Not sure which platform is best for your business? Here are some tips.

Digital360 on 17 August 2017

Instagram and Snapchat are both important elements of social media marketing. But which one is better for SMEs?

While the two platforms may seem very similar, there are nuanced differences that could make a big impact on how effective they are for your business.

To help you spot the difference and choose the platform that is best for you, we have put together a guide on Instagram and Snapchat and how they can help your business.

But first, what are Instagram and Snapchat?

Before getting into the finer details, let’s rehash what each of the platforms offer.

Instagram was launched in 2010 as a photo-sharing app and has since spread into video. In 2016, it launched Instagram Stories which is a way of recording short videos that have a 24-hour lifespan with stickers.

With hashtags and geolocation settings, Instagram allows users to tag specific places and people. Importantly too, users can share posts from their Instagram account to other social media networks. Instagram users can follow public accounts without waiting for approval and the Explore function means people can search for photos from outside the accounts they follow.

These features have helped Instagram has experienced massive growth, with monthly active users jumping from 100 million in 2013 to 700 million in 2017.

Snapchat has also become increasingly more popular. Since it launched in 2011, its following in Australia has grown to 4 million active users. Like Instagram, Snapchat lets users share photos with groups or as direct messages. Unlike Instagram, these photos disappear after 10 seconds.

But Snapchat also has the “Our Story” and “My Story” functions to let users share videos for up to 24 hours. The new “Memories” feature also lets users save photos so that they can later be compiled in montages.

So, on the surface, Instagram and Snapchat are both essentially photo-sharing services. But the interface, audience and platform strengths are very different.

Let’s take a closer look.

Pros of Instagram

There are many advantages of Instagram, particularly when it comes to advertising. Firstly, Snapchat has a much wider reach. In 2016, Instagram was the second-most popular social media site after Facebook in Australia. According to Business Insider, Instagram reaches 35.58 per cent of all internet users. This combined with the mass reach of Facebook makes Instagram a powerful social media marketing tool.

Instagram also has a much more developed advertising ecosystem than Instagram. You don’t need an Instagram account to advertise. Instead your business can use Facebook business manager to automatically display ads across Facebook products including Instagram.

Instagram is also a good place to find social media influencers. Depending on your social media strategy, this may be an important factor.

Another point to consider is that Instagram reaches a slightly older demographic. In Australia, 48 percent of Instagram users are between 25 and 44 years of age, according to May statistics from NapoleonCat.

Pros of Snapchat

In social media marketing, Snapchat is known for its reach with the millennial market. In Australia, 31 percent of Snapchat users are between 18 and 24 and 28 per cent are between 25 and 34 years of age.

The platform is also making considerable ground in the Australian market. Partnering with outlets like news.com.au and featuring live stories of music events like the ARIA Awards and Splendour in the Grass festival have helped expand Snapchat’s reach.

The other benefit is that Snapchat users spend more time on the platform than Instagram users. According to Business Insider, the average Snapchat user spends half an hour a day on the app – double the 15 minutes spent by the average Instagram user.

The type of activity is also different. The Business Insider study found 60 per cent of users create content while Instagram users mostly browse.

Importantly too, Snapchat ads can link directly to downloads and sales opportunities, helping you convert leads into sales.

Type of advertising

When it comes to social media marketing, there are also differences in the type of ads that work well on Instagram and Snapchat.

Instagram for example, lends itself to visually-appealing product-based ads, or behind the scene videos.

Snapchat, on the other hand, is a space for brands to be more quirky and playful. Brands with a strong personality are likely to benefit more from the Snapchat platform.

Smaller business can also benefit from Snapchat’s geofilters. These are location-specific stickers that can be placed at the bottom of snaps. As a business you can create your own geofilter and use it to build brand awareness.

Snapchat vs. Instagram at a glance

Here is a quick overview of the pros and cons of each platform. If you would like more information, contact one of our social media experts.

Snapchat

Instagram

Popular with millennials

Larger overall reach

Users spend more time on platform

Users can share content on other social media sites

Geofilters useful for small businesses

Popular with social media influencers

Good tool for quirky, original content

Useful for visually-appealing products

Looking to find out more about social media marketing? Speak with a social media specialist in Melbourne about your business goals.