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Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories: Who Does It Best?

By Beth Watson, Digital Analyst at Bluestorm

Instagram vs Snapchat

In an industry where creative ideas are frequently swiped without consequence, Instagram’s cloning of Snapchat with its new Stories feature should come as no surprise. Owned by Facebook, a platform with a long history of ‘taking inspiration’ from its competitors, Instagram said that Stories will allow users to “share their highlights and everything in-between.” We put the two platforms head to head to discover which one will provide the most exciting opportunities for digital marketers.

Target audience

Snapchat is famous for its youth appeal, with around three quarters of its user base aged under 25. Young people are drawn to its fast-paced, disposable qualities in a way that doesn’t always resonate with older users. Nevertheless, Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social sharing platforms, with over 130 million active daily users, so it shouldn’t be underestimated.

That said, Instagram has truly captured the mass-market, boasting 300 million active daily users, of which 75% are aged between 18-50. This vast audience offers a whole variety of brands the opportunity to connect with potential customers in an authentic way that Snapchat just cannot compete with.


Mobile users are notoriously lazy, so less is more when it comes to clicking and switching between apps. Instagram has struck gold by offering both curated and temporary content all in one place. Digital marketers can now mix pre-planned, edited content with real-time, behind-the-scenes action to offer customers something completely new and unexpected.

Since its launch, Snapchat has struggled to fend off complaints about its confusing layout and usability, so this should be its biggest concern over the coming weeks. Add to that the fact that users are required to open an app to access features that they can already use within Instagram and the platform could have a real problem.

Special features

This is Snapchat’s time to shine! With fun, interactive lenses, geofilters and a host of text and drawing options, Snapchat users are never short of something to experiment with, which is one of the major reasons behind its sudden success. For brands targeting young people, Snapchat provides the perfect opportunity for them to to show their funny, playful sides which can do wonders for brand perception and drive sales.

Right now, Instagram’s features are a little limited, offering the standard text and drawing options and the opportunity to upload existing images, videos, Boomerangs and Hyperlapses. One stand-out feature is ‘Add To Feed’, where digital marketers can take risks and experiment with content in Stories before carefully selecting the best bits to feature on a brand’s official Instagram page.


Instagram isn’t currently offering paid advertising on Stories, but it surely won’t be long before ads make an appearance onto user feeds. The platform is already favoured by businesses for its brand-friendly approach to searching whereas Snapchat makes it pretty difficult for users to discover new brands as a username is required to follow an account.

Brands looking for ultra-creative ad platforms will still find great opportunities with Snapchat. Sponsored lenses and personalised geofilters make event and brand promotion much more engaging, whilst regular video ads transform into long-form articles, mobile sites and more with a swipe of the finger. The platform also boasts a click-through rate of 5 times more than other major platforms.


With so many interactive features for its users to play around with, it’s not surprising that Snapchat’s ads experience high levels of engagement. Food processing brand, Kraft, recently advertised an improved range of macaroni cheese using an interactive Snapchat lens that encouraged users to catch the product in their mouths in order to score points.

This innovative approach to advertising resulted in the ad being viewed 20 million times in 24 hours with around 20 seconds’ playtime. In today’s fast paced digital world, achieving 20 seconds of solid engagement is no mean feat.

It’s still early days for Instagram, but things seem to be going well in terms of engagement. Advertising and marketing news outlet, Ad Age, recently reported that Nike brand Jumpman23 used Instagram Stories organically on launch day to unveil a new product, receiving a whopping 800,000 views in 24 hours. Compare that with 66,000 views for the brand’s best organic content on Snapchat and the results are pretty impressive.


Instagram is king when it comes to organic content, exposing brands to a diverse audience of active users and combining beautifully curated imagery and videos with authentic, real-time content that offers real engagement opportunity for digital marketers.

Whilst Snapchat has stand-out features and advertising innovation on its side, it’s only a matter of time before Instagram ups its game and expands its paid offering.

For more information about how Bluestorm could support your social media marketing and advertising needs, contact a member of our team via:

t: 01482 649343

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