Not too long ago Instagram stories were released upon the world. At first it seemed way too much like a complete rip-off of Snapchat stories. That’s probably because it is. Anyway, within days, a tonne of blog posts comparing Instagram stories with Snapchat stories appeared. Now, however, we’ve had a little while to get our head around the advantages and disadvantages of Instagram’s new feature. Let’s take a look at the reasons for and against using Instagram stories, which, hopefully, will in turn highlight the reasons for and against using Snapchat stories.


The benefits of Instagram stories

Building an audience

When it comes to building an audience on Snapchat, you’re fairly limited. You have two options; talking about it on other platforms, and word of mouth. So if you have a large online following already, or the type of content that people can’t stop talking about, you’re in luck. Instagram stories, however, are displayed to your Instagram following. With that in mind you can continue to gain a following as normal with the use of hashtags in posts.

A nice user interface

Whilst Snapchat isn’t too difficult to get to grips with, there’s no denying that Instagram beat it in terms of user experience thanks to a much nicer interface. You can even choose to hide your story from individual followers. Great for all those who don’t want to block their boss, but also feel the need to post snaps absolutely smashed standing on a table singing Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’.

Affordable advertising

This could easily fit into the ‘Building an audience’ section, but the difference between advertising on these platforms is so significant it deserves it’s own. With brands reportedly having to spend 6 figures advertising on Snapchat, and the option of spending only pennies* on Instagram, it’s much more friendly to your bank account.

*Instagram’s minimum ad spend is £5 but you can cancel it after only 1 penny is spent.


And the negatives

Less creative opportunity

Instagram basically defined the filter, so it’s no surprise they offer their own in a similar way to Snapchat. They did not, however, buy an entire facial recognition startup. The animated filters Snapchat offer allow for a whole new level of creativity. The filters allow brands to communicate with their audience in a far less corporate manner.


These are also missing from Instagram stories. This is also where advertising on Snapchat can become quite affordable. With the ability to create your own GeoFilter for your brand to place upon a specific location. You can encourage users in the area to use it which will then lead to as many views as those users have friends/followers! It’s also a great way to get people engaging with your event. Catch up Instagram.

 The platform’s purpose and demographic

Whilst a brand is largely responsible for determining it’s demographic, the individual demographics of the platforms will have a big impact on who’s actually seeing what you post! For example, if you’re a brand like The North Face, you have an incredibly wide demographic. Therefore, on Instagram a platform with a wide demographic itself, a large range of people of all different ages are going to see your story. Snapchat however is predominantly used by teens and a big chunk of everyones least favourite word ‘millennials’. Now this isn’t necessarily always a downside. However, targeted content on your Instagram story is likely to be seen by a lot of people who simply won’t find it relevant.


The truth is in the stats

Now here’s the problem. The statistic we need to compare the most important thing are missing. The most important thing being the follower:view ratio, and the thing missing being the amount of Snapchat followers an account has.

The associate director of one of the PR firms Nike use said that their first Instagram story reached over 800,000 views in 24 hours. Nike’s most popular Snapchat only received 66,000 views. Personally, we’d put a fair bit of money on the assumption that Nike’s Instagram audience is a little big bigger than their Snapchat audience, and by a little bit bigger we mean a lot bigger.

So whilst they may be receiving 12 times the views on Instagram, who’s to say their Snapchat audience isn’t 20 times smaller. With a bit of guess work, we’d say Snapchat has a better follower:view ratio. Let’s use me writing this post as an example.

Judging by my habits and the habits of my peers I’d estimate that a Snapchat account’s following is no more than double the amount of views it’s top post receives. Most people tend to open them at least to just clear them – which still counts as a view! I average about 1100 views per snap. Let’s say my audience size is 2200 people. My Instagram following is a little over 6000. In 24 hours I receive an average of 1000 views per Instagram story post.

Maybe that’s just me and my audience though, what do you think? Let us know and happy snapping, be that on Instagram or Snapchat!

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