In October 2013, Snapchat made a major update to their platform with the addition of Stories.
Due to the success that Snapchat has achieved, Facebook has made a move to buy the platform. But in the end, the $ 3 billion offer was rejected by Snapchat founder and CEO Evan Spiegel.
In an effort to compete, in August 2016, Facebook launched its own version of Stories through Instagram.
The Snapchat versus Instagram Stories debate was officially after the races.
Brands and creators have found themselves wondering on what platform to post – Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories, or both?
Even now, many still have the same question.
What are Snapchat and Instagram stories?
In general, the premise for Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories is the same.
Stories on every platform consist of pictures and videos that expire after 24 hours.
Disappearing content creates that fear of missing out (FOMO) and a sense of urgency, which encourages people to look back regularly for new content.
When it was first launched, Instagram Stories was bare bones.
It took some time before they had a large library of filters, stickers and GIFs that competed with what Snapchat already had.
Fast forward to 2021, and their features are mostly the same, because when one platform adds something new, the other seems to follow its example.
How to choose the right platform for you
So how do you decide which one to use if they are so similar? Well, there are two key questions to ask yourself before committing to one or the other.
Here’s what you need to find out.
1. Where does your audience spend their time?
The key to success on social media is to be content and create where your audience hangs out.
Otherwise you will be creating content for all the wrong people.
And what’s the point in that?
Find out if your audience is more likely to use Snapchat Stories or Instagram Stories.
Taking into account each platform’s demographics will help you with this. Another option is to simply ask them.
Submit a survey to get to know your audience better and ask which social media platforms they use the most.
Post a LinkedIn or Twitter poll.
It will tell you where you need to be!
2. Which platform will play to my strengths?
One thing that many people do not consider when choosing which social media platforms will be part of their strategy is how they can play to their strengths.
Some platforms prefer certain types of content and styles over others.
Because Snapchat and Instagram Stories are so similar, take a look at the features each platform offers to determine which one will be best for you.
To have fun, play around and experiment.
If one clearly stands out to play more to your strengths, choose that one.
Let’s now talk about each individual platform and some of the benefits that each has to offer.
The case for Snapchat stories
Snapchat has paved the way for the platforms that now offer Stories that expire in 24 hours.
After Snapchat led the way, Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter all created their own versions of this in an attempt to compete with the social networking giant.
Although Snapchat is still performing well according to the data, it seems to be a bit shaky compared to its competitors.
By late 2020, as of April 2021, Snapchat had 530 million monthly active users around the world, with more than 210 million “snaps” created on the platform each day.
Snapchat users are 58% female and 40% male. The largest age group on the platform is 13–34, which makes up 75% of the Snapchat community.
While there does not seem to be much talk about it, Snapchat has seen significant growth over the course of 2020.
Before you start recording new content with Snapchat, you have the ability to add lenses (or filters).
You can also set a timer to make filming easier or add music ahead of time to sync your content with a selected song.
On Instagram, you can not add music up to the editing stage. Snapchat gives you access to a variety of popular songs and access to your own personal sounds.
To brighten up and add to your stories, there are many playful stickers to choose from.
Here are some benefits of Snapchat Stories:
This will help you connect with your younger audience.
If you’re trying to reach those who are on the younger range of your target demographics, they’s probably on Snapchat.
By being active there, you have many opportunities to show your brand’s human, playful side and form new connections.
There is less competition.
It seems like a lot of Snapchat brands have moved away in favor of Instagram Stories, but that does not mean you should give it up either.
It simply means that you have less competition and can use the application to stand out from others in your industry.
Geofilters help you reach local audiences.
Snapchat allows users to create custom geofilters that can be placed as decorations on top of story placements.
This is a great way to draw attention to local, brick-and-mortar businesses and events in the area.
Plus, people can find you on the Snap Map and look at your stories, which in turn helps generate more exposure.
The reality is that Snapchat is still thriving.
And if your competitors are not active on the platform, this is your chance to jump on board and start connecting with your target audience.
Sharing fun, creative content will help you attract people and build the all-important Knowledge, Like and Trust factor.
The case for Instagram stories
More than 1 billion people use Instagram every month, making it the sixth most popular network just behind Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.
Instagram reaches 140 million users in the United States.
And in 2020, users spent an average of 30 minutes a day using Instagram.
In terms of demographics, women make up 57% of Instagram users, while men make up 43%. The largest age group that actively uses Instagram is those between the ages of 25–34.
But what about Stories? Well, 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day, with Stories of Brands seeing an 86% completion rate.
Those stats make it an Instagram feature you’ll want to use as the average user watches branding stories and even makes purchases from there.
In the screenshots above, you can see some of the features that Instagram Stories can offer when creating content.
Before you start filming, you can choose different modes like Boomerang, Layout, Hands-Free and Photo Booth.
You can also use pre-made templates (found under the “Create” option) like the “Quick Draw Challenge” to have some fun with your followers.
When you edit, you can add stickers, a timestamp, the temperature, and even GIFs.
Here are some highlights from Instagram Stories:
They are part of a larger platform.
On Instagram, there are so many ways you can create permanent content. You can publish photos or videos to your stream and upload videos to IGTV or Reels.
Instagram Stories can complement everything you share without losing all your hard work within 24 hours.
The stories feed promote recent posts.
You’ve probably noticed that Instagram puts the stories of those you watch regularly at the top of the list.
However, you also see it based on timeliness, as in how recent the postings are. You can generate more views when you are in front and in the middle.
Stories are great for instant feedback.
Getting to know your audience can shape your content strategy not just on social media, but for your blog, YouTube and your podcast.
Adding a poll, quiz, questionnaire, or scroll bar can help you get feedback.
Do not forget to also check your analyzes to find out more about your followers. This is something that Snapchat lacks.
In general, most brands already have a built-in audience on Instagram. This means they do not have to start from scratch to build an audience from scratch on another platform.
If you’re already using it as part of your strategy, it’s worth sharing a few Stories throughout the day.
Which one deserves your attention?
The battle of Snapchat versus Instagram Stories really comes down to where your audience spends the most time.
Sharing content on social media is not going to do you much good if you do not reach the desired audience.
So, where do they really spend their time? And where are they most likely to view your content and get involved?
If you see its value in using both platforms, the good news is that you can easily cross content.
For example, you can film content in Snapchat (taking advantage of their better video editing options), save it to your camera roll, and then upload it to Instagram.
This way you can be on Snapchat and Instagram Stories without having to do the work twice.
Give both Stories features a try and see how they work for you!
Exhibition image: Eugenio Marongiu / Shutterstock