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Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories: Which Tech Giant Deserves Your Advertising Dollars?

Once a social media titan, Snapchat has experienced waning interest from its user base over the past several years due to UI changes and increased competition from Instagram and Facebook. In fact, a large part of the waning interest in Snapchat can be directly attributed to the launch of Instagram Stories, Instagram’s take on Snapchat’s hallmark “Stories” feature.

Regardless of the platform you prefer, both Instagram and Snapchat offer robust advertising capabilities through their Stories platforms, allowing you to reach a brand-new (much younger) audience of prospective buyers. So, with both of these tech giants still boasting active user bases millions of people strong, which platform’s Stories come out on top?

We’re diving into the differences between Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories so you can make an informed decision about which platform (if any) is right for your social media marketing plan.

A screenshot of some sample "Snaps" that could be included in a user's Snapchat Story.
A sample of the content you can create using Snapchat filters. Source: https://instapage.com/blog/snapchat-ads

Audience

The first major difference between Instagram and Snapchat Stories comes in the size of their respective user bases. Snapchat’s most recent numbers indicate that more than 200 million users log in every single day. On the other hand, Instagram has more than 500 million daily active users, blowing Snapchat’s audience out of the water.

Overall audience size matters, especially when deciding which platform deserves your advertising dollars. Snapchat may be the originator of the “Stories” concept, but Instagram’s daily active user count means that you’ll have access to more than double the potential eyeballs you’d be able to reach with Snapchat Stories ads.

Beyond the sheer size of the platforms’ respective audiences, their core demographics are very different. A whopping 68% of American adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are regular Snapchat users, giving you unparalleled access to younger buyers. Instagram, on the other hand, has a more balanced user base, with only 46% of its total users under the age of 35. Instagram’s wider reach means that while you may not be reaching quite as many young buyers, you’re better able to diversify your advertising efforts than you are on Snapchat.

Functionality

When comparing Instagram and Snapchat Stories to one another, there are some clear differences in core functionality. Snapchat offers a wide variety of filters, stickers, and add-ons to spice up your content: In fact, you can even create and utilize a custom Snapchat filter in order to reinforce your brand and linger in users’ minds.

Instagram, on the other hand, is still in the process of rolling out new features for Stories, and the available filters aren’t quite as well-integrated as Snapchat’s filters are.

Where Instagram really pulls ahead of Snapchat is the ability to create searchable, discover-able organic content in addition to your targeted advertisements. Instagram Stories allow you to use hashtags and tag other users in your content, expanding your reach significantly without necessitating additional advertising spend. Snapchat, on the other hand, has no such features, forcing you to rely more heavily on advertising spend in order to drive views (and traffic).

Flexibility

The final difference between these two platforms comes in the ability to re-purpose your content for use elsewhere. For better or for worse, Snapchat is entirely self-contained: Your Snaps can be saved and re-posted, but you don’t have the ability to re-share seamlessly beyond the Snapchat app.

Instagram, on the other hand, shines when it comes to platform-level flexibility: Because it’s owned by Facebook, Instagram offers the ability to easily share content between Facebook and Instagram, essentially giving you twice the content for the same amount of effort.

In Conclusion

In case you couldn’t tell from the text of this article, we have a tough time recommending Snapchat Stories — and Story Ads — to any modern agent, especially when compared to the flexibility, user base, and discover-ability offered by Instagram Stories. Snapchat still has its uses, especially if you’re looking to advertise to a much younger audience, but agents who take the plunge into the world of Instagram Stories won’t be disappointed.

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