Messaging apps have been having a moment recently. From picture messaging to unusual messaging you never thought you needed, such as Yo and Meow Chat, there seems to be an endless supply of message apps with new ways to chat and connect with your friends. So, it’s not surprising to be introduced to a new image based messaging app, to rival Snapchat, Mirage, Slingshot and more, created by Instagram.
About Facebook-Owned Instagram
Instagram is currently a highly popular phone app and social media service, which allows users to upload and edit their own photos or videos to share with their followers. It creates a unique profile for each user, consisting of their photos, and allows users to easily follow other users to gain their image updates in their Instagram feed. The app debuted in 2010, and amassed such a following that Facebook instantly purchased the app for $1billion in the same year. (See our Instagram social media services for what we could offer your business here.)
The main feature of the social media channel is that it allows you to filter your photos and videos, and create interesting edits. However, up till now, the channel has been rather unsocial for communicating with other users and your followers, as you are currently only able to comment on or like other peoples’ images, and respond on your own images. This seems to be all about to change with Instagram’s new app, which is designed for direct messaging with other users.
Instagram’s new messaging app is called Bolt.
Bolt basically allows users to send self-deletable photos and videos from their mobile phones, through this messaging service. The unique selling point relies on needing just one click to select the user to send your image, and to take your photo and send it, all in one. Similarly, for videos, you just click and hold down for longer. Bolt basically shows photos of your contacts as round avatars at the bottom of the app screen, and clicking on one contact will automatically take a snapshot and send it, requiring you to hold down longer on the contact for a video. If you are worried about accidental sends through this process, then don’t worry as an extra feature includes being able to shake your phone in order to delete a photo or video that has been sent straight away.
Bolt is Efficient
Instagram states that the speed of Bolt makes all the difference, and provides a much quicker and more efficient way to send images and videos. Another effective feature, they claim, is that Bolt only requires a quick registration of entering your mobile number, and you can get started. With Bolt, you are able to sync your contacts through the phone numbers you have saved in your phone, although you are strangely unable to sync contacts through either your Instagram or Facebook contacts.
However, at the moment, users are only able to access a maximum of 20 contacts through this app, with 4 favourites on the main screen, and an easy swipe through function to access the other 16. Also, the focus is very much on one-to-one communication, as users are currently restricted to sending their image or video to one person at a time. Although, Bolt has introduced some interesting features, including allowing users to edit and caption the photos sent, and an option to reply to their contacts with text overlaid over the previously sent image.
Too Much Visual Messaging Competition?
Bolt seems interesting enough, but is there too much competition and similar applications already out there on the market? Is it different enough? For example, even Facebook itself, who owns Instagram and Bolt, have recently brought out Slingshot image messaging. The Slingshot app includes the unique point that users can only view a photo they have been sent after they respond with another, as well as including a send to all function. Also, the Yo chat founder has recently brought out a rival in Mirage, a picture service that has already gained widespread comparisons for being highly similar in function to Bolt.
Another critique that Instagram’s Bolt has faced so far is in the name, as it is directly the same as an Android application. This previous Bolt is a service dedicated to replacing traditional voice calling and text messaging through current phone plans. They have reached out to Instagram asking them to reconsider the Bolt name, in order to maintain their brand, but have yet to receive a response. Yet, it is highly unlikely that Instagram will change it.
Bolt: Flipping the Concept
Instagram simply doesn’t seem at all put off by the competition or any critiques, including featuring as similar to any current photo and video messaging apps out there. An Instagram spokesman has already commented: “When Instagram itself launched four years ago, we weren’t the first photo filter app. Our tradition is that we look at a space and create a super simple, pretty experience to fit it.”
The Instagram app certainly gained mass popularity rapidly, and it seems that they are hoping Bolt will follow suit. Instagram claims that they are fully behind and support Bolt completely, and hope this will flip the whole concept of image based communication and photo sharing on its head.
If you already can’t wait to download Bolt and send images to your 20 favourites to your heart’s content, unfortunately you will have to wait a little longer. Currently, Bolt has only been released in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa. Bolt intends on expanding into other countries soon, although a date has not been confirmed. The release has been rather quiet so far, but perhaps this is a logical approach intended to scale the experience.
As Bright Yellow Creative are an office full of current Instagram devotees, we definitely anticipate the release! We are excited to witness what Bolt really has to offer.
Social media marketing has become more important than ever, with visual social media taking the lead on the traditional text-based channels. The majority of social media platforms utilise imagery and videos to boost their content, however the most effective way to make the most of visual marketing is through social media channels that generate imagery and videos specifically.
As far as video based, YouTube takes the clear lead as the main go-to for videos relating to all sorts of purposes, including brand marketing. Although there are other video based platforms available, including Vine and Vimeo, the niche isn’t as competitive. However, with regards to image based social media, there appear to be two distinct platforms, which seem similar in offering identical services. These two options are Instagram and Pinterest. These channels often make businesses feel torn with regards to which one to choose to promote their brand.
We will discuss the main points of interest for both platforms, and see how Instagram and Pinterest compare. Therefore, hopefully working out which visual platform would be most beneficial to boost your brand.
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media networks, currently weighing in with approximately 70 million regular users. Also, Pinterest is unique in offering an audience that is predominantly female at a majority of approximately 68%, with the largest gender difference of any other social media channel. Pinterest users also tend to be slightly older in general, with the core demographic being 18-34 year olds.
In comparison, Instagram has a phenomenal 200 million active and regular users, with approximately 45 million photos shared and 1 billion photos “liked” every day. Males and females are more evenly represented on the platform, although females just take the majority at 55% of the users. The application is also most popular with younger users, and has the same core demographic of 18-34 year olds as Pinterest. However, this core demographic is far bigger, making up nearly 70% of users. Also, the popularity drops dramatically with regards to older users. Interestingly, the most popular (or “liked”) brand on Instagram at this moment is the official MTV account, which perhaps sums up the target audience within Instagram quite accurately.
