Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat: What Should You Choose?

Deciding what to post on Snapchat versus Instagram used to be a no brainer. However, all of that changed when Instagram cloned Snapchat’s story feature last year. Now the largest photo-heavy social platforms represent two very different worlds and experiences. As a marketer or business owner looking to spearhead engagement and intrigue new users, it is crucial to understand when and how to effectively use stories on both networks.

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Snapchat Stories, launched in 2013, allows users to share a fleeting story of what they are doing with their day to their friends. Last August, Instagram released a similar featured dubbed “Instagram Stories,” to complement their photo-based sharing platform. Now when you open up the app, a row of stories are located above the image feed. The feature is pretty much the same as Snapchat with images featuring witty captions, squiggly’s, giant emojis, and the ability to message the user.

Snapchat is the best platform to use if your targeted audience is a younger demographic. Since 60 percent of its users are under the age of 25 years old, the app is a crucial tool to engage with millennials. Snapchat is also attractive to brands with strong personalities since its younger user base is drawn to content that is out there, unique, and memorable. The young cohort follows brands that portray a human face through behind the scenes office footage and playful content.

What keeps Snapchat unique is it Live Stories features that allows users to contribute Snaps to events in particular locations. Any Snapchat user in that location will be able to view a feed of imagery and videos from that event. Other distinct features include the feature to Snap any photo on your camera roll, ridiculously fun filters and geofilters, and the ability to fast forward, reverse, or slow down Snaps.

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On the other hand, Instagram targets a slightly older demographic with 59% of users being between the ages of 18-29 and 33% being between 30-49. Instagram stories feature content that is more stylized and polished than the casual imagery found on Snapchat. With more mature users, Instagram stories are best used to market specific products in a professional and visually pleasing way. Furthermore, Instagram stories feature a easy to use UI with the option to tag other users in their stories, incorporate hashtags, and better drawing capabilities.

More than just audience and design, Instagram has over 50 million more users than Snapchat. When they launched stories last year they were able to beat out Snapchat in a matter of weeks due to their extensive user base and available social data from Facebook. According to Ad Age, Nike was able to garner over 800,000 views on an Instagram story, while only receiving 66,000 for the same story on Snapchat. It makes sense that Instagram quickly took over Snapchat.  Influencers, marketers, and business owners have found it easier to stick to a platform where their network is already established.

That being said, neither platform is better than another. While the total reach- the total audience that viewed a photo or video- is better on Instagram, Snapchat has extremely high retention rates -how long users spent watching a photo or video. As a marketer or business owner you will see benefits from using both platforms if you ensure that your content is relevant to the specific platform. If you’re selling shoes use an Instagram Story to show off your inventory and use Snapchat to reveal your staff members having a dance off during a shift. By catering your content to the mentality of each platform you will get better results!

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