Snapchat vs Instagram – which should you choose?

Last month, we looked at what questions you should ask yourself when choosing the right social media platform for your business.  In this blog we’ll be tackling two social media giants who have very recently gone head-to-head in a bid to win your business. That’s right – it’s Snapchat vs Instagram.

We’ve written blogs on using Instagram and Snapchat for business before, but the world of social media is ever-changing. Just last month, Instagram launched ‘Instagram Stories’ – a suspiciously Snapchat story-esque feature which lets users share pictures and videos for 24 hours only. So, as the Snapchat vs Instagram war wages on, we’ve decided to revisit both apps and look at 3 key questions businesses should be asking themselves to make sure they choose the right social media platform for their business.


How do audiences engage with brands on Snapchat and Instagram?

Earlier this year, Instagram reported having 500 million users, with more than 300 million using the app daily. Snapchat reported a lower number of 150 million daily users, but the number of people on Snapchat is rapidly growing – Business Insider reports that the app is on pace for 217 million users by end of 2017. But it’s not all about where the most people are, but where the right people are, and how to engage with them.

In the Snapchat vs Instagram knockout, businesses need to think carefully about targeting the right people, and how they’re going to be engaging with your brand. According to BrandWatch,  90% of the world’s top 100 brands have an Instagram account, and engagement with brands is 10x higher than on Facebook, and 84x higher than on Twitter. Why? The simplicity of Instagram makes it easy to comment and like on posts – all it takes is a double tap.

Engagement is arguably a trickier metric to measure on Snapchat – there are no likes and comments, and users are unlikely to reply to a brand’s snap. However, you can measure engagement through total unique views, how many people watched through your entire story, or even screenshots taken. Snapchat makes up for its smaller size in its ability to engage audiences – Business Insider reported earlier this year that users spend 25 to 30 minutes on the app every day, and that almost 25% of all U.S. Snapchat users spend an equal amount of time messaging friends as they do following brands and watching media content through Discover and Live Stories. For example, Gatorade’s Super Bowl Snapchat filter got 160 million views – way more than the 115 million who watched the game.

So when considering Snapchat vs Instagram as your main social platform, it might be worth considering whether it suits your aims to reach out to more people, or to engage more directly with your existing audience.

Gatorade’s super bowl ad is a great example of how people engage with brands on snapchat

What kind of content do you want to share and how do you want to share it?

Chances are, if you’re debating over Snapchat vs Instagram for your business, image and video are going to be the most important type of content you’ll share. However, just because both platforms let you share the same kind of content, it doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results.

Snapchat is considered the go-to place for direct, daily, and current content, whereas Instagram has traditionally been about sharing high quality content permanently, but much less frequently. In order to encourage more regular posting, Instagram recently launched ‘Instagram Stories’ which are, in short,  basically the same thing as Snapchat stories.

This move shows how Instagram – who have also recently been putting a larger focus on video – are trying to diversify the ways in which users can share content. This is useful for businesses, as many brands already have a strong Instagram following, meaning that they can share content in different ways from the one platform. The content will also have different uses, with regular Instagram posts featuring as permanent content which audiences can always access, and Instagram Stories as a way of sharing daily updates and sneak peaks. Sounds good, right?

Well, while it might be tempting to think that because Instagram can do it all, it must be the best choice, it’s worth bearing in mind that Snapchat’s popularity is simply down to the fact that it’s very good at what it does. Whether Instagram stories is enough to shake the associations of what each app is used for is yet to be answered, but Snapchat continues to build on its original premise rather than diversifying just for the sake of it. Business owners might want to consider a similar strategy. Because Instagram and Instagram stories are very different mediums, they’ll probably require different planning and strategies, despite being part of the same platform. Smaller businesses that try to use both Instagram and Instagram Stories might run the risk of spreading themselves too thinly, or investing the same amount of resources in just Instagram that they might have used in taking on both Instagram and Snapchat.

Will Instagram Stories be a success?


Do you want to invest in paid content?

Instagram introduced advertising for select brands in October 2013, before opening up advertising for all in September 2015. The sponsored posts appear very much in the same way as they do on Facebook, integrated with a user’s newsfeed. For many businesses, this kind of advertising is enough, particularly as it can be targeted towards users based on their previous likes.

Snapchat, however, allows advertising in a multitude of ways. For example, businesses can create sponsored lenses or geofilters, place adverts in Discover stories, or produce a sponsored story. The benefits of advertising on Snapchat include that it allows for more creative freedom and that views and engagement with these adverts tend to be quite high. However, they’re expensive –a Snapchat lense might be seen by millions of people, but they cost around $600,000 a day. But there are options for smaller businesses. Creating a location specific geofilter is a relatively inexpensive way of advertising on Snapchat, and it’s really effective. Just check out this snapchat Geofilter that we created for a client! This option is perfect for local businesses who want to appeal to audiences immediately in their area, but for other businesses, targeting users depending on their interests rather than location, like you would with an Instagram advert, might be more beneficial.

We created a Snapchat geofilter for Pathway Group

In some ways, Snapchat and Instagram have similar things to offer when it comes to brand engagement, methods of sharing content, and advertising options. Both are popular apps, with relatively young demographics, both allow you to share pictures and videos in ‘story’ form, and both allow you to create targeted sponsored content. However, there are areas where the two differ vastly, such as the creative freedom allowed in creating sponsored content for Snapchat, or the more varied channels for sharing posts on Instagram.

Need help deciding which is the right social media platform for your business? Why not get in touch with us and see what Digital Glue can do for your social media presence?

Where is your next breakthrough coming from?

Spaces, 156 Great Charles Street Queensway,


B3 3HN

Max. file size: 64 MB.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.