Snapchat or Instagram stories? Is it really a debate? As a 24 year old millennial, I rarely use Snapchat. I’m on Instagram almost all the time … even at work I’m on it, managing clients accounts. I post stories on my personal Instagram account when I grill out, when friends are over, or when there’s a beautiful sunset … pretty much all the time.
I find myself asking, “Are businesses really on Snapchat, and do their ads work?” Before we answer this question, let’s take a trip down memory lane and briefly walk through the Snapchat and Instagram history:
A BRIEF HISTORY
Stories were started on Snapchat on Oct. 3, 2013, and were admittedly copied by Instagram which launched its version of stories on Aug. 2, 2016. Though Instagram stories came three years later, the success of stories on Instagram exponentially increased and surpassed Snapchat stories in a very short amount of time.
In March of 2017, less than a year after Instagram stories began, the number of daily users on Instagram stories passed the number of daily users of Snapchat stories. Upon securing this lead, Instagram announced that advertisement on their stories would become available.
Snapchat was slow to introduce ads, most likely hoping a lack of ads would win back the Instagram story users to Snapchat stories. But it didn’t work. After an entire year of waiting for an increase in numbers with little success, Snapchat allowed ads on its stories on April 2018.
Though personally I’m an Instagram fan, it’s important as a marketer to consider the value of every marketing avenue. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both Instagram and Snapchat stories.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS?
- A large audience: As of June 2018, Instagram has now reached 1 billion active monthly users.
- Established ad market: Users are accustomed to receiving ads on the platform and accept them.
- Integrated with FB ads: Marketers can experience the ease of setting up ads to run on both Facebook and Instagram on one platform and get results from both.
- Preferred: 96% of users would rather buy ads on Insta vs. Snap
- Ads are located in between stories of other accounts the user follows, and therefore gets greater exposure. The ads find the user.
- Users can “pause” a story or an ad. By holding their finger on the screen, a user can look at an ad as long as they want without the story timer running out.
- Must have over 10,000 followers to use the “swipe up” option on your story. The “swipe up” option is where you can put a direct link to a website.
- Users might be numb to ads on Instagram more than Snapchat because they’ve been around longer.
- Advertisers only get one post per story, not multiples in a row like Snapchat.
- The “swipe up” option linking to a website is available to all.
- Easy connection to the 13-19 year old demographic.
- Ads are located in the discover section, where those interested in a product can find out more information.
- Multiple advertisement snaps are allowed and encouraged. This usually results in businesses using more story-driven ads, which tends to produce greater results.
- 300 million monthly active users compared to Instagram’s 1 billion.
- Ads will not find a user – the user must find the ad.
- Less people are likely to swipe up because it’s not as rare.
ARE BUSINESSES REALLY ON SNAPCHAT?
Yes. Business are on Snapchat. Major corps like Vans, Universal Studios, Coca-Cola, and JPMorgan have used Snapchat as part of their marketing campaigns.
DO THEIR ADS WORK?
- Universal saw a 54% completion rate and a 12% open rate on one of their latest campaigns for a movie.
- Pepsi Canada’s summer-themed lenses reached 8 million snapchatters.
- Now 61 used Snapchat to get word about their album out and they reached 3 million people with their Snap campaign, and had a 17% engagement rate. Snap ads accounted for 54% of total iTunes conversions during the campaign.
- Episode, a storytelling game app used Snapchat for their ads and received a 3.37% “swipe up” rate (the call was “swipe up to download the app”).
So yeah, their ads worked. But these are pretty big companies with name brand recognition and can afford to pay for success. Smaller businesses probably won’t receive as much success with a lack of name brand recognition.
From what i’ve seen, and what the stats show, Snapchat really is more designed for consumer-to-consumer connections while Instagram has a lot more opportunity for business-to-consumer connection.
DOES THAT MEAN YOU SHOULD ONLY MARKET ON INSTAGRAM?
Not necessarily. Snapchat has the opportunity to be a marketing powerhouse if used correctly. Instead of placing paid ads on Snapchat, businesses might want to look into ways to get consumers talking to one another about their product. Here are a few ideas:
- A business could ask several influential users to be ambassadors for their brand. You could send the user a branded T-shirt or item and ask them to show it off in their stories or through direct snaps.
- If you sell products, you could send your product to users and ask them to review it on their snap story.
- Create your own Snapchat filter or at least create a geofenced lens that users can use when they are near your storefront or at an event where you are.
- In the future, the Snapchat Discover section of the Snapchat app may be open to ecommerce from other businesses besides just Snapchat, so keep an eye on it.