Is Instagram or Snapchat Better for Marketing Business?

While Facebook is still the largest social media platform in the United States, it has a couple of rivals that are growing quickly: Snapchat and Instagram, two mobile-only apps that are particularly popular among the younger generations.

If you’re anything like me, you simply don’t have the time to focus on more than a couple of social media platforms to grow and market your business. I firmly believe that if you’re going to do a good job with social media marketing, you should only do as many platforms as you have time for.

That’s why being very selective about which social platforms I use is critical to a successful campaign. I wanted to add another platform alongside Facebook and Twitter in my marketing efforts, so I recently set out to discover whether Snapchat or Instagram would be more beneficial for my business. Here’s what I found:

A Look at the Numbers

Instagram was recently tagged as the fastest-growing social media platform on the market. People love the image-centric nature of the platform that often leaves politics and arguments at the door. Since 2016, they’ve doubled their number of active daily users to 1 billion.

It’s true that some of the accounts on there are designed specifically so that businesses can buy Instagram followers for further engagement (which is certainly to your advantage if you know what you’re doing), but most of them are real people engaging constantly with brands.

Snapchat, which has grown significantly in the last few years, now has 300 million monthly active users. Its users love the messaging functionality that erases messages after the recipient has read them, increasing the anonymity of online discussions.

In this respect, Instagram obviously wins. The numbers don’t lie, and you can reach a significantly larger audience through the image-friendly platform.

Longevity of Posts

When you post something to Instagram, it will remain there until you decide to take it down. People can visit your bio and look back at photos from three years ago, if they wish. The same goes for the Instagram Stories feature if you upload it a certain way.

Snapchat, on the other hand, automatically deletes all snaps on your Story after they’ve been viewed or after 24 hours. Users have the option to save or upload images and videos that can be replayed, but they must set it up that way-many don’t bother.

Again, Instagram seems to win this round. Longevity is an important part of reaching your target audience, but Snapchat isn’t as far behind as you might think. Research shows that an Instagram story will only see high engagement within the first 24-48 hours. After that, the engagement is thin. In all, it’s not much different than a post that disappears, like on Snapchat.

With that in mind, the goal is to make your image on either platform as memorable as possible. Instagram offers filters and the ability to caption, but Snapchat has introduced some new features in the past few years that make their posts more relevant than ever, including stickers, geotagged city stickers, a huge variety of selfie filters, personalized Bitmojis and more.

If you have a creative person working your Snapchat images, you could arguably make a more lasting impression on a user than even Instagram, although it won’t reach nearly as many followers there.

The Preferred Millennial Platform

Since Millennial followers hold so much power in the purchasing world right now, I found it important to factor in their say in this debate. Surveys show that millennials have the largest spending power in the United States with $600 billion of their dollars put back into the economy yearly.

Both Instagram and Snapchat have great millennial engagement, but according to a recent Wishbone survey featuring 36,000 millennial respondents, Snapchat is the preferred social media platform with 63 percent in favor of this social platform. There is a higher ratio of millennial users on Snapchat when compared to Instagram as well.

However, users are coming around to Instagram now that it has incorporated the stories feature. About 25 percent said they would delete Snapchat now that Instagram offers the same feature and 43 percent said that they would just use Instagram if it provided better filtering and editing options to match Snapchat.

So, for the time being, it appears that Snapchat is winning this contest, but Instagram won’t be very far behind. It’s constantly advancing, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Snapchat losing more users to the pervasiveness of Instagram in the coming years.

Ease of Use

Social media is always popular among those who don’t have a lot going on in their lives, but when things get busier, they’re going to reach for the social platform that’s easiest to access and use. That’s why Facebook has been around so successfully for so many years.

When looking at Instagram and Snapchat, I found it very useful to determine which platform people said was easier to use.

Instagram makes it incredibly easy to share a story, post a photo, and even build a brand. They have great features for advertising and linking back to your bio, like the ability to change your URL link periodically in order to drive traffic to a preferred website. It’s also easy to keep up with local and current topics related to your brand or service.

Snapchat has taken some knocks in the past for its overall user experience, although it is improving. New users find it somewhat confusing to find their friends’ stories and even send messages. They have great filters, but if you’re new, it can be hard to figure out how to use them. Improvements are in the works, but many new users give up on it because it requires too many steps to accomplish their goals.

In Conclusion: Instagram Wins

There are pluses and minuses to both platforms, of course, but I found that Instagram was hands down the winner in this debate. It’s much easier to use and is constantly updating to provide the best possible features at any given time. Not to mention, the audience count is too good to ignore!

I might still try to get the hang of Snapchat for marketing as I have time, but Instagram will be the social media platform of choice for my current marketing campaign!

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.