BATTLE OF THE PLATFORMS: Snapchat Versus Instagram Stories!!

Nearly a year ago Instagram launched its version of Snapchat ‘stories’ and ever since it has been a battle of the platforms – Snapchat versus Instagram, who will win? To bring you up to date: Instagram, despite being late to the game, instantly had an advantage over Snapchat as it drew on individual accounts existing followers and merged the two features (images and stories) on one platform. Snapchat on the other hand is a stand-alone platform only offering stories and quick snaps. As a result, Snapchat’s engagement dropped by 15 – 40% and the platform had to introduce new features (filters/geo tag) to re-gain a competitive advantage.

So, which platform is most suitable for your business? Lucky for you I’ve done some research and compiled a neat pro and con list of each platform. Firstly I’d like to say that neither is necessarily better than another. Rather the question you must ask yourself is “who is my target audience?” This will determine which is most suitable as the user demographic and behaviour patterns differ for each platform.

instagram versus snapchat

Research reveals that Instagram favours an older demographic as 43% of users are over 30 years old. Instantly this insight reveals mature brands would be are more suitable for this platform. Prominent banner location and easy to use design features allows content to have a competitive sophisticated approach, showcasing features, product demonstrations and sale advertisements. These stories are more easily contextualised as they are uploaded in groups and not as a single photo file, and can also be saved and shared with Facebook at a later stage. BONUS POINTS! Instagram has also introduced filters to compete with Snapchat, which although will not necessarily convert Snapchat users – it will help limit Snapchat’s potential growth. However perhaps the best feature is that Instagram stories can tag brands and people, enhancing drive and click through traffic.

instagram versus snapchat

On the other hand 60% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25 and the platform takes the approach of a ‘behind the scene’ or ‘on the go’ content vibe. Despite this being the competitive advantage of showing raw material and adding a sense of transparency to your company, there is a fine line where a brand can be diluted if irrelevant content is posted. Again this content can be customised and saved however there are drastically less features available. In regards to geo tags and filters these are more seasonal and create a playful environment for personal use and are do not directly benefit brands.

Finally, Snapchat removed the auto ‘advance feature’ preventing binge watching stories, and instead forces users to load each individual story. Despite this creating a more specific call to action for picking and choosing which stories to watch, at the end of the day it limits views and takes more effort. Guess we will just have to rely on Instagram to cure our binge watching cravings…

To Recap

Snapchat Pros

  • Original platform and concept behind 24 hour ‘stories’
  • Fun filters and geo tags
  • Younger demographic: suitable for younger audiences
  • Ordered chronologically
  • Behind the scene and ‘on the go’ vibe creating brand transparency

Snapchat Cons

  • Smaller user base
  • No auto ‘advance feature’ preventing binge watching
  •  Advertisements between stories
  • Despite seeing the reach, it is hard to measure engagement

Instagram Pros

  • Ability to tag accounts in images: increasing traffic
  • Can save photos and then re-upload at a later time
  • Older demographic: suitable for mature brands
  • Sophisticated customisation and editing options
  • Draws on existing follower base and merged stories and images into one platform
  • Stories in prime banner location
  • Auto loading stories with easy swipe navigation
  • Can easily search for new users, and set up multiple accounts (private/work)
  • Can hide a story from anyone without having to make your account private!

Instagram Cons

  • Competing with Snapchat loyal, younger demographic followers
  • The fact that the name is the same as Snapchats feature… maybe they could have thought of a different name

OH SNAP! There you have it, Instagram is in the lead… for now.

Joe Fox is Studio Culture’s Business and Development Director.