Instagram vs. Snapchat: Who Will Win the Stories Battle?

Launchmetrics Content Team


The biggest question millennials seem to be asking lately is what does one post to Snapchat and what does one post to Instagram stories? What type of content goes where?

The double posting issue has come up with numerous influencers in the fashion space; social media aficionado and senior editor at Obsessee, Kristie Dash, has asked her followers several times what they think of Instagram stories vs Snapchat. 

Instagram stories introduces the option to create live video content on a platform that most fashion and beauty companies are already active on. A social media manager at a major accessories brand said his team was taken aback when Instagram rolled out stories. They were forced to re-strategize and change their Snapchat plans in order to incorporate Instagram Stories. The fashion world seems torn between the two platforms. 


So, what are the pros and cons of Instagram Stories and Snapchat? What do brands need to know about these two live-video platforms? To help answer these questions, we’ve compared the good, the bad, and the ugly of Snapchat and Instagram stories for both brands and users.

Snapchat for users:

  • One feature of Snapchat that Instagram Stories currently lacks is the face and geo-filters. People still love the filters (and can even submit their own artwork to make their own personalized versions). It's likely only a matter of time before Instagram creates their own version.
  • Unless you're Kim Kardashian and have a massive Snapchat following, the platform still feels more intimate and less public for a user than Instagram.
  • As Snapchat displays a vertical list of recent updates from everyone you follow, this could quickly turn negative if you want to follow lots of people. On Instagram, only five users with recent updates are displayed until you swipe to the left.
  • One important acronym: FLOTUS.

Instagram Stories for users:

  • There's no need to add anyone new if you are already on Instagram. Your existing followers can watch your stories and vice versa. 
  • One possible downside to this, is that your Instagram story is likely to be much more public than Snapchat. On Instagram, your story will probably now be privy to the eyes of hundreds or thousands of people.
  • Just like on Snapchat, you can use Stories to see who viewed your story, you can direct message someone from their story, and you can type text or "paint" onto an image or video.
  • Stories still lacks the facial and geo-filters that Snapchat users have grown to love, but Instagram might have something similar in store for the future.
  • A dedicated page featuring sponsored media outlets like Snapchat's Discover doesn’t exist on Instagram yet.
  • Currently, you can't just easily pick and choose which Instagram stories you want to see. Whoever has posted the most recently will show up at the top, and profile icons of people with recent updates appear in rows of five. You can search for a specific person's story by clicking on their profile picture.
  • Browsing suggested stories on the search page can be improved. After watching one story, the next suggested person’s story plays automatically. Having little control over whose story you are watching next might be a turn off for people, especially since you aren’t choosing to follow them.

Snapchat for brands: 

  • Brands can have a prime spot featuring a series of video snippets on Snapchat's Discover page. That said, taking up one of these coveted Discover spots does not come cheap. 
  • Another way brands can promote an event or a launch is through a customized filter. 
  • According to some users, Snapchat still seems more intimate and authentic. Brands can be less curated and a bit more casual on the platform. 
  • Since the Snapchat demographic is younger (most users are under 25), these users might not even be interested in creating or using an Instagram account. Snapchat might retain it's "cool factor" among their original users.
  • Snapchat is estimated to have around 150 million daily users

Instagram Stories for brands:

  • Digital consultancy L2, reports that Instagram Stories has already dominated it's first New York Fashion Week season, with 57% of NYFW brands using Stories and only 53% on Snapchat.
  • People are more likely to trust a brand with a huge following and plenty of likes. Consumers can't see a brand's metrics on Snapchat. 
  • Stories is good news for companies who already have a large following on Instagram. By utilizing Stories, brands don’t have to worry about cultivating a following on yet another platform.
  • Ever since those McDonald’s ads disappeared from Instagram, ads on the platform have become much more targeted toward users. If ads are introduced to Stories, they will probably be rolled out in a similar, subtle approach. 
  • The ads are no joke: ad revenue generated by Instagram is supposed to hit $600 million this year.
  • Instagram captures an older and more international demographic. By contrast, Snapchat already has local versions in countries like Korea, but Instagram is widely popular internationally with over 75% of users outside of the US. 
  • Instagram claims to have over 500 million existing daily users.

According to L2, nearly "three-quarters of branded NYFW content on Stories was original, with only 27% re-purposed from Snapchat, suggesting that most brands recognize that the two platforms have different audiences." Perhaps there is enough room in the social media universe for both platforms to survive. Only time will tell which platform most people prefer, and more importantly, which platform will generate more exposure and sales conversions for brands.

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