Snapchat or Instagram to help your business grow?

Image result for snapchat 2018 update before and after

I was a chronic Snapchat user for the longest time until the company made the awful (subjective) update to the app back in 2018 that changed the way users viewed their friends’ stories and discovered new content. I totally get that they wanted to improve the design and make it easier for users, but there was a lot of hate and backlash, and to be honest I was one of those people. I solely used Snapchat to post stories while Instagram was used to just post pictures, but after this update, I went straight to Instagram stories and never looked back.

To this day, I am surprised that I still have Snapchat. Maybe the only reason is the fact that I like to use all the silly filters to make the kids in my family laugh every now and then.

Why does it matter that I stopped using Snapchat? Well I don’t think me myself and I moving stopping matters that much, but when you consider the fact that the company dropped from 191 daily active users to 188 million in 3 months since the redesign, you have to wonder whether the company is doing what’s best for themselves, or what’s best for their users.

Part of my job as a customer success manager at HubSpot is to strategize clients on how best garner attention to their product or service – one of the biggest components of that is leveraging social media to attract leads. But which is the better option when it comes to a photo and video sharing platform, Snapchat or Instagram? Instagram as of 9/2018 has 400 million daily active Stories users. Compared to Snapchat’s current 186 million daily active users, Instagram is clearly the more popular platform in terms of usage but this shouldn’t be the only factor that companies look at when deciding which of they two they should leverage.

One other thing to consider is your target audience (including user demographic) to determine which platform will have the best likelihood of reaching out to them. Another is the direction the company takes in terms of application development. Is Instagram or Snapchat releasing updates to actually improve the overall user experience, or are they not open to public opinion and stick with updates that are more catered to their agendas. If your target audience happens to be people outside of the U.S., Instagram may be a good fit because 80% live outside of the U.S. But if you are looking to target people that are under 25, who use this type of social media platform for almost an hour a day, Snapchat is your winner.

Let’s chat for a quick second about the perspective companies’ ad revenue. As we think about how important it is for companies to budget for their marketing spend, ads is a huge component that help to drive users towards a particular platform.

Worldwide advertising revenue of Snapchat from 2015 to 2019 (in million U.S. dollars)

Worldwide mobile internet advertising revenue of Instagram from 2015 to 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars)

With the projected 2.72 Billion U.S. dollars in ad revenue, marketers at companies may see that as a positive given that it most likely is a direct result from more users leaning towards Snapchat for advertisements. Regardless the marketer cannot base their decision which platform to advertise on solely on the lower price if that platform does not cater to the target audience.

There are ultimately, so many factors that go into making this decision, and depending on the company and its decision makers, certain factors will or will not matter. Now that Facebook owns Instagram, the integrations between the two allow post stories with the click of a button, whereas before one would have to download the video and upload it to the other platform. For me, that is a positive because I do tend to have family members that would never use Instagram and I’d like to have the ability to share my stories with them even if I post through Instagram. In addition, the design on Instagram is far superior in my eyes than Snapchat. Have you ever been in a situation where a random person adds you on Snapchat and you have no way of telling who that person is? I’m sure we’ve all been there, however, I’ve never had that problem of guessing who they are on Instagram. If a fake account adds me, one click into their profile and I know and can ignore. Either way the ability to see and explore before approving or denying someone’s request is a big plus over Snapchat. Being Facebook backed will of course give Instagram its advantages and disadvantages.

We have to remember though, that choosing either Snapchat or Instagram is only a supplement for social media in the overall marketing plan. No business is going to rely just on social posts (paid or not) on a regular basis to make money.

Knowing some stats listed earlier in this blog, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you had a business, would you choose Snapchat or Instagram to help with your marketing efforts? Why? Feel free to comment below or take this POLL! Until next time,


  1. dilillomelissa · ·

    I agree that Instagram comes across as a sleeker and overall more superior design than Snapchat. I still use both on almost a daily basis, but I have my stipulations for when to use which one. If I’m looking to send pictures just to be silly or want to the ease of sending to one person or a specific group of friends, I’ll use Snapchat. I see Snapchat as more informal and less sophisticated. If I’m posting a picture or story to Instagram, I want it to be something of higher importance to me. I feel that more people are going to be viewing it and I want to keep a certain standard on this form of social media. If I owned my own personal business at this point in time, I’d be using Instagram. I find that it’s easy to use and more professional in general. The features of being able to tag location is also a major benefit to me. Most of my family members in an older generation have never used Snapchat, but I actually have many on Instagram. I think it appeals to the masses.

  2. I think instagram has more legs long term. Once Snapchat declined Facebook’s and Googles buyout offers, they became a competitor. Snap just didn’t have the resources to compete with the big boys. I think they could become a niche player like Twitter, but won’t ever compete at that level. Thus, if I were a business, I’d go to Instagram.

  3. If I were a business owner I would much rather use Instagram. I agree with you that Instragram has a far better UX. I think part of the reason I would choose Instra is due to the amount of profiles and personalities that have gain popularity on this platform simply by posting pictures and interacting with followers. You have the opportunity to have built in brand ambassadors and they don’t always have to be billionaire celebs. I also think the way in which the platform has upgraded marketing is awesome to see. I follow some clothing brands that will post pictures and then have little circle hyperlinks that tell you price and the URL to purchase, I have fallen for a few. The only downfall of instragram was their recent update in swiping that they made a few montha back, this only lasted hours, but a remember it making lots of headlines.

  4. If I had to choose between the two, I would definitely choose Instagram. I think Insta has a much broader audience demographically versus Snapchat. It’s a lot cleaner and has the ability to come across as more sophisticated. Plus, I think its integration with Facebook (and WhatsApp and whatever else Facebook decides to buy) gives it more flexibility to expand in the future. I think Snapchat is useful for more playful ads and brands that want to connect with younger users.

  5. After reading up on Instagram influencers and helping my brother launch his own Instagram business profile this past week, I would have to say that I too lean towards Instagram marketing over Snapchat. I think that Instagram offers more channels for businesses to engage with their customers, the most important of which I believe is the profile wall with all the businesses posts over time. Frankly, I was astonished at the growth and attention my brother’s business profile got. In 24 hours he gained over 600 followers! How? By using hashtags and engaging with his target demographic on other similar pages and their personal posts. Purely as a result of this experience, I think Instagram has more potential for businesses to drive organic growth rather than using paid advertisements. From the business side, this also means that you don’t always have to be a content generating machine, pushing out new stories everyday, but can also fall back on your historical posts to engage potential customers saving business both significant money and the FOMO on potential new customers.

  6. shelbytietel · ·

    I work remotely for a company in Minneapolis and have been managing all of their social media accounts for about 8 months now. Putting high quality content into a Snapchat ad is very difficult to do and at the end of the day, Instagram’s integration with Facebook gives them a huge advantage. Promoting a post on Facebook is as easy as choosing a target market (for which Facebook will provide the targeted data) and inputing a credit card. Want to promote on Instagram as well? Just turn on the push to Instagram feature and without additional payment the same photo and caption will be automatically placed on Instagram. There is no beating the ease and huge data bank of the Facebook/Instagram powerhouse.

  7. MiriamPBourke · ·

    This was a great analysis on the two as marketing platforms. I really did not know that over 80% of users on Instagram are outside the US!

    Here’s my take on the two. If I was going for paid advertising I would firstly want to know what the aim of the campaign is. If it were just awareness then I would certainly be looking a demographics of my target audience and going to the platform that they’re on. If I wanted actual purchases / clicks / site views etc. I would more than likely choose Instagram. One of the main reasons I would do this is the UI – If someone does like the content of my sponsored post then they can easily access my profile which contains links to my website etc. I have much more control over my brand and what I am portraying to my customers.

    All of that being said, I wouldn’t dismiss the power of organic social media campaigns as opposed to sponsored ones. Creating a personality for your brand, one that people could and would want to follow on a variety of different social media platforms, can be a really effective form of marketing.

  8. taylorfq6 · ·

    I do not have a large social media presence, but I do still use both Instagram and Snapchat from time to time. However, Snapchat is reserved for sending updates to groups of friends – I have completely transitioned to Instagram for any stories I post, and this app is where I spend the majority of my screen time. Beyond this, Instagram just appears much more visually appealing and I am much more likely to take an extra second to look at an advertisement here compared to Snapchat. Based on my own experiences and interactions with advertisements on both platforms, I believe Instagram is the superior option when deciding where to spend your marketing budget.

  9. Instagram seems to be the upward trending social media in terms of business. In my eyes, Snapchat seems to be a funny and causal messaging app, but I do not see the viability of spending big marketing bucks on Snapchat. This money I see better invested in Instagram where you can build a brand image through a profile and targeted marketing posts.

    Just as an example, Oreo has a great company instagram that promotes their brand in a fun and sleek way:

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