Instagram vs. Snapchat

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

By Jill Mailander

With the release of Instagram Stories, one can’t help but notice that the service sounds strangely familiar. OK, it’s pretty much an exact copy of Snapchat from the early days.

Instagram’s latest step toward innovation has caused everyone to compare the two platforms. To start, let’s look at some of the latest releases from these platforms.

Instagram Stories allows users to enter photos that are highly visible to their followers, but that expire after 24 hours. Sound familiar? But it would be a mistake to just think of this as one platform simply copying another. Let’s look at the latest changes from both.



It looks from these lists like Snapchat is the leader — but mere innovation isn’t everything. Here’s a deeper dive into Instagram Stories.

Pros for Instagram

  • Instagram Stories give people one app for instances when they previously needed both Instagram and Snapchat
  • Instagram users can make their stories permanent (added to their profile) if they want to, which is a feature that Snapchat doesn’t exactly include (Memories on Snapchat saves snaps, but not for all of the user’s followers)
  • This new feature could stop people who haven’t used Snapchat yet from creating an account for this service
  • Instagram appeals to a larger demographic, so there’s a good chance that Instagram will cut into Snapchat’s growth
  • Instagram profiles can tap into their follower base instead of having to start from scratch on Snapchat

Cons for Instagram

  • Instagram Stories’ features are definitely copied from Snapchat
  • There’s always a learning curve with new features, but it won’t be as steep with Instagram Stories since a lot of social media users are fluent with Snapchat now
  • Snapchat already has dedicated users and a lot of people won’t want to abandon their beloved platform
  • Instagram Stories don’t have a lot of Snapchat’s features such as filters (geofilters, custom geofilters, reversing/speeding up of videos), stickers, lenses, etc., so Snapchat will remain ahead in the game of ephemeral content

Looking Ahead

Some brands will stick with Instagram Stories to cut down on posting to several channels. And Instagram will continue to share new features in Instagram Stories to keep up with — and maybe some day surpass — Snapchat in functionality and fans.

Brands that are considering starting on Snapchat may use their Instagram handles so that their handles won’t attract squatters there. The many brands that are already on Snapchat will not abandon their followers, but may offer different content over both platforms to see which emerges the winner.

Will people use Instagram Stories or will they stick with Snapchat, which could ultimately lead to Instagram Stories being a flop? When polling the smart humans in our agency, the results are split. Comment to let us know what your prediction is!

Originally published at

Jill Mailander is an Account Supervisor at Room 214. Besides all things social, her main expertise lies in Digital Strategy. Jill’s work with these communities has lead to a vast increase in fan growth, engagement, loyalty, and brand awareness. Jill is constantly working to stay ahead of the curve on what the next big thing will be and loves trendspotting. Connect with @jillmailander on Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat!

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