On August 9, 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock. On August 2, 2016, Instagram launched its Instagram Stories feature which shocked social media users because its concept is almost identical to Snapchat Stories – many point out that Instagram never even bothered to change the name of its feature. However, for those who follow social media news closely, this new feature didn’t come as a total surprise as it was well known Facebook had previously attempted and failed to acquire Snapchat in 2013.
Before we delve into the differences, let’s first have a look at some of the similarities the two platforms.
- Users can share photos and videos of their Story that disappears after 24 hours.
- Both platforms enable users to doodle, add stickers, emoji’s, and texts.
- Your followers can also see your Story by clicking your profile picture on your profile page.
- If you have a private account, your Story can only be seen by your followers, if not, then your Story will be visible to the public.
- Both platforms offer geostickers.
- Both platforms allow users to post old photos onto their Story.
- Both platforms enable users to start a conversation from a friend’s Story.
- You can see who has viewed your Story.
- You can save your posts.
Now let’s examine the differences between the two.
- Auto-advance feature: Snapchat removed its auto-advance feature. Now users must manually select the stories they want to view one at a time vs. Instagram has the auto-advance feature which automatically plays all the stories one after another.
- Capturing a Story: When Snapchat users open the app, the camera opens for the user to immediately start taking photos or videos with one click of a button. With Instagram stories, the user must click the icon on the top left corner which will pull the camera down.
- Creativity Tools: Snapchat offers a colour sliding tool with one pen size; emoji placement is given the free-reign to users; and it features a text bar vs. Instagram lays out the colour palette for users; it offers three different pen tools, including a pen, marker, and neon. In order to add emoji’s, users can only add emoji’s via text bar.
- Sharing old photos: Snapchat allows users to share any photos saved to Memories, including old photos vs. Instagram only allows users to share old photos taken within the last 24 hours.
- Famous filters: Snapchat Stories has the “3D face lenses technology’ which will map your face and allow you to apply a filter to your face which is unique to Snapchat vs. Instagram offers users to apply its famous filters to their photos.
- Live streaming: Snapchat Stories does not offer a live feature vs. Instagram offers a live feature which is also visible through the Story timelines at the top of the app in the homepage.
- Sharing your Story: Snapchat Stories can only be seen through the app but the ‘save’ feature allows users to upload their saved photos and videos onto other platforms, including Instagram vs. Since Facebook purchased Instagram, it is interconnected with many other platforms, including Facebook. Instagram users may share their page to their Facebook pages.
Since Instagram launched its story feature, influencers reported a significant decrease in the number of views per story. Snapchat Stories views decreased from 20 to 30 percent between August to mid-January. According to the Bloomberg report, in the 25 weeks since Instagram Stories launched, it has reached 150 million daily users; that’s the same number of users that Snapchat’s whole app reportedly hit around June 2016! Seeing these statistics, it’s no wonder Influences prefer Instagram’s reach as Instagram has reported over 600 million monthly users compared to Snapchat’s 300 million.
Recently, Facebook has also launched stories onto Messenger, Facebook, and WhatsApp (whom Facebook also owns), which is quickly threatening Snapchat’s popularity. Snapchat has also been rebranding itself as a “a camera company” that makes products like its Spectacles camera-sunglasses.
All in all, Snapchat caters to a younger demographic of loyal users, 18 – 24 years old, which account for 45 percent of its users. For those who don’t use Snapchat, Instagram Stories along with Messenger, Facebook, and WhatsApp provide great alternatives as they feel there is less of a need to download Snapchat. While Instagram’s reach is significantly higher, Snapchat Stories offers better filters and more customisation options that users and brands love.
So will you use Instagram, Snapchat or both?
Veronica Pang | The Edge Blog