Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has sought to curb Snapchat’s appeal by adopting one of the app’s core features. Snapchat currently has about 158 million daily active users, of which, about a quarter (40 million) post stories to the platform every day. Instagram, meanwhile, has 700 million total users, with more than 200 million now using their Stories option every day.
On sheer numbers, it would appear that Instagram made the right decision to copy Stories – but the real question many small businesses are asking is which platform should they be looking to tap into for their own brand stories.
Should you go with Snapchat or Instagram?
Here are some notes to consider.
1. Bigger and better?
As noted, Instagram is much bigger than Snapchat overall, so it’s somewhat understandable that they’d now have more people using their Stories option. In Australia specifically, Instagram has about seven million total users, while Snapchat has about four million, so on size alone Instagram has the widest potential audience reach.
So, there’s your answer, right? Go with Instagram if you want to reach more users – and all businesses want to reach more people.
But then again, there is also the engagement factor.
According to Snapchat, their users spend about 25 to 30 minutes per day in the app, while on Instagram, it’s more like 21 minutes per day. On top of that, recent research showed that Snapchat users have shown a level of loyalty to the app in the face of competition from Instagram, so there’s good reason to go with Snapchat in the engagement stakes.
Neither is a definitive green light – so what else should you consider in your platform assessment?
2. Audience stats
In terms of audience, both Instagram and Snapchat skew young – the majority of Instagram’s audience is aged under 30, while Snapchat also says their audience is primarily under 34, with more resonance with users under 25 (60 per cent of Snapchat users are under 25, and nearly a quarter have not yet graduated from high school).
More women than men use Instagram, which is also the trend at Snapchat – the platform hasn’t released specific demographic stats, but back in 2013, 70 per cent of Snapchat users were women, a trend which is likely still in effect, at least to some degree.
Given this, if your audience is young, Instagram still looks like a better option – unless it’s really young, then Snapchat likely wins out.
3. Presentation options
The final consideration comes down to presentation and the options for marketers.
Snapchat and Instagram Stories are fairly similar, though Snapchat doesn’t have a highly functional search and discovery mechanism to find accounts to follow, which gives Instagram an important edge on that front.
In terms of content, the presentation options are largely the same – you can record short videos or images and put them into a story. Each platform has its own features and tools, but really, they’re likely not enough to sway your decision one way or another.
That said, Instagram allows you to insert links to other profiles within Stories content, which is great for brand collaboration and helping to spread the word about your content. Snapchat doesn’t offer this.
As you can see, there’s nothing definitive one way or another – the key element in all of this is where your audience is active, which platform the people you want to reach are using. The only real differentiator seems to be age – Snapchat appeals more to younger users, which may make it a better option if that’s your target audience. But then again, you might find you need to be on Instagram to make the most of your efforts.
Really, it comes down to your target market and their interests – and in how you use the Stories options on each platform to create resonant, interesting material that appeals to those users.