LinkedIn has warned its advertisers that it is eliminating its video stories, thus becoming the second social network, after Twitter pulled the plug in July on Fleets, to realize that strategies based on literal copies of other social networks’ features don’t always pan out.

When Instagram decided to copy Snapchat’s ephemeral stories format, it took a product from a social network oriented at a youth market and that many adults found confusing, and democratized it to make it easily accessible for a wider range of users. Instagram Stories, which attracted more users than Snapchat in June 2017, did so not by stealing them from its rival, but by appealing to people that did not use Snapchat because they did not understand it or did not feel comfortable with its sociodemographic orientation.

To give us an idea, Snapchat’s ephemeral stories were not exactly the product of a poorly thought-out idea: its creators had been testing this format for several years since its inception as Picaboo, as in “now you see me, now you don’t”, which then required no less than 30 iterations before managing to launch Snapchat. If anyone thought that technological entrepreneurship simply coming up with a good idea, they should think again.

After Snapchat’s success, Facebook tried to buy it for $3 billion. When the offer was turned down by Evan Spiegel, Mark Zuckerberg told his people to start copying Snapchat’s functionalities like there was no tomorrow. The rest is history. Snapchat was able to hold on to some of its most loyal users in the United States, where it was strongest, but the market gravitated towards Instagram. Stories changed the nature of Instagram and gave it a new style, characterized by ephemeral content, but oriented towards a more habitual, more constant use. And the first to see the potential of this type of format and incorporate it into its arsenal was the company that owns Instagram, Facebook, which launched it in March 2017, albeit without too much success.

In 2020, both LinkedIn and Twitter launched their own ephemeral videos, with exactly the same result, proving that originality meant nothing in the world of social networks: after some time trying to gain traction, Twitter found users who had uploaded a Story to Instagram would replicate it on Twitter as well, while it took LinkedIn a while to see that the format was not at all suited to a professional-oriented social network, and that it merely convinced some companies to use it as an advertising medium. Unsurprisingly, users lost interest in these ads and stopped clicking on them.

Copying is not necessarily a bad thing, although in the case of companies like Facebook, this approach reflects its monopolistic muscle. Copying by a small company is not the same as a behemoth with unlimited resources to launch, promote and practically impose their format on a rival, something that future antitrust laws will surely take into account in order to protect innovators. But when a company takes a rival’s idea, it has add something that provides a different value proposition, aims for a new market segment, or adapt it in a way that gives it a different spin; if not it runs the risk of creating a clone of no value and is limited, in the best of cases, to users replicating the same content they had already created on the original network.

The case of Twitter and LinkedIn, which at least have quickly recognized their mistake and have eliminated the format, is completely clear: if you copy, copy well and add something. Let’s see if it serves as a warning for the future.

http://www.enriquedans.com
Contributor

Recently Published

In the fast-paced world of cryptocurrency, vast sums of money can be made or lost in the blink of an eye. In early November 2022, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, was valued at more than US$30 billion. By Nov. 14, FTX was in bankruptcy proceedings along with more than 100 companies connected to it. D. Brian Blank and Brandy Hadley are […]
Key Takeaways: The phenomenon of some fireflies’ flash synchrony has puzzled scientists for over a century. The phenomenon piqued the curiosity of many, including mathematicians Daniel Abrams and Steven Strogatz, who named it “chimera” In Greek mythology, the Chimera was a hybrid monster made of parts of incongruous animals – so a fitting name for […]

Top Picks

Key Takeaways: Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity has been remarkably successful in describing the gravity of stars and planets. However, gaps in our understanding start to appear when we try to apply it to extremely small distances, where the laws of quantum mechanics operate. A new study, published in Nature Astronomy, has now tested […]
Key Takeaways: Digital money is a form of currency that uses computer networks to make payments. It is not the digital nature of cryptocurrencies that differentiate them from digital money, but how they ensure the ownership of digital property that mark them as transformational. The Counter Currency Laboratory, a new initiative based in the Department […]
Key Takeaways: For many people, Buddhism appears to be uniquely compatible with modern lifestyles and world views. Buddhist mindfulness has influenced many schools of contemporary psychology. Buddhist philosophy embraces constant change and the inherent impermanence of all things. The 19th century Burmese monk Ledi Sayadawtravelled the nation teaching meditation and founding study groups. The forms […]

Trending

I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.

Latest Titles

Login

Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics