Which is Better: Instagram or Snapchat Stories?

Posting short story updates online is a great way to reach a wide audience over a short time period. But between Instagram and Snapchat stories, which is best?

Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories

Instagram and Snapchat stories are two of the industry’s most popular tools, with Instagram raking in 600 million monthly active users, and Snapchat boasting 150 million daily active users.

That is a lot of people. A lot of people means a lot of opportunity for brands and influencers who are looking to grow their social networks. We all know finding & working with good influencers on social is hard, but when done right, it can drive great results.

Late last year, Instagram implemented Instagram stories. The update is undeniably similar to competitor Snapchat stories’ offerings: photos, video clips, and editing in a real-time messaging form.

So, which platform’s messaging should you focus on for your brand?

Let’s dig a little deeper, and find out where you’ll succeed best.

Define your brand

The first step in any marketing decision is going back to the core of a brand. With all of the different platforms and tools available for Internet marketing, it is easy to get caught up and forget the most important element: the brand itself.

In order to make the best marketing decisions for your brand, there must be a deep understanding of:

What is your brand?

More importantly, who is your brand?

When we are talking about social media marketing, we prefer to use the word “who” over “what,” because social media is very much human.

Things to think about:

  • What words would you use to describe your brand to others?
  • What type of personality does your brand have?
  • What kind of voice should your brand convey (humor, educational, formal, etc.)?

Once you hash out some answers to those questions, then you can move on to creating a style guide for your brand. Pick colors, typefaces, and shapes that best define your brand’s personality.

Business branding

Who the brand is for

Defining a brand voice can be difficult for some marketers, but the other side of the spectrum can be a little easier (most of the time). What side is that? It’s the side that your audience is on.

Start brainstorming:

  • How old are my customers (and potential customers)?
  • Are they male or female?
  • Which tools are my customers using the most (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat)?

Record the answers to these questions, and keep them handy for the next portion of this guide.

Social media goals

If the answer to this is, “more sales,” try again. Of course, if your brand is utilizing social media marketing, there will be more sales because of it. However, sales-y oriented brands don’t typically do well on a social platform.

Rather than dollars or sales, think more about relationships for this one. The overall social media goal could be to reach more people in a certain location or increase engagement on your brand’s posts.

Think about what matters most, as far as social media impact goes, and then write it down. This will help carve out whether Instagram or Snapchat stories is best for your brand.

Instagram vs. Snapchat

Which is a better fit: Instagram or Snapchat?

After you’ve got a firm grip on your brand identity, and who your audience is, it’s time to decide which tool is a better fit for you: Instagram or Snapchat stories?

First things first, let’s weigh in on what types of content are shared on which platform.

On Instagram stories, what users share is a large variety of content. Unlike Snapchat stories, Instagram stories play host to more photos or “stills.” This can be attributed to the traditional user experience.

Just like anyone else, users on Instagram who are used to the native app (no video, no stories), are habitual. Although they might utilize Instagram video and stories, photos are the original form of content that Instagram is known for.

You will find that a lot of users and other brands post photos on Instagram stories, which is a rarity (sometimes even frowned upon) for Snapchat stories.

Additionally, it is wise to be aware of who the users are on each platform.

Instagram’s user base is 68% female and is used mostly be people aged 18-29 years old.

On to Snapchat stories, we go.

Like we mentioned above, users who watch Snapchat stories usually prefer video over any other form of content. If they want to see photos, there are other platforms (like Instagram or Tumblr), where they know they can indulge.

The number one demographic using Snapchat stories is people aged 18-24 years old, accounting for 45 percent of Snapchat users. Very much a millennial-dominated platform, the next chunk of users are aged 25-34 and make up 26 percent of Snapchatters.

Snapchat gender figures are hard to find, but in 2013 it was reported that 70 percent of Snapchat users were female.

That’s not too shocking, considering the fact that social media has always been known to be more popular among women than men.

Which makes the most sense for your brand: Instagram or Snapchat stories?

Let’s go through some examples to analyze this further:

Example 1: Local Photographer

Pretend your business is photography. Also, pretend that your business comes mostly from locals. Your main focus is portraiture, but you’re also available to take on weddings, and special events.

Your ideal customers are older millennials. Most of the time it is wives, moms, or daughters inquiring about your services.

With everything we’ve learned so far, which platform makes more sense for this brand?

Our answer: we would suggest going with Instagram over Snapchat stories on this one. Since females dominate both platforms, we are focusing on the ages of the users rather than gender. Older millennials use Instagram than Snapchat stories.

Example 2: Foodie Blogger

Pretend that food is your passion, and you’ve taken your passion to the next level by creating a successful foodie blog.

Your specialties are grilling and beer, so more men follow your blog than women. Those men range in age from early 20s to early 30s.

Which platform is better for this case: Instagram or Snapchat stories?

Our answer: we would go with Snapchat on this one. Since there aren’t confirmed gender numbers, we are going to focus on two other factors.

One is the age range. Early 20s to early 30s is exactly where we want your customers to be, and apparently, there are a lot of them hanging out on Snapchat stories.

The other factor is content. Since you’re a foodie, it is safe to assume that recording a lot of videos is something you’re probably already doing. This type of content will soar on Snapchat stories.

But wait, why not both Instagram and Snapchat?

If social media marketing is something you are already practicing on a regular basis, definitely consider utilizing both Instagram and Snapchat stories.

For those who are still getting their feet wet with social, or if you’re a one-man-band and are managing everything in-house, then less is more. Try to pick one for now. Once you get great at that one, then you can consider launching efforts on the second.

Creating content that resonates

Rule number one on any social media platform: don’t just post to post. Make your content meaningful, useful, and sensible. And more than anything, keep your content on-brand.

If you’re using Instagram instead of Snapchat, remember that photos are okay. Build a strategy that includes posting both photos and videos.

Alternatively, if you’re using Snapchat, make sure you’re posting mostly videos. Posting photos on a video-driven platform can lead to a decrease in followers and an increase in negative branding.

To figure out what type of content will resonate best with your followers, go back to the beginning of this article, and think more about your brand.

Knowing your brand (along with your audience) will lead to a creative brainstorm that can help make the most appealing content for your followers.


How to post Instagram and/or Snapchat stories

Even though Instagram and Snapchat are similar in how they’re set up, there are some differences in how and what you can post.


How to post:

  • Go into your Instagram account
  • Swipe right on your home screen
  • You will see four options:
    • Live – Tapping this option will begin a live stream. This can be great for special events or interview-style content.
    • Normal – Take photos with just a tap, or take video by holding down the record button.
    • Boomerang – Tap the record button to make a Boomerang style piece of content.
    • Hands-Free – Record without having to hold down the record button.
  • Once you’ve got your piece of content there, swipe up to add a geo-tag, emojis, and more
  • Swipe left to right to pick a filter for your post
  • Tap the arrow in the bottom right-hand corner, then tap “Your Story”
  • Tap “Send” to post content to your story


How to post:

  • Go into your Snapchat account
  • Tap the record button to take a photo, or hold it down to take video
  • Use the text tool in the top right-hand corner to add text to the content
  • Use the timer in the bottom left-hand corner to set a time limit for your snap
  • Tap the blue arrow in the bottom right-hand corner
  • Tap “My Story” bubble at the top of the page
  • Tap “My Story” in blue bar at the bottom of the page to post content to your story

Let the storytelling begin

Now that we’ve got all the details worked out, you can start posting! Discover your story, and start telling it through Instagram and/or Snapchat.