the idea of sharing such personal information with friends may seem appalling. Younger users, though, are more likely to engage with this new app, as it combines the privacy of their Close Friends list with some of the location-based functionality offered by Snapchat.

Why Should I Care?

It’s not often that the digital marketing landscape sees the addition of a new major advertising platform, but Threads could potentially take over much of Snapchat’s user base in a relatively short amount of time. Instagram Stories have already diminished Snapchat’s influence, and this brand-new platform could be the proverbial nail in the coffin.

While we don’t know the full capability Threads will have at launch, it’s safe to assume that Facebook will integrate its newest platform into its advertising endeavors in one way or another. By keying yourself in to this massive new development, you’ll be better positioned than your peers to take advantage of whatever new advertising opportunities Threads may bring.

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