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Two tech milestones reported Tuesday show how drastically different the strategies are for Snapchat and its rival Instagram, which has been putting a dent in Snapchat's user growth ever since adopting Snap's "Stories" feature last summer.

  • Instagram Stories hit 250 million daily active users (DAUs) Tuesday, Facebook's global head of sales Carolyn Everson told CNBC. The number again surpasses Snapchat's 166 million DAUs, last reported during its first earning's report in May.
  • Snapchat became one of the first tech companies to win a prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for outstanding achievements in electronic journalism Tuesday, winning alongside legacy news outlets like The New York Times and Washington Post.

Why it matters: Instagram's milestone is a reflection of its overall strategy, which is to grow its user base in order to sell scaled data-based advertising against it. Snapchat is also looking drive some scaled ad revenue, but is simultaneously working to win over the lucrative $70 billion TV ad dollar market through highly-produced original content on mobile — a reported $100 million content and advertising deal the company announced yesterday with Time Warner indicates that strategy is an effective one.

Between the lines: Instagram is part of Facebook's Audience Network, which allows the company to sell data from billions of users across all of Facebook's platforms (Messenger, Instagram, Facebook, etc) to advertisers. This data is gold for advertisers, regardless of the fact that it's not all user generated. (Everson also announced Tuesday that 1/3 of all Instagram "Stories" users are actually businesses.) Because a large part of Snapchat's business is to sell ads against users who spend a lot of time with content, its focus is on driving home user engagement, a number they've reportedly been able to push past Instagram. (According to Snapchat, the average user spends roughly 30 minutes daily on the platform, while Instagram has yet to release time spent metrics. Third-party measurement groups, like Mediakix, also show that Snapchat surpasses Instagram in user engagement.)

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

1 hour ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

2 hours ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.