When Instagram and Snapchat came out in 2010 and 2011 respectively, both had established unique ways of storytelling and carried on peacefully, content with the distinction.
However, with the advent of Instagram stories in mid-2016 and the regular release of competitive updates from both the platforms, the lines of clear distinction between the two are becoming more and more blurry.
Due to such similarities, marketers are finding it difficult to decide which platform they should target. This article will help marketers, like you, to make the decision between Instagram and Snapchat.
So, let’s get started…
First Things First – The Statistics
Takeaway: If your audience is dominated by tweens, teens and young adults, Snapchat would be a better bang for your buck because the people who have Snapchat on their phones regularly use it, are loyal to it and tend to have more interactions with brands. If you have a broader audience, Instagram would be a better choice.
Snapchat allows you to share snaps (photos and videos) with your followers through your ‘story’. There are a variety of editing options for these snaps such as text options, stickers, geo-filters, personalized Bitmoji, video filters and an enormous variety of lenses. Snaps are shot from the phone and are not obliged to look professional. In fact, Snapchat users prefer seeing very casual snaps even from brands. One of the key features of Snapchat Stories is that they disappear after 24 hours.
On Instagram, you can post single photos, multiple photos, minute long videos and boomerangs on your permanent feed. In addition, you can share 24-hour disappearing stories – just like Snapchat – and go live from the app. Although Instagram stories may have a limited number of filters, they have become extremely popular thanks to their regular updates.
Instagram stories have made it possible to tag other users, insert clickable hashtags and also provide call-to-action buttons for verified accounts.
Takeaway: If you have a more playful, online voice, Snapchat’s editing features would be more up your alley. Snapchat would also be a better option if you do not have the adequate time to create beautiful, Instagram-worthy posts.
Instagram engagement can take the form of likes, comments, shares and direct messages (DM). Viewers can also respond to stories as well as join live streaming.
Snapchat engagement is more personal. You can send and receive messages directly from a user and there are ways to provoke viewers to send messages to you. Engagement can also be seen by the number of views, the completion rate and the number of screenshots taken.
Takeaway: If you are keen on building a relationship with your audience and engaging with them, then Snapchat is a better option. Otherwise, Instagram wins on the sheer variety of engagement tools available for your audience.
Discovering New Accounts
The ‘explore’ tab on Instagram makes it very easy for users to discover accounts that they would like to follow and interact with. Users also regularly get follow recommendations while scrolling through their feed and when they follow another user. Searching a hashtag or viewing the top live stream are other ways to find new users.
Discovering new accounts is not as simple on Snapchat. Users can add other users by their username, address book contact or Snapcode. This means that brands would have to announce their usernames and Snapcodes on other social media platforms in order to attain more followers. The exploration of accounts can be done only through the featured section of authorised publishers.
Takeaway: Snapchat relies almost exclusively on other creative forms of advertising and word-of-mouth marketing whereas Instagram makes it very easy to find new accounts, thus easily increasing the visibility of your brand and getting you genuine followers.
Instagram being a sister company of Facebook has a very sophisticated advertising system. Ads will appear in the feeds and stories of users and will be tagged as ‘sponsored’. There will also be a call to action available. One great benefit of advertising on Instagram is that since they are run through a Facebook account, the ads will run on two social media platforms and not just one, increasing reach.
Snapchat’s advertising offerings are as follows: live stories, appearing in the featured section, snap ads, and creating custom geo-filters and lenses for your brand. All of these, however, are very expensive.
Takeaway: When it comes to advertising, Instagram is easily the better option as you only have to shell out a minimum of $1 to advertise there. Snapchat advertising can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000.
Instagram analytics are trackable through their native offerings or through other third-party applications. Metrics such as follower count, likes, comments and other engagement rates, story views, call-to-action clicks, etc can be tracked and evaluated.
Snapchat analytics take the form of story views, completion rate and screenshots taken. Moreover, since there is no native offering, the analytics have to be taken and noted before the story disappears in 24 hours! However, a software called Snaplytics has made this job very easy.
Takeaway: When it comes to measuring your marketing efforts, Instagram does a far better job in providing tools to evaluate your performance compared to Snapchat.
Now that you have read the pros and cons of both Instagram and Snapchat, hopefully, you have clearer idea on which platform to use for your marketing efforts.