Snapchat and Instagram Stories: Which Should You Invest In?

It’s now been a month since, Instagram launched a new feature to its app called “Stories.” If the feature sounds familiar to you, it’s because it takes directly from Snapchat’s own feature of the same name. Instead of posting carefully chosen photos, Stories lets you post a unlimited photos throughout the day. And at the end of that day, those photos disappear.

This update leaves many businesses wondering what their next move should be. If your brand is already invested in Snapchat, should you simply stay put with your social strategy, or consider also leveraging Instagram’s latest update? The truth is that both platforms hold value, but the relevance of that value depends on your audience, goals, and budget. Here are some things to consider before refining your strategy.

The Basics

So, what’s the difference between Stories on Instagram and Snapchat? In terms of the feature itself, not much. Here are some differences to note:

  • Snapchat has geofilters and facial filters, which can be used as means for advertising. Geofilters are unique, location-specific filters that advertisers can use to promote events. Facial filters are similar, except they are more frequently used to promote product launches and movies. What this creates is a moment in which a user becomes a brand ambassador, simply by applying the filter to their picture. This is a feature that Instagram has not (yet) implemented.
  • Instagram allows for you to use parts of your story for a profile post. From a business perspective, this allows for you to repurpose parts of your story as content for your profile, and thus increase visibility of that content.
  • Instagram does not record whether or not users take screenshots, whereas Snapchat does. What this means is that if a user screenshots an image from a Snapchat story, the originator of that story can see who took the screenshot. This is one of a few engagement metrics that brands on Snapchat can use to develop their strategy and encourage the sharing of said screenshots.
  • Users can view Instagram Stories simply by tapping a user’s profile image, regardless of whether or not they follow them. The public nature of Instagram Stories increases the likelihood of new users seeing your content.

With so little to differentiate the features, which platform should your brand leverage? The answer widdles down to the different user experiences that the apps provide, and the types of users they attract.


Surveys show that Instagram’s daily active user count is 300 million, compared to Snapchat’s 150 million. Users on Instagram are evenly split between age groups, whereas Snapchat has a marginal appeal to younger audiences (aged 13-17.)

For brands that are meant for younger audiences, an investment in Snapchat makes sense. However, if you already have an Instagram following, it would be wise to capitalize on that preexisting base instead of driving users to another app. Every organization operates within a budget, and if you’re interested in saving yourself time and money, launching a strategy with Instagram’s latest update is the way to go.


For brands interested in advertising, it’s important to keep in mind that Instagram is owned by Facebook. What this means is that any advertising campaign you launch on Facebook can be driven to Instagram seamlessly.

Snapchat’s Advertising platform is still young, and measuring engagement on the platform is difficult. Organizations have to manually record the amount of views they acquire and screenshots that users take. Moreover, users need to seek out and follow Snapchat users in order to watch their stories.

Instagram, by contrast, can measure engagement by likes, comments, and video views. This makes for easier metrics reporting that can be assessed internally. Additionally, the public nature of the platform allows for conversations to develop on images.


Instagram’s search options and hashtag features make it easy for brands to be discovered by users. Furthermore, the app’s “Explore” feature creates a space for content to go viral, and the content that users see within the “Explore” tab are catered to their interests, based off of the accounts they follow and the posts they like.

Snapchat, on the other hand, has a “Discover” feature that only includes sponsored brands and event. Every user is presented with the same collection of Snap Stories, which offers the sponsored content more exposure than Instagram. However, Snapchat lacks the ability for users to search and discover users as seamlessly as Instagram. The only way content goes viral is when it is picked up by news publications and discussed within the media. To that end, when a brand does well on Snapchat, they earn a whole lot of traditional press to boot.

The Takeaway

For businesses who are already using Instagram, it would be cost and time effective to develop a strategy for Instagram Stories. Instagram allows for brands to be easily discovered via its search tools, which would encourage new followers.

Developing an audience on Snapchat would require you to market your current following, and encourage it to migrate to another platform. In that process, users could get lost. Unless your organization is marketing towards users under 18, then you are positioned for success with Instagram Stories, where your current Instagram following will have access to your daily updates.

If you’re already on Instagram, don’t waste time driving your followers to another location. Focus on the space you already created, and leverage the resources you already have. You’ll be thankful you did.


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