The Guarantee
December 4

Instagram vs. Snapchat

With both photo-sharing platforms, Snapchat and Instagram, having large audiences, photo editing filters, and chat features, it can be tough to choose where to invest your time and money. Consider these three factors to determine what’s right for your business: target audience, discoverability and advertising features.

Target Audience. Based on numbers alone, Instagram wins big with over 154 million active monthly users compared to Snapchat’s 51 million. But quantity isn’t everything.

Pew Research Center reports that 72 percent of U.S. teens are on Instagram and 69 percent are on Snapchat, but Snapchat is used more often than Instagram. In fact, 78 percent of the older Gen Z, ages 18-24, are active on Snapchat compared to only 71 percent on Instagram. If your target audience is my generation, Gen Z, then Snapchat may be the platform for you.

While Instagram touts a younger audience, it has a higher percentage of users 30+. If your target audience spans across a wider age range, you’ll likely choose Instagram.
Discoverability. You want to be easy to find when a user searches for your product or company or even better – just stumbles upon your content.

Snapchat poses several challenges when it comes to discoverability beginning with profile visibility. A user is only able to view your profile after adding your company to their network. Conversely, a user is not required to follow your Instagram account to view your profile or content, and your profile can include more than just a username including your web link, store hours and/or location. And Snapchat’s poor search function requires users to enter your exact username, compared to Instagram which allows both username and company name.

Because content that is sent to a user’s follower base, called Snapchat Stories, disappears after 24 hours, future followers aren’t able to see previous content – making it harder to showcase an impressive profile.

Does that make Snapchat a no go? Maybe not if your brand presence alone grabs the attention of the generation that boasts $44 billion dollars of buying power.

Advertising. Snapchat offers a unique feature that receives 1.5 times more attention than Instagram, called lenses. Snapchat Lenses are augmented reality 3D enhancements that can be added to a video or picture by the user. And the payoff is big. Gatorade’s lens generated 165 million views during Super Bowl 50 and an 8 percent increase in purchase intent.

While Snapchat’s unique features, like lenses, can increase brand awareness, they can also cost upwards of $300,000 per day. Both platforms offer affordable ad formats ranging from an average of $3 per 1000 impressions on Snapchat to $5 per 1000 impressions on Instagram.

While there are other details and differences in platforms that may impact your decision, Instagram’s wider range of users, accessibility to consumers, and affordable advertisement options make Instagram my platform of choice for many mid-sized companies.

Isabel Kagoo, Marketing Intern at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy can be reached at

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