Instagram Stories Vs Snapchat: The Board is Set, The Pieces are Moving

So for anyone who has watched the Lord of the Rings they will recognise that line (and yes I love the Lord of the Rings books and movie, not the Hobbit that kind of sucked). When Instagram announced that they are introducing a new feature called Instagram Stories that:

  • Last for 24 hours
  • Have filters
  • You can create photos/videos
  • You can overlay text on the image/video

The first thing that came to mind was “copy & paste”. After a week of using the format though the above quote from the Lord of the Rings came to mind. As Facebook did last year when they focused heavily on video to challenge YouTube as the number one channel for video online they are now doing something similar with Instagram. Now Snapchat are in their sights.

After doing an A/B test both platforms for a week where I put up the same content on both here are my key takeaways.


Instagram Stories uses many of the features that you find on SnapChat when it comes to creating a story. One thing that stood out to me was that Instagram seems to move a lot smoother. As well as that when looking at stories you can move forward but also backward. This is a small but really good feature that isn’t on Snapchat. When adding all this up I would give this round to Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories 1–0 Snapchat


With it being a new addition to Instagram there really aren’t that many features. There are filters as well as text and drawing but Snapchat has these and then some. From animated filters to the integration of Bitmoji as well as having these available in the message section Snapchat definitely wins this round

Instagram Stories 1–1 Snapchat


The first day or two on Instagram the engagement was good, this was for the simple reason that the Stories feature was new. Messages on Instagram go to your inbox and honestly since these first few days things have gone quiet. The fact that all you can do is add text has got to be playing a big part in this. If there is one area Instagram can improve on it has to be engagement. Snapchat has it in this regards as all the features for making a story are also available for engaging with people. Snapchat wins this out.

Instagram Stories 1–2 Snapchat


This is a big one. Using the analytics for both (initial views and final views) and working out the completion percentage Instagram Stories wins the section.

So it’s Facebook 2–2 Snapchat right? Well maybe not

I would take this with a pinch of salt for the simple reason that as highlighted Stories is a new feature. Snapchat expert Carlos Gil highlighted that numbers would go down for views on the platform for the simple reason that Instagram is the bright shiny new toy that people want to try out. At the same time there are users on Instagram who are simply asking their audience to follow them on Snapchat

The thing is that’s all that they’re using. The moral of this is that they don’t want to use this new feature as Snapchat is the tool they are going to tell stories through. There are very few people doing the opposite of trying to get people from Snapchat to Instagram. So taking this into account I’m going to have to say that this round is a draw.

Instagram Stories 1½–2½ Snapchat


So Snapchat wins right? As with all things social media it isn’t that simple. The number one area where Instagram has it over Snapchat and a lot of this has to be with Facebook taking them over is advertising. Instagram ads are embedded in Facebook which makes it easier than ever to advertise to your potential audience on the platform. At the moment the biggest advertising tool available on Snapchat is the personalised filters. As well as this Instagram has a much bigger brand presence than on Snapchat (think about it how many brands do you follow on Snapchat compared to Instagram). Snapchat is very much the platform of individuals/peoples faces. So if I was to choose a winner here it would be Facebook

F.T Instagram Stories 2½–2½ Snapchat

What network is the winner?

Plain and simple the winning network for your business is the one your audience is on. The table below from BI Intelligence that featured in Business Insider shows just how big the millennial market is on Snapchat. From an Irish perspective 85% of 15–18 year-olds have a Snapchat account. So if your audience is on this network then get on it!! If your audience is that bit older then Instagram is the tool for you.

So whats the big deal with Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories is a smart business move by Facebook (just ask Ted Rubin and Shanes messiah Gary Vee). It opens up a new way to tell stories on the platform. While Snapchat may have moved them for what was basically a copy paste this might change of it impacts views, engagement and user numbers across the board. That’s the great thing (or sometimes annoying thing) with social media things change so fast.