Social Media Fight Night: Instagram Stories v. Snapchat

Instagram Stories

In case you missed it, yesterday Instagram added a feature that’s eerily similar to the premise of Snapchat – Instagram Stories.

Here’s how it works: You take a video or picture and upload it to your Instagram Story, and it lives there for 24 hours—which is exactly how Snapchat works.

Yes, Instagram just went full throttle at one of the most popular social media apps out there.

As soon as I saw this update, I had to dive in head first to play around with the feature so I could tell you all about it!

Here’s my first-hand account of my initial experience with Instagram Stories.

When I opened my Instagram app, I was greeted with a new interface. At the top of the newsfeed I noticed some small circular symbols: first, the Instagram logo, and then some of the people I follow appeared as well.

At first, I thought this was a new notification stream that would show you when one of the people you follow posted a new picture/video. Not so—those little symbols were home to a plethora of new content.

I hurried up and clicked on the Instagram symbol, and BAM, my eyes were greeted with this person covered in yellow emoji balloons informing me of the news.

snapchat emoji


Then I came back to my senses and realized that that might not be the case. I don’t think Snapchat will go down without a fight.

Naturally, I envisioned the two logos battling one another inside of an epic boxing ring. The arena is full of millions upon millions of people anxiously watching, and I’m here to give you the play-by-play.

The match has commenced. Enjoy!

Instagram v. Snapchat, round one:

Let’s start off with the basics. After all, no good boxer will use his best moves right out of the gate. It’s in the first round that you feel out your opponent. So, let’s take a look at how many people use each platform. Snapchat has more than 100 million monthly users, but Instagram has about five times more with 500 million monthly users.

That’s a solid jab by Instagram.

Snapchat is looking a bit wobbly right out of the gate.

Round one was pretty tame. Let’s move on to round two:

Sometimes, when we’re feeling a bit creative on Snapchat, we’ll click the little marker symbol in the top right-hand corner of the screen so we can draw on our pictures with all of the skill and grace of a two-year-old. Of course, if you have a stylus, you have better control, but if you’re like me, your pointer finger is your stylus and it’s not pretty.

With Instagram, on the other hand, my pointer finger was able to create a masterpiece. With their version of the marker tool, it looked like I could have signed the Declaration of Independence. My confidence in my iPhone-enabled handwriting skyrocketed. As if that wasn’t great enough, there were different font styles I could pick from to make my handwriting look even better!

In round two of this epic battle, Instagram lands a solid right hook. Snapchat is slowly but surely retreating back to its corner of the social media ring.

It looks like Instagram is delivering some heavy hits to Snapchat.

How will Snapchat fare in round three? Let’s see.

As it stands right now, it looks like Instagram owns this match. Celebrities are posting their new Instagram Stories and the buzz is palpable. Everyone is enamored with this brand-new heavy hitter in the social media ring.

Instagram is already a solid platform that has caught and kept users’ attention. It’s a visually stimulating app that keeps people coming back for more, scrolling through their newsfeed as they stay up on the latest celebrity gossip, sports news, vacation spots, recipes and more.

It’s a one-stop-I’ve-got-to-see-this-shop. You’re probably like me thinking that Instagram is poised for a TKO. But, not so fast! I’m about to hit you with a Rocky-esque underdog plotline.

One thing that I think we’re failing to realize is Snapchat has features that Instagram doesn’t have, like those silly filters that you can put over your face, the stickers to embellish your picture and even the decorated geo-tags that let your friends know where you are.

But that doesn’t mean this fight is in the bag for Snapchat. They’ll have to continually come up with new ideas and filters to keep users engaged. Otherwise, the app will get stale, and the users will leave.

This is especially important for their Millennial-dominated user base The 30-and-under set makes up a large portion of Snapchat’s users. And this demo has proven to be a bit fickle when it comes to technology, essentially jumping from app to app to keep current with what’s cool and abandoning what falls behind. Continuing to keep content fresh and unique – something that Snapchat truly pioneered – is going to be imperative for the app. What’s more, when the novelty of rainbow filters and cute stickers wears off, how will Snapchat stay relevant?

Personally, I see Instagram Stories being used seamlessly by brands. I’ve already seen a few companies use this brand-new feature to create some content surrounding the update. For instance, Vineyard Vines used Instagram Stories to encourage its users to tag them in their photos using their Instagram handle, and they would showcase the pictures in their Instagram Story. From that small story, Vineyard Vines was able to promote themselves through all of the user-generated content they received, creating a buzz around the brand without having to invest in heavily produced videos of their own.

Another solid uppercut from Instagram to Snapchat!

It’s important to note that this idea of brands using this sort of marketing isn’t new. After all, Snapchat has allowed brands to promote their products and services via their platform for quite some time.

The problem is that advertisers have to become more creative to produce unique content for users across multiple social media platforms. It can be challenging to keep up (but not impossible—check out this post that shows how CrossFit kept their followers engaged across platforms during the CrossFit Games.) It’s a hard concept to master. Instagram Stories might have made it easier for advertisers and marketers to reach their target audience with messaging that makes sense, all in one place.

The bell has sounded – that’s the end of round three. But this fight is far from over—Snapchat and Instagram are going to continue to battle it out for the belt.

Who do you think will reign supreme? I’d love to hear. Leave me a comment with your answer.