Facebook vs Snapchat – All of Facebook’s attempts to copy Snapchat

May 19, 2017

Facebook , Snapchat ,

Social Media ,


It’s no secret that Facebook tried to buy Snapchat for a reported $3bn in 2013, and Snapchat slapped the offer back in Zuckerberg’s face. Since then, Facebook has tried countless times to capture Snapchat’s magic.

Facebook is in a desperate bid to retain millennials, but Snapchat has a dedicated young base that Facebook might not be able to keep up with. 60% of Snapchat users are under 25 making 18-24-year-olds Snapchat’s largest age demographic. Facebook’s largest age demographic is 25-34-year-olds.

So you can see why Facebook would be worried about losing out on the lucrative Gen Z market. Disappointingly, the social media giant’s solution was to clone pretty much all of Snapchat’s key features. Here are some of the mimicked features Facebook rolled out in 2016:

#1 Stories

facebook vs snapchat

Facebook has focused more attention on Instagram in a bid to directly compete with Snapchat. As Instagram currently has over 600m users, it is the perfect player to lead the battle for social dominance over Snapchat, which is predicted to reach 217m users by the end of 2017.

Instagram Stories allow you to post as much as you wish throughout the day, without worrying about over-posting on your profile. All shared photos and videos disappear after 24 hours, making Instagram Stories (Snapchat stories) the perfect place to share the every day and leave your profile for the most important moments.

There are also claims Facebook is developing a similar in-app feature for Whatsapp called Status. Status will let users share mood-setting pictures or videos all disappearing after 24 hours (*YAWN*… I’ve heard that before).

It will be interesting to see how users react to multiple platforms offering the same experience, and if we see new advertising space within Instagram and WhatsApp – just as Snapchat has.

#2 Messenger Instant Video

facebook vs snapchat



Facebook claim video calling used to be reserved for “special occasions” but now we expect to video call in real-time, all the time.

Facebook Instant Video allows you to instantly video call someone as long as both participants have their FB Messenger conversation open at the same time. Sound familiar?

With 1 billion monthly active users on Facebook Messenger, we can expect to see huge engagement with instant video while users continue to fulfill their desire to connect and share instantly.  

#3 Selfie-orientated  

facebook vs snapchat


Back in December, Facebook took Snapchat head-on with a new in-app camera for selfies in Facebook Messenger with frames, stickers and masks. If you have used Snapchat before, you’ll know that filters are immensely popular within the app and maybe the most defining and fun feature.

Snapchat Filters are incredibly popular among teens and millennials – so no wonder Facebook has developed its own version to try and keep conversations alive on Facebook.

6 months after releasing Frames, Instagram has now also launched Snapchat-style AR face filters which work with both the photo and video camera. The filters will also work with Instagram’s boomerang feature and have been available worldwide since May 2017.

Facebook vs Snapchat

As video leads as the no. 1-way consumers are digesting content can you blame Facebook for taking a leaf out Snapchat’s book?  

#4 Actual replicas 

There is a difference between taking a leaf out of Snapchat’s book and photocopying the entire thing…

Enter Lifestage and Flash.

Lifestage is solely for Gen Z as users can only sign up if they are under 21. Users are able to share a fun visual profile with their school network. But, there are no privacy settings which could a HUGE amount of trouble. Flash is being tested in Brazil and long-story-short is literally the same at Snapchat.

The only USP is that the app takes up less than 25MB of space on an Android phone. But let’s be honest that isn’t exactly top of anyone’s priorities.

Facebook profiles keep your photos and posts permanently, creating a timeline of your digital presence. But as this profile is now shared with your mum, aunt and grandma, are millennials using Snapchat to share their silly and foolish moments, and avoid future embarrassment?

Snapchat has created an authentic and private environment where users can connect with their friends and favourite celebs in a super fun and engaging way without worrying about shocking Grandma with Saturday night’s antics…

To keep up, Facebook has only one option, branch out to other platforms. Since it is the only way to capture the younger audience and allow them to express themselves without the worry of judgement.

What more could Facebook copy?

facebook vs snapchat

Similar to Snapchat Discover, Facebook is developing their own news bulletin section in a bid to distance themselves from the low-quality fake news that continues to go viral across the platform.

From a B2B perspective, Facebook Collections may offer a whole new space for brands to showcase their best content, but we will have to wait and see what type of relationship Facebook and publishers have when this feature is launched.

I’ve lost track on how many times Facebook has copied Snapchat and while conversations and engagement remain highest amongst millennials on Snapchat, I doubt this is likely to change.

I do feel for Facebook, it is difficult to blame them for trying to take a slice of the Snapchat’s pie to increase their engagement with a younger audience. But it is disappointing for me to watch THE social media giant not be at the forefront of social innovation, instead just watching them rip off an already successful competitor.

What are your thoughts on the Facebook vs. Snapchat cat-and-mouse game? Sound off in the comments below, or let us know @HarvestDigital.

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