Last week, the launch of Instagram Stories shook up the social media world, drawing immediate comparisons to Snapchat. Soon enough, everyone—from consumers to brands to bloggers—will pick a favorite.
While both platforms appear similar at first glance, there are some nuanced variations that will appeal to different audiences. The Motherhood’s social listening team took a deeper dive into the competing offerings to identify some differences between the two.
Content: Are you a Creator or a Consumer?
There are those who prefer to take a more active role in publishing content and those who more passively enjoy taking it in from their feeds.
Snapchat prioritizes content creation over consumption, whereas Instagram has long been focused on content discovery. After all, Instagram opens to a user’s feed as opposed to the camera screen, like Snapchat.
Instagram makes user discovery easier, too, by showing profiles at the top of users’ feeds. With Snapchat, users must know and search for a company or influencer’s username before following them.
For these reasons, Instagram is more brand-friendly for content publishers, such as companies and influencers interested in broadcasting messages to their audiences.
The Measurement Factor
Though Instagram is currently a more measurable platform than Snapchat (making it more appealing to brands and many bloggers), at the moment, Instagram Stories do not allow public likes or comments. Rather, users must use Instagram Direct to weigh in on a story – meaning there are no likes or comments to measure. It is possible, however, to share a picture or video clip from your story directly as a post in your feed, which then allows for engagement on that particular post, as well as encourages people to watch your story.
Instagram, like Snapchat, does offer the ability to track how many users saw a certain story, and does so in a clearly visible way. As Fast Company says, “One of the open secrets to [Instagram’s] success is that it’s trained users—through design choices like this—like watching those numbers tick up and to make decisions accordingly. So while Instagram’s viewer counter is also an eyeball icon with a number next to it, and while Instagram also shows you both a total head count and who those viewers are, it puts that information all in one place instead of making you dig for it like Snapchat does.”
This feature, combined with Instagram’s larger built-in following, is an obvious plus for brands, especially. Case in point: On the first day Instagram Stories rolled out, Nike garnered 800,000 views in 24 hours for a story the brand posted. On Snapchat, Nike’s most popular video received 66,000 views.
One immediate difference Instagram offers over Snapchat is that it clearly defines its features for the user with prompts and tips–something that appeals to those who find Snapchat too difficult to navigate.
However, Snapchat does currently have some feature advantages over Instagram, including geofilters (denoting where an image was taken) and selfie lenses, both of which provide a distinguishable reason for users to keep going back to Snapchat.
Time will tell which platform will entice more users, but for now, it seems like for brands, marketers and influencers, Instagram may have the edge over Snapchat.
We want to hear from you! Are you planning on using Instagram Stories exclusively over Snapchat (or vice versa), or do you think there are applications for both?