Instagram vs Snapchat - What Stories Format is Winning?

Instagram vs Snapchat - What Stories Format is Winning?

One of the greatest debates of 2017 has been the battle between Instagram and Snapchat stories and which stories format should marketers use. Both platforms serve a similar purpose of sharing and distributing images/videos in portrait form but brands and publishers are trying to figure out which app is most appropriate for their content, audiences and ads. So…which stories format is winning, Snapchat or Instagram? Let’s break it down. 


Let’s start with some of Instagram’s winning features—one of the most important strengths Instagram stories has is the hashtag feature. Instagrammers can attach one or more hashtags to their story and it becomes a clickable link. This takes users to a feed of images that use the same hashtag. This is perfect for targeting users as well as to boost engagement and conversation about your content and business.  Another huge pro to Instagram Stories is the different capture features: Live, Normal, Boomerang, and Hands-Free. My personal favorite is Boomerang, as it makes the story more fun and can break up a feed so that it’s more interesting and quirky. Instagram also recently added replays on live video which is perfect for when you miss your favorite celebrity or influencers’ live video—now you can just just press replay. Lastly, Instagram made “@[username]” capabilities possible for stories, which allows users to tag each other and brands in their stories. 

Moving on to Snapchat, one thing to keep in mind, Snapchat did INVENT the portrait style video/image sharing, 24 hour disappearance, texting/drawing tools and geofilters—Instagram was just able to clone it in a more innovative way. But, one of Snapchat’s greatest features that Instagram has had poor luck cloning is the face and voice filters. In the recent weeks, Snapchat has released a slew of other features that sets them aside from competitors, these include photo-editing tools and 3D filters. They’ve also taken some tips from Instagram and finally added “paperclip”, which lets you attach a website to your snap that can swipe up to open in Snapchat’s internal browser. 

# of Users

If we’re diving into metrics, Instagram stories has 250 million average viewers a day compared to Snapchat’s 158 million average daily users. The average Snapchat user spends 25-30 minutes of their day on stories. Instagram viewing metrics are currently unavailable. 

Ad prices

Instagram stories can cost half the price of Snapchat ads, according to AdAge. In an example of a campaign, an Instagram ad costed $4 (price per 1,000 impressions) versus $8.50 for Snapchat. 

Ad Type: 

Ads in Instagram feed and stories are marked with “sponsored”. They can include a call-to-action for the customer, leading them to a landing page or sign-up option. 

Snapchat advertising offers a large array of ads from content-based (ex. Article) to fun (like sponsored Geofilters). Instagram offers a more robust and targeted advertising platform, however, Snapchat’s advertising options are more fun and creative—they stick better with the audience. 


Ultimately, as much as I love Snapchat and will always support it for being the original creator of ephemeral videos, I have to say that Instagram Stories has taken the lead. Though it’s not as fun and witty as Snapchat, Instagram stories has really taken to upgrading their features and seems to understand what users and businesses need best for marketing purposes. I strongly believe that Snapchat isn’t going anywhere as users continue to stay loyal, but Instagram stories might be blocking it’s growth. While people new to the Stories format might find Instagram more convenient, Instagram hasn’t created a compelling enough reason for die-hard Snapchatters to completely switch over. 

At the end of the day, you’ll see me sharing this blog on Instagram stories with a boomerang telling you to “swipe up” AND you’ll also see me posting a Snapchat story with the dog filter and a squeaky voice telling you to “Check out my blog!”. 

Who says you have to choose? 


Get connected with me: 

Instagram: nehaltenany

Snapchat: omgnehal

Twitter: omgnehal

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