It's been almost three years since Instagram launched their stories feature. Back then Snapchat had already been the leader when it came to ephemeral (disappearing) content. But back in 2017, Snapchat when their IPO hit the public, their user growth hit a wall. This was when Instagram Stories' user growth reached a rapid increase. Now, in 2018 they're holding steady at over 400 million users! This is double the amount of Snapchat users.
As a result, Snapchat has faced an increasingly treacherous uphill battle. And since Instagram has more users in total (not to mention more Instagram Story users alone) there has been some hearty competition between the two. And with all the new features that both social media platforms have rolled out, it's clear that they are inspiring one another.
Why Brands Are Switching from Snapchat To Instagram
Even though Snapchat initially introduced disappearing content, it doesn't mean that brands are exclusively dedicated to the platform. In fact, A LOT of brands have already made the switch to Instagram Stories. Especially when it comes to ephemeral messaging and advertising. That's why today, we're going to discuss the reasons behind why brands are making the switch from Snapchat to Instagram.
Instagram Stories VS Snapchat Stories
Honestly, both apps and features function in pretty much the same way:
- media is visible to the public UNLESS your account is private
- users can search through public stories to see what brands/users are sharing
- photos and videos can have emojis, geotags, doodles, lenses and text added to them
- both platforms let users and brands post photos and videos that are viewable for 24 hours
However, there are a few differences that you need to be aware of:
- Instagram lets brands attach link and landing pages to their Stories
- it's easier to search for and discover new users on Instagram - Snapchat requires an exact username
- Instagram allows clickable hashtags and geotags on their Stories - on Snapchat it's manually searchable
- essentially Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform - Snapchat is only about ephemeral content sharing
6 Reasons Users Are Switching to Instagram Stories
Since Instagram Stories ALONE has more users than Snapchat, it's pretty obvious as to why most brands are making the move. And with the extra functionality of Instagram, it makes a lot of sense. But let's take a moment to look at some more reasons.
#1: Greater Numbers
Okay, okay. It really does come down to numbers here. Instagram has a huge user base - we're talking 700 million and counting, to be exact. Logically they are a formidable opponent when it comes to Snapchat. Instagram Stories gave their audience instant access to this feature and it spread like wildfire. Now over 200 million Instagram users are posting to Stories.
Unlike Snapchat, where brands have to essentially start their following from scratch, Instagram gives brands a greater reach. Not to mention the scale on which to connect with millions of people! And if your brand is already on Instagram, it means that your followers will engage and interact with your Instagram Stories.
#2: Targeting That Works
Since Instagram is part of Facebook, it means that its content and ad targeting capabilities are part of Facebook's platform. This is definitely a good thing. I mean there are a ton of ways that you can target your ads! It also means that Instagram ads can be curated based on users' data on both Instagram and Facebook. It's definitely a no-brainer if you are interested in doing more advertising.
Back in 2017, Snapchat introduced their self-serve ad platform. It does make things easier for advertisers when it comes to purchasing and creating ad space. However, it's user experience falls short. Especially when you compare it to the wealth of data behind Facebook and Instagram users combined. As a result, Instagram's targeting capabilities really does take the cake on this one.
Instagram also offers users more flexible ad buying options, which is always a bonus. You can purchase Instagram ads based on a cost-per-click basis. There's even an option to select cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM). For a lot of brands, this makes Instagram a lot more valuable since brands only have to pay for the ads that users actually interact with.
The quality is much higher and as a result, the audience is better. This means that your advertising performance will be top class.
#3: Instagram Gets More Traffic
The best thing about Instagram is that you're able to drive more traffic to your website and landing pages. I mean, social media helps boost brand awareness as it is, but Instagram Stories gives you the extra push. Why? Because it gives brands the chance to add a link to their webpage in their Stories. That means its incredibly easy for audiences to find and interact with brands on their sites.
Instagram also gives brands a unified dashboard where they can see the analytics of a Story and ad performance - all in one place. You can even see which Stories are driving visitors to your website!
#4: Discoverability Rules IG
If you use both Snapchat and Instagram, it's obvious that they have a tendency to copy features from one another. First Snapchat created a search bar and universal Stories to help users find new content and accounts to follow. Then Instagram introduced Location and Hashtag Stories to do the same -- with a big difference.
On Instagram, users can tap geotags and hashtags into their stories. It makes it even easier to see what other users are posting about that specific location or topic. With Snapchat, users have to use the search bar to choose location and events to see what's posting. However, they can't do it directly from within the Snapchat Story they're watching.
This extra step makes it hard for people to find and discover you. Especially when you compare it to Instagram. This is one of the main reasons why brands are switching from Snapchat to Instagram. They have the chance to engage with a broader audience.
#5: There's More Authenticity
Snapchat's source of income lies within the Discover tab is in their Stories. As a result, a lot of users have stated that they have a more authentic experience on Instagram Stories. Instagram lets you jump between ephemeral content and photos in the Instagram feed.
In fact, the aut0-advance through Instagram Stories are seamlessly uninterrupted with ads. Plus, Instagram's Explore tab suggests new content and users without low-quality ads. Unfortunately, Snapchat forces you to pick which stories to watch end-to-end and it's chock full of ads or clickbait between each one.
#6: It Brings A New Meaning To "User-Friendly"
The main reason that behind why brands are moving from Snapchat to Instagram is because IG is A LOT easier to use. In fact, Instagram has made it easier to add new followers, watch (and re-watch) content, share Stories, and reply to Stories.
The discoverability I mentioned before makes it even easier to attract new followers and users alike. It's easier to find and connect with content that users are actually interested in. The power of Instagram is huge and their network can back it up. Their reliable network makes it easier for brands and users to get exactly what they want out of social media - to be social.
Snapchat Isn't Over Yet
Even though Instagram might be a better fit for brands, it doesn't mean you have to abandon Snapchat altogether. Especially if it works for you. The audiences on Snapchat are highly engaged. In fact, users spend an average of 25-30 minutes per day on the app. So if you already have an audience there, don't jump ship. See if you can build a following on Instagram and still keep your Snapchat audience engaged.
Whatever social media platform you choose to use, you need to make sure you analyze your results. This step will truly help you figure out which direction to take. Have you used Snapchat for awhile? Are you thinking about staying with the platform? Or leaving it? Are you an avid Instagram user? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss!