Snapchat and Instagram are often compared to each other because they both focus on sharing visual content. Between Instagram’s algorithm feed and Snapchat’s growing popularity, some brand marketing teams are moving away from Instagram. On the other hand, Instagram will be launching analytics for businesses, and third-party analytics tools currently exist. Snapchat has no analytics tools, which makes many marketers hesitant to use the app.
With these changes, you need to reevaluate your current social strategies. One platform may better suit your goals, budgets, and time. Here are a few things to consider when comparing Snapchat and Instagram.
Snapchat has 100 million daily active users. Because it is so popular, it can be very tempting for brands to want to be on it simply because everyone else is. Users on Snapchat are skewing older, but core users are still 13-24 years old. Instagram’s users are also young, but there is more diversity. Consider who your target customers are and which platform they are using.
Types of Content
Certain types of content will likely perform better with your audience and align with your brand’s identity on one platform versus the other.
On Instagram, brands can also show behind the scenes looks, product shots, and other images that their target audience would be interested in. It’s also easy to repost user generated content. Images are permanent, which is one of the reasons many users and brands still favor Instagram.
Because of the nature of Snapchat, real-time behind the scenes views and sneak peaks work really well. You can also send exclusive, limited time offers to your entire following or a select group of followers. Snapchat’s video expiry is a unique feature, but also a major drawback when comparing it to Instagram.
You may prefer to create curated, permanent content or unfiltered, temporary content. Brainstorm ideas for both channels to determine which is more suited for your business, while also keeping in mind your audience.
Time to Produce Content
Social media requires strategic thought and planning if you want to produce quality, interesting content, and each platform requires a different amount of time. If you want to share a photo from an event, for example, you likely only need one good photo for Instagram. In addition, it doesn’t need to be in real time. With Snapchat, a cohesive story requires more photos and videos. You’ll likely need someone at the event who can focus on the execution of content for Snapchat. The same goes for any story you put together.
Snapchat is much more authentic, so producing images and videos doesn’t require as much attention in terms of aesthetics. You’ll spend more time editing on Instagram, especially if your feed has a theme.
Finally, consider how often you want to produce content. 65% of Snapchat users post every day. Instagram varies, but you don’t have to post every day to maintain engagement. Think about how much time you and your team can allocate to posting.
Perhaps the biggest difference between Instagram and Snapchat is engagement. User engagement is measured in different ways on both platforms. Instagram uses likes, comments, and shares, all of which are visible to the public. Snapchat looks at views, including the number of users who watched a story from beginning to end, but these numbers are private.
These metrics only tell part of the story. What makes Snapchat an incredibly unique platform is its ability to connect with users on a personal level. It’s reactive. Brands can communicate directly with their customers one on one, and vice versa. In addition, Snapchat creates a sense of urgency because snaps disappear. Therefore, real time interaction with users is important. Be prepared to devote time to candid conversations.
With Instagram, the immediacy factor isn’t there. Even with direct messaging, Instagram isn’t known for creating direct connections between consumers and brands in the same way Snapchat does. You may find, however, that Instagram is a better place for you to engage with fans and customers. If so, consider Instagram for your preferred visual platform.
Think about where your brand best fits into the conversation. If you’re currently on a platform that works well for you—whether it’s Snapchat or Instagram—continue to grow that following. If it’s time for a change, don’t be afraid to develop a strategy for a new channel. Your social brand marketing strategy is meant to evolve, just as these social networks do.