Snapchat vs. Instagram Stories: The Battle Rages On
August 2016 brought us the release of Instagram Stories. In the year that has followed, the battle between Snapchat and Instagram has raged on for the top social media platform for Millennials and Gen Z-ers. On June 20, 2017, CNBC reported that Instagram Stories had reached 250 million daily users, officially surpassing Snapchat’s 166 million. For advertisers, the conflict of where to invest time and money continues to flourish.
In the early days, Snapchat was dismissed as an app that would allow Millennials the ability to send intimate photos, without the repercussion of mass distribution. It grew to be much more powerful and the folks at Facebook took notice. Before Snapchat CEO, Evan Spiegel, declined Facebook’s $3 billion bid, Mark Zuckerberg and his team were already hard at work developing ways to take down the social media newcomer. With failed apps like Poke and Slingshot, it was only a matter of time before Facebook integrated the ephemeral features of Snapchat into its previously acquired Instagram.
Fast forward to the Snapchat and Instagram we all know and maybe only some of us love today. Both have fully functioning facial lenses, direct messaging that disappears, location tags and stickers. While Instagram may have caught on quick to these factors, it would appear that Snapchat has truly mastered them.
Many users prefer the wide variety of augmented reality filters that are found in Snapchat simply because they look more sophisticated. There are the originals like the dog face and beauty filters. Then there are the newer, limited time offers that can turn you into Elliott from E.T., or my personal favorite, a White Walker from Game of Thrones. While Instagram has been able to mimic some of these, they simply don’t animate and follow your face the way Snapchat can. Users will even go as far as saving filtered snaps and upload them into their Instagram Story because Snapchat may look cooler, but Instagram has further reach.
When it comes time for advertisers to decide which platform is best suited for their needs, there isn’t a set answer for who is going to deliver the best results. Neither Snapchat nor Instagram should be ruled out against the other without testing their capabilities first. Maybe your ad has extremely specific messaging that only Facebook, the powerhouse behind Instagram’s targeting, can handle. Or maybe your ad is heavily based on your audience’s location; in which case Snapchat’s ability to pinpoint a user’s geographic position would be more beneficial. As with all forms of media, there is no one size fits all solution.
In the end, it is inevitable that one of these platforms will prevail. Regardless of which platform comes out on top, it is important for advertisers and clients alike to get on board with both. Dismissing the advertising capabilities simply because you or your team doesn’t know how to use the platform will leave you in the dust with younger generations. In the long run, the ultimate clash won’t be Snapchat vs. Instagram Stories, but advertisers who adapt vs. those who are left behind.