If you’re a bit on the older side (like me) you might feel like all the cool kids are on Snapchat. They’re foregoing Instagram, particularly in its post-acquisition by Facebook era. However, businesses and marketers disagree.
According to Whit Walker, a category manager at Fiverr who specializes in social media, there are a number of reasons why Instagram is preferred over Snapchat in this particular market. For starters: “The mass adoption of the two platforms is entirely different, and so are the audiences,” he says.
Millennials, a huge demographic, know that it’s relatively easier to connect with both their parents and younger Generation Z siblings on Instagram. However, Snapchat has been struggling with attracting baby boomers and Generation Y, says Walker.
Looking at the sheer size of the platforms, it’s easy to see that Instagram is in the lead. The platform boasts more than double the Snapchat user base on a daily basis with over 400 million users compared to Snapchat’s 150 million. Here’s more on why Instagram is preferred by marketers at this time.
A tale of two platforms.
Social media is still a vital part of almost any businesses’ marketing plan. From 2016 to 2017, there was 255 percent growth. Clearly, social media is highly valuable to companies and popular to consumers, but when it comes to using Snapchat or Instagram, the nature of each platform is a key concern.
“Instagram is permanent and concrete while also being more discoverable,” Walker says. He stresses the importance of hashtags on the service, which make “it easier for brands to grow a following, find their niche, discover influencers,” and so on.
Then there’s Snapchat, which tends to be more temporary. People don’t find it as easy to “discover” on this platform, which can be an immense barricade for businesses. According to Fiverr, people search Instagram 12 times more than Snapchat in that company’s marketplace.
Walker says this isn’t shocking. He points out that Instagram’s structure makes it organically “service-oriented.” For example, “anyone can advertise on Instagram for $10 or less and target people within a certain niche or demographic.”
It’s a user-friendly, and very affordable, “Ad-words” model that’s popular on a number of social media platforms. For marketers, it’s been an effective way to gain discovery and build a following. Snapchat also offers advertising, but for now it’s earmarked just for major brands with deep pockets such as CondeNast, NBC and Hearst.
Instagram’s innate permanent nature gives it the marketing advantage over Snapchat’s ephemeral nature—although that exact attribute is what makes Snapchat so attractive particularly to younger audiences.
Different advantages with either service.
Instagram remains the steady preference for both small businesses and entrepreneurs, those who need and thrive on accessible and affordable advertising. With a tight budget, there’s no way such businesses are going to have the funds for a Snapchat-level ads. They’re after a reasonable ROI along with engagement, share-ability, measure-ability, and getting discovered. For now, that’s what Instagram provides.
On Fiverr, there are six times more Instagram services than Snapchat services. This is just a reflection of the demand. On both mobile platforms, the kinds of services being tapped vary slightly. On Snapchat, the primary services sold are going to custom geo-filters for events.
“You can imagine how these appeal to a much smaller niche of businesses for very specific ‘moment in time’ use cases,” says Walker.
With Instagram, the services are much more varied. There are account management services such as post scheduling and follower engagement, marketing strategy services including advising and hashtag recommendations, along with photo editing, budgeting and content creation. There’s a myriad of potential sub-services, such as advising on which influencers to engage with and audience targeting for ads.
Diverging user base trajectories.
Perhaps the biggest story around these services is related to the launching of Instagram Stories last year. The feature, which is more or less an exact replica of Snapchat Stories, dramatically impacted Snap’s user growth. In the period of time after Instagram launched the feature, Snapchat growth slowed 82 percent.
A Delmondo survey found a 40 percent decrease in unique viewers when analyzing over 21,000 Snapchat Stories from July to November 2016. This was the window of time right before Instagram Stories were released. Now that Snapchat is opening up ads to smaller businesses, that might help boost revenues and users, but of course only time will tell.
Meanwhile, Instagram shows no signs of slowing. 2017 is projected by eMarketer to be the year when over half of all social media users will be on Instagram.
Forrester Research reports that Instagram brand engagement is currently 10 times higher than Facebook's, and a whopping 84 times higher than Twitter's. Snapchat, as you may imagine, didn’t even make it the comparison list. Does this mean your business should avoid Snapchat? No, not when the company is about to release small business ads, and not if it’s been favorable to you so far. However, it does suggest that if you’re not nurturing your Instagram account, you may want to make that a priority.