Instagram vs. Snapchat: Which Platform Is Better For Storytelling?

21 Aug Instagram vs. Snapchat: Which Platform Is Better For Storytelling?

Last August, Instagram launched their “Stories” feature, making their head-to-head competition with Snapchat #official. At first, many assumed Stories would be little more than a Snapchat rip-off. And initially, that assumption was correct. But now? Not so much.

Since the debut of Instagram Stories, Snapchat has been fighting hard to differentiate itself with interactive filters, playful stickers, emojis, ads, and a host of other updates. Especially when it comes to engagement, audience, and story monetization, Instagram and Snapchat have some key differences.

So which platform is better for telling your brand story? And which will help you form the most meaningful connections with your followers? Today, we’re breaking it all down.

Which platform does your demographic love best

Audience can be a pivotal factor in choosing the right platform. Instagram’s audience has the widest range, comprised of 55% of all online millennials, 28% of Gen X, and 11% of Baby Boomers. In total, Instagram boasts 400 million daily active users and half of them are story viewers. On average, Instagram users spend 15 minutes with an app.

However, out of 400 million users, only 20% live in the United States. While Snapchat has fewer users (only 158 million), 36% of these users reside in U.S. and Canada. If your brand is looking for a younger, more localized audience, Snapchat is your platform. With 37% of 12 to 24-year-old and 26% of 25 to 34-year-old users, Snapchat receives 25-30 minutes of daily engagement from their Snapchatters.

What about advertising opportunities? And how much do ads cost?

Both Snapchat and Instagram offer various advertising capabilities for publishers. Snapchat’s top channels like Buzzfeed, Food Network, and E! News have more flexibility. But if you’re not an official Snapchat partner and don’t want to place your ad on an official publisher’s story, you will need to create a private channel on Snapchat Discover or place your ad in between user’s stories. When it comes to types of advertising, both Snapchat and Instagram can deliver. Both platforms have a direct-response ad unit, so all you have to do is swipe up.

So, what about price? Surprisingly, Instagram ads cost half of what Snapchat ads cost. Snapchat ads will run you a smooth $8.50 CPMs (price per 1,000 impressions), whereas Instagram ads are only $4CPMs. For smaller businesses, Snapchat prices might be a deal-breaker.

 Which platform gets more engagement? 

The numbers don’t lie – Snapchat impressions are worth more than Instagram impressions. In fact, one follower on Snapchat might equal 20 on Instagram. A study across 21 brands found these businesses averaged a 27% engagement rate for their most-watched videos on Instagram compared to a whopping 61% on Snapchat. This metric proves that more followers doesn’t necessarily mean more engagement. On Snapchat, users tend to follow fewer brands, but engage with those brands more heavily and intimately. That said, searching and following someone on Instagram is quicker and more convenient than adding a friend on Snapchat. And even if you don’t follow a certain brand on Instagram, you might end up stumbling across their content anyway. Snapchatters, on the other hand, don’t have the option to explore. They must know your exact username to find your brand.

Promoting your brand through social media storytelling is powerful, cost-efficient, and crucial for running any successful campaign. And ultimately, there are no winners or losers when it comes to choosing the right platform. Used properly, Instagram will boost your online engagement and so will Snapchat. But if you don’t have the resources to produce content for both platforms, don’t stretch yourself too thin. Choose one medium to tell your story, and tell it well.