Snapchat vs. Instagram Stories: not a case of either/or

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Having already established itself as the go-to platform for aspirational images and videos that satisfy the voyeur in us all, Instagram has officially mastered ephemeral content. It has now overtaken Snapchat in the daily user stakes by almost 100 million (250 million versus 166 million respectively).

So should brands jump ship and ditch Snapchat for Instagram Stories?

Not so fast. Snapchat and Instagram are different beasts and offer brands different opportunities. It’s not a case of either or, it’s a case of choosing the platform that best serves your business’ needs at the time.

it’s a case of choosing the platform that best serves your business’ needs

From a user perspective, Instagram is largely about sitting back, scrolling and being entertained by other people, brands and influencers. While Snapchat is mainly about broadcasting, with a side of consuming. But this doesn’t mean its users are any less engaged – each of Snapchat’s daily users spends an average of 25-30 minutes on the platform.

Instagram has proven to be an invaluable platform for brands such as Aston Martin and Missguided to reach engaged audiences.

By creating content their millions of followers love, they’ve built audiences who buy into the brand every time they interact with posts – frequently in the case of the aforementioned.

Neither of these brands, nor the Top 100 largest brands on Instagram who have tripled their audience size over the past two years, got to where they are by churning out content they didn’t know would resonate.

Before embarking on an Instagram Story, ask yourself:

Is my current Instagram game up to scratch?

If your content isn’t driving the organic engagement levels you’re aiming for with your target audience, Instagram Stories aren’t going to help and neither will throwing money at it.

Instagram is far more open than Snapchat and offers marketers access to a wealth of data on demographics and engagement levels to help assess what’s working. Use this to guide your content strategy so you’re creating content your audience is looking for when they head to Instagram

To Story or not to Story?

Stories are great for ‘in the moment’ action. Are you holding an event with an influencer?

Or unboxing a new product to reveal it to the world? Such sneak peaks are great for Stories. For any such activity, you should support it with your ‘permanent worthy’ versions for your feed

Will my audience see the story?

Stories disappear after 24 hours. You need to know your audience, what day and time of the week they’re most engaged, and then ensure you post at a time that they’re likely to be scrolling.

you need to know your audience, what day and time of the week they’re most engaged

Meanwhile over on Snapchat, its recent IPO has put pressure on the platform to deliver insight that marketers need to prove success.

But with a highly engaged audience and advertising solutions that enable brands to engage with users in ways which enhance their experience, marketers keep coming back for more.

While Snapchat is working to hone its demographic, engagement and referral metrics, brands should ask themselves the following when considering a campaign:

Which format suits your needs?

Sponsored geofilters and lenses offer brands fun opportunities to engage with and entertain users on terms they’re comfortable with.

Do you have a brand mascot such as’s meerkats that are worthy of a lens? Or do you have an upcoming event that will benefit from a geofilter? You stand a higher chance of driving users to take action if your campaign is both entertaining and timely

So which is right for your brand? Well, your audience will dictate that. If you’re targeting the doers and the creators, get on over to Snapchat.

If you’re targeting the sit-back-and-scroll while watching Love Island sofa dwellers, then Instagram’s the place to be

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