A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away— wait. That’s not right… Not so long ago, on the planet earth, it was a period of civil war. Social media civil war, that is. (Nerd note: “It was a period of civil war” is in the opening crawl of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.)
Over the past few years, Snapchat has risen as a social media powerhouse. It’s worth approximately $18 billion, has 150 million daily users, and accounts for a great deal of millennial usage on social media apps. With this kind of success, other social media tycoons wanted in on the action. Thus, Instagram Stories were born.
Instagram rolled out its new feature on August 2, 2016. The update rivaled the primary functions of Snapchat and clearly marked Instagram as a competitor shooting for their share of the market. And Instagram may just succeed with it.
With two social media platforms that offer a similar service, which app is better for your business? We’ll be going through the pros and cons of both to find out.
- User age range: 13 – 24
- Gender usage: 70% female, 30% male
- Daily users: 150 million
There’s no question that Snapchat has better and more enjoyable filters, especially for the younger demographic that makes up most of Snapchat users. Plus, brands can cash in on making their own geofilters for users to share with their friends. Instagram Stories has a few select filters, but is definitely lagging behind in this area.
Right now, Snapchat isn’t expanding beyond their current user demographic. Unlike Instagram (that was first used by teens and college students), the older generation has yet to catch on to using it. Another weakness is that nothing on Snapchat is permanent, and there aren’t any real “profiles” for your business like there are on Instagram. Videos and images are only 10 seconds long and disappear, so it’s hard to establish a presence and track progress.
- User age range: 18 – 34
- Gender usage: 58% female, 42% male
- Daily users: 300 million
Instagram has the upper hand when it comes to reach, simply because it’s easier to track who you’re connecting with. Users have actual profiles with permanent images, bios, and follower information, as apposed to the very brief Snapchat Ghost profile. Instagram also has a diverse demographic, allowing brands to target a specific markets, and reach is easier than ever when you already have a built-in audience.
Stories can also be viewed for up to 24 hours, and are re-watchable until the time expires. You can also send messages like on Snapchat. Once you send a message, it sends to the user’s direct private messages, and will also send the “story” picture or video you were referring to, making it easy to keep track of your conversation.
Instagram’s filters are pretty basic. Right now they are expanding with some stickers and “geo” filters, but it’s not nearly as versatile as Snapchat’s collection. For them to truly take away Snapchat users, they have to improve their geographic efforts. A recent study reported that 43% of users will delete Snapchat if Instagram Stories adds more filters. On a somewhat plus side, the brush and text tools they do have allow you to be a little creative with your pictures.
Personally, I prefer using Instagram Stories, because more of my friends are on Instagram, (they’re also easier to find) and I actually like the platform better than Snapchat. It’s also easier as a Social Media Manager, because you can easily switch between all the accounts you’re managing. I would say that Instagram is definitely heading in the right direction with their Stories option, and could potentially run Snapchat to the ground if they continue to improve their user experience. But in the end, it all depends on your business goals. If your target audience is a younger demographic, definitely try out Snapchat. If you already have an established Instagram audience, try Stories to expand your reach. Test out both and find a good fit for your brand!
What platform do you prefer to use? Let us know in the comments or Tweet us!