Snapchat and Instagram: Who Gets The Story Right

Snapchat and Instagram are two of the most popular social media apps. If used right, both apps can help your business stand out. While Snapchat and Instagram have unique specialties, both have the “story” function. Stories allow your business to engage with your audience, but both come with their own twists and features. Snapchat started as a social media messaging app for sending pictures that delete after a few seconds. In 2013, Snapchat added the popular “story” feature which holds a picture on a user’s profile for all their friends to see for 24 hours. In August of 2016, Instagram entered the game with their version of the story on the top of the app’s main feed. The two platforms have been competing ever since over who gets to be the story king. So why does this matter? Social media isn’t just for fun, it’s a necessity for all businesses. Both platforms have their benefits, drawbacks, audiences, and approaches. Knowing these can help you focus your efforts on what matters to get the best results.

Instagram vs. Snapchat Stories at a Glance



Snapchat may be the social media app for Millenials and Gen Z. While Instagram is the most popular social media app with younger audiences, the drop off in users after 30 years old speaks for itself. In a study by Pew Research, 68% of Americans ages 18-29 (71% for 18-24, 54% for 25-29) have a Snapchat, but that drops sharply to just 26% of 30-49 year-olds. This doesn’t mean that Snapchat is useless; it could be a major benefit. Young demographics can be extremely valuable as they are still forming their own brand perceptions. Marketing on Snapchat allows you to focus on one, younger and more casual voice for your brand.

Snapchat Benefits

  • Snapcodes: When it comes to directly adding profiles, Snapchat has one of the most brilliant methods. When you make an account, your profile automatically comes with its very own Snapcode that other users can scan to add you. You can make custom Snapcodes and order Snapcode stickers online. Whether you have a brick and mortar store or an online business, the eye-catchiness of a Snapcode could generate a decent organic growth on its own.

  • More Personal: Snapchat is all about showing short snippets of people’s lives. As a whole, it’s more laid back and not as aesthetically focused as Instagram. If you are a business owner looking to incorporate Snap stories, you could show something behind the scenes that your customers never get to see. Ellen DeGeneres is one famous example of this technique. She candidly shares backstage hilarity that her audience never gets to see. The key is to make the customer feel like your business is a friend!

  • Geofilters: Geofilters can be a game changer for your business. Geofilters are like stickers that show your location. Snapchat allows you to create a geofilter using a template or you can design your own and upload. You can set a parameter for how far and how long you want your geofilter to reach. They can be a little expensive to have up all the time so you can turn them on for your most popular times. If you know of an event nearby where there’ll be a lot of people in a concentrated area, you can set your geofilter to that area and get thousands of impressions easily.

The Snapchat Approach

Many business owners struggle to find the right approach for Snapchat, so pulling it off can give you a leg up. It is somewhat hard to grow your Snapchat following organically, so incentivize your audience to scan your Snapcode at the front of your business. Once you have an audience, post stories and post often. Promote special deals on your stories to keep your audience coming back. Make your stories creative, spontaneous, and offbeat to reflect the young and personal app culture.


Instagram is the second most popular social media platform behind Facebook. Instagram has a much larger appeal with 64% of Americans between the ages of 18-29 have an Instagram (71% for 18-24, 54% for 25-29), 40% for 30-49 year-olds, 21% for 50-64 years, and 10% for 65+ year-old users. With Instagram, you can connect with your entire audience easily. Instagram started as a photo sharing site with an emphasis on posting stylized pictures. On Instagram, its recommended to only post one or two times a day, but you can post stories throughout the day.

Instagram Story Benefits

  • Growth: It’s no secret that Instagram growth is much easier than Snapchat. There are dozens of resources you can find online with tips and tricks to grow your profile organically. For one, using hashtags and location tags can help your profile be seen. If you use a hashtag or location tag it can be seen on the tag’s main feed above all the posts. Anyone following that hashtag will see it in their story feed as well.

  • Instagram Stickers: Instagram stories have great sticker options! You can find basic stickers to spice up your story’s content. Additionally, you can have a conversation with your audience by using Instagram’s interactive stickers. Interactive stickers allow your audience to vote on what they like, ask you questions, and “slide” how much they love your story.  Stickers are a great way to flex your creativity and interact with your audience.

  • Highlights: You have the option to save stories directly on your profile. When you save a story, it gives you the option to sort it into a category. For each category you can select which picture you want to be the category’s cover image. Many companies and influencers upload a cover design to match their profile aesthetic. Since highlights are static, they make a great place for helping your audience find information like your hours or prices. Protip: keep your highlight titles to under 10 characters or less to avoid the three dots of death!

Instagram Approach

Use stories to keep your engagement going through the day. You can use stories to grow your Instagram presence by using hashtags. Once you have a good picture for your story, add some stickers to spice up your content. Finally, don’t let your best stories go to waste! Save them in your story highlights.

The Verdict

So which platform is better for your business? Our answer: use both! It’s so easy to take a picture post it to your story on Snapchat, turn around and post it on your Instagram story. On Snapchat and Instagram, post stories early and often to keep your audience engaged throughout the day. For a more polished look, you can create shareable content you know will look nice. Your stories can be a major tool to grow your brand or business. Let us know on social media what you think the best strategy for stories is!

Categories & Tags
Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Media