Story Mode: Snapchat vs Instagram, which is better for business?

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Since August 2nd, when Instagram introduced its new Stories feature, plenty of people have had the chance to try it out. There are some unique things about Instagram Stories that make them different than the Stories portion of Snapchat which is its primary feature but one of those differences is not the name. In fact it’s probably easier to start with the similarities between the two and then we can look at the differences. Both Instagram and Snapchat allow users to create short bursts of video or time limited images to display in this mode called Stories. Both apps only allow the shared moments to stay on the story for 24 hours. Both apps have features like adding text, emoticons, filters and such. However that’s about where the similarities end.

One of the major differences is that Snapchat has a forward only movement so if you tap the screen the story progresses immediately and if you want to replay a moment you have to close the story and restart from the beginning. Whereas Instagram has added the function to be able to tap the left side of the screen and go back to the previous moment. Minor differences are also present in the interface and how content can be added to one and not the other. But I’d like to key in on another major difference that not many people are talking about. Reach. I view reach as the number of people that see posts, not the number of followers.

It’s obvious how a company can market itself on Instagram with hashtags, following users in hopes they will follow back, and creating a widely public presence. Now add in the ability to create interesting live marketing or behind the scenes moments and have those appear at the top of the app for every follower a company has and something special can happen. Reach becomes valuable. Here’s what I mean by that. Lots of companies push out Instagram posts every day. Some of these posts are paid promotions and others provide more organic growth with the help of hashtags. Every Instagrammer that follows the company will now have the ability to see the Story moments and will get the added benefit of the reach the company has by seeing behind the scenes posts, special Story only promotions, and other one off moments that the company creates. Again, reach is something the company can improve by using the normal mode of Instagram. It seems also that if a company were to market the special Story moments (content that is only visible to followers) they could increase their average reach on each post due to the increase in followers. This organic growth is something that Snapchat seems to struggle with right now. For Snapchatters to increase their following they have to get other users to promote them to their friends on Snapchat. This can be frustrating for small companies because it’s very difficult to see if promotions are working. Number of views can be seen on individual moments in the story but there’s no way to tell at a glance if your company is being pushed to your follower’s friends. Therefore it’s very difficult to tell what tactics are working to improve the reach of the posts. On Instagram when someone comments on a post or likes a post this action shows up in a tab where people can see what their friends are liking and commenting on. Snapchat doesn’t have a feature like this at all.

What’s even more interesting about Instagram’s new Story mode is that some Snapchat Discover partners are trying out the Story on Instagram and they are reporting significant traffic on Instagram. While it’s very difficult to compare the Discover feature traffic in Snapchat to the Story feature on Instagram, it’s obvious that Discover is a paid product whereas Story mode in Instagram is not made for advertising and doesn’t offer the ability to pay for ads in stories at this point, so producing a Story in Instagram should be more cost effective than paying for Discover space in Snapchat. Will Discover partners move their information over to Instagram? It’s hard to say but if I were a company using both services it would be something I would want to investigate simply from a cost perspective.

Is Snapchat or Instagram better for business promotions? Let us know what you think in the comments section below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.

[button link=”″ icon=”fa-external-link” side=”left” target=”blank” color=”285b5e” textcolor=”ffffff”]Source: The Wall Street Journal[/button]

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