Snapchat vs. Instagram: Which Makes Sense for Your Brand?

By BKV in Social Media on November 17th, 2016

social media advertising snapchat

The youthful orientation of Snapchat and its core 13 to 24 user base make it appealing for companies targeting very young consumers.

With the rapid rise of its user base in the last 12 months, Snapchat has quickly challenged Instagram for supremacy in the image bookmarking category of social media. The recent launch of "Stories" by Instagram shows just how seriously the Facebook-owned channel takes its rival.

Many companies lack the resources to effectively promote on all social channels, including multiple image bookmarking platforms. The following are some factors to consider as you decide whether Snapchat or Instagram makes more sense for your brand.

Target Market Selection

The audience is one of the most important places to start when selecting optimal promotional channels. Despite the fact that Snapchat and Instagram both skew young, there are some significant distinctions in audience makeup.

According to May 2016 data shared by AdEspresso, Instagram has 400 million daily active users compared to Snapchat's 100 million. The vast majority of Snapchat users are 13 to 34, and only 14 percent of the audience is non-Millennial. If you target a very narrow, concentrated youth market, Snapchat is a great option.

Fifty-three percent of Instagram users are 18 to 29. However, 36 percent fall between 30 and 64 years of age. Additionally, 75 percent of Instagram users are outside the United States. These stats make Instagram more opportune for reaching a diverse audience or for targeting international or middle-aged users.

User Features

Features and functionality are important considerations when looking at organic social marketing as well. Snapchat's distinct feature since its launch has been its fleeting stories. Users can send photos or short videos to all followers or to tagged individuals. The "snaps" disappear in a matter of moments. Marketers struggled initially to figure out how to weave this functionality into social marketing, but the tool has become commonly used for promoting live events or behind-the-scenes brand activities.

Instagram is a more library-style image platform. Pictures and videos shared on Instagram scroll through a user's feed, similar to what you experience on Facebook, Twitter and other mainstream social channels. Company brands and celebrities often use Instagram to project more interactive or "real-life" perspectives on their brands to resonate with target markets.

The recent addition of "Stories" on Instagram has been ridiculed by some as an effort to copy the core feature of Snapchat. This tool allows users to share photos of an event or experience to the top of their timeline, which disappear in 24 hours. Instagram supporters note differences, such as the 24-hour lifetime and more clear tabs. A primary criticism of Snapchat has been its hard-to-understand navigation, which is part of why it caters mostly to Millennials.

The Nuts and Bolts

Snapchat is a niche tool that allows youthful brands to connect with very young target markets on the "cool" level. Instagram makes more sense for companies looking to develop brand engagement with a broader user base over time.

Both channels have recently added or enhanced advertising options through sponsored posts. Post ads appear in selected user timelines just like images of people they follow.

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A number of fashion and lifestyle brands have developed large, engaged followings on Instagram with creative, natural picture shares.


Companies can and do include both Snapchat and Instagram in social media marketing campaigns. However, a more concentrated approach makes sense when you have limited resources to put toward this area of marketing.

To dig deeper and make the right social channel selections for your organization, invoke the support of an expert social media agency.

Let's discuss which platforms fit best with your brand and audience.

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