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Instagram VS. Snapchat: The Battle of the Branding Stories

instagram stories vs snapchat

Instagram and Snapchat are both wild success stories. They both have gained momentum like a snowball that’s rolling down a high mountain in the middle of January. Snapchat made its name with its innovative features. Conversely, Instagram is more of a reactionary platform. That being said, its ease-of use is impressive. Likewise, it has the marketing muscle of Facebook behind it, which is nothing to scoff at.

According to Sprout Social, Instagram has over 400 million active daily users. That’s an impressive number, and it beats Snapchat by a fair margin. Snapchat comes in around 150 million users, which is nothing to scoff at. These two platforms are battling each other. Which one is better for business? Can you use “stories” to promote your business? This article seeks to answer those questions.

instagram and snapchat

A Brief History

If you know the past, you can better understand the future. Snapchat’s success is well-documented. They seized millennial market. At first, Snapchat was known as a sexting app. They shed that infamous label. Now big brands like the White House and Mcdonald’s are on Snapchat. Moreover, the brand positioned itself as a haven for young people, a place where youth can get away from their parents who are on Facebook. This value proposition (and their self-destructing photos) caught fire with a generation that is becoming more cognizant of online privacy.

The Latest Battle: Stories

Snapchat just didn’t eat into Facebook and Instagram’s market with self-destructing photos. They also expanded market share with “stories.” A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Snapchat found a creative way to help users tell stories through pictures. Instagram Stories was launched in 2016 to curb the popularity of Snapchat. The debate rages. Is Instagram too late to take market share away from Snapchat? Is Snapchat in peril because Instagram is copying their core features?

Where do marketers fit in here? Stories are powerful, and they enhance a brand. Yet, which platform should marketers use? What are the benefits of each platform?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Platform

Snapchat is the first mover with stories. Yet, Instagram has many advantages over Snapchat. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Users Stay Longer (Advantage Snapchat)

Snapchat has built a culture where users stick with stories longer. As a brand, you want your content to be seen, so this is vital. According to a test by Al Jazeera, you lose 40% of your viewers by the second shot on Instagram. With Snapchat, 50-75% of people stick to the end. That’s a huge difference. Instagram may have more eyeballs, but people on Snapchat are committed to viewing story content, which is the metric you really care about.

Easier to Use (Advantage Instagram)

Instagram is just easier to use. It’s often criticized for being reactionary, but that’s just one side of the coin. In truth, they’ve taken Snapchat’s core features and made them easier to use. This makes the platform more accessible to older populations who don’t feel as comfortable with technology.

This success is no accident. Facebook owns Instagram. Facebook is also the social media platform that has best tapped into the older market. The team of developers at Instagram know how to make things easier to use; they know how to appeal to the older and younger market.

More Authentic (Snapchat)

As a brand, you always have to worry about seeming fake, about seeming like you’re only it for the money. Pepsi took huge backlash by publishing content that felt unnatural to some people. So, authenticity is paramount. Millennials find Snapchat to be more authentic than Instagram. It’s a platform where you can be more playful, more natural. This is huge in the modern era of advertising.

Cheaper (Snapchat)

Another perk of Snapchat is that stories can be cheap. The culture of Snapchat is to publish casual photos that tell a story. Instagram consumers aren’t quite as responsive to that content. Publishing polished content is expensive, so if you have creative minds that can publish valuable content that’s cheap, that’s a real boon to your business.

More Control (Instagram)

Of course, Snapchat has challenges as well. You may have a marketing manager that approves content before it’s published. It’s difficult to do that on Snapchat. You have to be on location, or you can use Snapchat Memory, a service that hasn’t caught on as of now. Instagram is best for marketing teams.

Easier to Promote Yourself (Instagram)

Snapchat was founded on anonymity; it was a place where younger people could get away from their parents who had just joined Facebook. Remnants of that still linger today, and it’s hard to find anyone on Snapchat unless you’re actively looking for them. As a brand manager, that’s tough. You want your brand to be out there. It’s easier to get discovered on Instagram.

More People to Reach (Instagram)

If you already have followers on Instagram, it’s a lot easier to promote your stories to them. You can reach more people on the platform in general. Managing online social accounts is hard. Even big brands aren’t on every platform. So, the platforms with the most people are the most appealing. Of course, Snapchat has a younger millennial audience you can’t reach on Instagram. In terms of sheer volume, though, Instagram is the clear winner.

Enter Facebook Stories

Snapchat vs Instagram. There’s no clear winner. To muddy up the waters further, Facebook just launched Facebook Stories. It hasn’t jumped off to a fast start. Yet, this is Facebook. The platform has a lot of people. It may turn around.

And so the battle continues. Snapchat has some real benefits. For instance, people watch more stories on there. Instagram has some real benefits too. For instance, it’s easier to promote your account on there. Facebook can be excluded for now, but it must be watched. Snapchat and Instagram are both solid for marketers. Choose depending on your needs for now.

Ben Shepardson has been creating and managing websites and web content since the early aughts. From the early wild days of SEO to today’s demand for fully-researched content that users crave, he’s dealt with it all. His latest project is NoStop Content, a provider of original, top-notch written content for business owners and media agencies.

One Response to Instagram VS. Snapchat: The Battle of the Branding Stories

  1. I like, if you really need to chose, it is certainly to publish your stories on Instagram. It’s an ever growing platform, and much easier to use than Snapchat. Also, I feel that Instagram’s core feature (endlessly scrolling through blocks of pics) is what keeps users on the platform for longer periods of time than they do on Snapchat.

    Great article,
    Regards