As far as user engagement, Instagram far outweighs the engagement rate of Pinterest, possibly due to the fact that Instagram has over double the amount of active users. Additionally, Instagram’s user engagement has over 50 times the engagement rate of Facebook, as well as 20 times the engagement of Twitter, according to recent research. With regards to Instagram vs. Pinterest: two thirds of Instagram users use the channel everyday, whereas only one quarter of Pinterest users use the network daily.
However, as far as accessibility goes for both Instagram and Pinterest, Instagram does seem to be more difficult to access, as the platform is only currently available through a phone application. Although Instagram makes it possible to view the site online on a computer, you are limited in what you can do on the computer. You can create an Instagram account on your computer, as well as search for users and view public profiles, and choose whether to follow or unfollow other users. It is also possible to engage with other users and brands, as you can like and comment on content freely from a computer platform. However, it isn’t possible to view who users follow, or other users who are following them. And, more importantly, the platform doesn’t allow you to upload content from your computer, including profile pictures, and the only way you can edit your profile online on a computer is through changing your written profile bio.
With regards to Pinterest and accessibility, you are able to fully access and create a Pinterest account using your computer online solely. It is also possible to get a Pinterest application for your phone, where you can generate pictures and other users’ content in a similar way to Instagram, however this is not necessary in order to get the most out of the platform. Conversely, Pinterest works better used from your computer, and allows you an interesting platform to view other users’ images and content. Pinterest looks aesthetically like an online pin board, and lets you easily view and curate other users’ content onto your own Pinterest boards. In this way, it appears far more accessible than Instagram, and you can engage with the platform easier than if it were mainly on a phone application.
With regards to content, this is where the two are most dissimilar, surprisingly. At first look, it appears the content would be practically identical, as they are both visual social media channels that generate images mainly. However, the main difference is in the content you can generate onto your personal and business Pinterest and Instagram accounts. Specifically, Instagram promotes original content, and encourages users to create photos that they can edit with filters and other photo altering tools on the application. Whereas Pinterest allows users to curate other users’ content onto their own profiles as they wish, so long as they keep the sources.
On Instagram, the platform is based on uploading your own content, which can either be a photo that you have already taken on your phone, or the user can take a photo directly through the application. There are many options to put filters over the images, to enhance them or make them look a certain way, as well as other editing tools. However, with Instagram, it isn’t possible to re-post, or generate any content that belongs to other users, and the stress is very much on fresh, original user-created content. Therefore, the main way you can interact with other users is through “liking” their images, or commenting.
Pinterest is therefore slightly different in its content generation. On Pinterest, you are allowed to “re-pin” other users’ content: in fact, the majority of posts on Pinterest are “re-pins” from other content, or from outside websites. You are also able to upload your own original content, however there isn’t as much emphasis on this. Also, there aren’t any tools or plugins for editing or altering your images, and the upload method is quite simple. If you wanted to upload content onto Pinterest, they give you the option to Pin from outside websites, via the URL, or upload from content on your computer. Some outside websites also make their images able to be “Pinned” straight from their pages, and add a “hover-on” button, which appears when you pass your mouse over the image.
One of the main pros of using Pinterest for your business, rather than Instagram, is that you can utilise linkbuilding far more easily and efficiently on Pinterest. The majority of the images on Pinterest are links, and when you click on the image it takes you to the website source. Therefore, when you upload your own original content, you can include link backs to your website and business. This also makes it a lot easier to upload written blog articles from your site, as you can “Pin” the main image from your website, and add the description, so that the image links back to the article. This makes it a lot easier to find your article and website, and improves the number of links you have built.
Pinterest is one of the main social media channels that can create the most referrals and links to your website, and studies have shown that the network often generates more referrals than Twitter, for example. It is easy to see why, as each image has a website link and source behind the content. Also on Pinterest, they allow you to include a large description to accompany your image, and often it is featured just as important as the image itself.
This is completely different to the feature of links and linkbuilding on Instagram. On Instagram, the images aren’t able to have a link source when you click on them, either on the phone application or the website. Also, if you add a link into the description, you are only able to click on this on their phone application currently. This is similar to their use of hashtags – they only work on the application, and don’t come up as links on the website at all. So, you would only capable of copy and pasting the link if you were on the website. This means that Instagram doesn’t add to your business as far as linkbuilding, and isn’t classed as a very impressive referral site.
In conclusion, in the debate of whether Instagram or Pinterest is more effective for your business, there doesn’t seem to be an exclusively clear winner.
Both Instagram and Pinterest are popular photo-based platforms, with similar audiences who are interested in attractive, original content. Also, they are both great for sharing your visual social media, including images and videos, in order to effectively showcase and attract interest to your business and brand. However, for people who believe that they are inherently similar, that is not entirely true, as there are clear differences between them. They have completely different pros and cons and can’t fully compare, as their uses are quite conflicting.
Instagram has more users, and is more focused on original, fresh content, whereas Pinterest is more accessible from various platforms and is more beneficial towards linkbuilding and generating website referrals. Basically, it completely depends on your needs and requirements as a business, as to which one to choose. Or, if you are still stuck with your decision – choose both!
If you would like to learn more about both Pinterest and Instagram as social media channels, and how they can benefit and support your business, please take a look at our social media services here! (Additionally: more details about Instagram here, and more about Pinterest here!)
Bright Yellow Creative can help improve your visual social media marketing, which will boost your business and brand!
So, if you would like us to help you by setting up, or monitoring and adding to, your Pinterest or Instagram account for your business, please contact us here today!