Why Brands and Influencers Are Leaving Snapchat for Instagram Stories

Why Brands and Influencers Are Leaving Snapchat for Instagram Stories

If you’ve been following the HubSpot Marketing Blog, you already know there’s a battle going on -- between Facebook and Snapchat over the disappearing message. Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories In essence, both apps and features function in the same way: On both platforms, users and brands can post photos and videos that are viewable for 24 hours. Both apps let users search through public stories, and see what other users and brands are sharing about. Instagram Stories creators had instant access to their audiences on the platform when they started posting ephemeral messages, and it caught on quickly -- over 200 million Instagram users are posting Stories. It also means Instagram ads can be targeted and curated based on users' data on Instagram, and on Facebook. Snapchat has only just launched a self-serve ad platform in May 2017, making it easier for advertisers to purchase and create ad space on the platform, so we can't say for certain which offers a better user experience for brands. Social media helps drive brand awareness on its own, and Instagram Stories also added the ability for brands to link to web pages -- making it undeniably easier for audiences to find and interact with brands on their sites, too. Marissa Emanuele manages social media at Pegasystems, and she's switched from Snapchat to Instagram Stories for these reasons. Snapchat created a search bar and universal Stories to help users find new content and accounts to follow, and Instagram rolled out Location and Hashtag Stories to do the same -- with a key difference. Social media influencer Erica Moss switched to Instagram because she got a better user experience there: While Snapchat was busy pretending to be exclusive and untouchable, Instagram leveled up on its broad appeal and user-friendliness to replicate — and improve — the ephemeral photo and video experience.

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If you’ve been following the HubSpot Marketing Blog, you already know there’s a battle going on — between Facebook and Snapchat over the disappearing message.

And so far, Facebook’s winning the battle — all because of Instagram.

When Instagram Stories launched in August 2016, Snapchat had already been the first mover in the ephemeral, or disappearing, messaging space since Snapchat Stories were created in 2013. Fast forward to Snapchat’s March 2017 initial public offering (IPO), and Snapchat user growth had slowed significantly — and Instagram Stories’ user growth was rapid and nonstop in the meantime (to date, there are roughly 40 million more Instagram Stories users than Snapchat users).

Today, Snapchat faces an uphill battle: Instagram has more users in total, and more Instagram Story users alone. Plus, Instagram and Snapchat are now competing to roll out new features — and to copy features from each other. In the last month alone, both apps rolled out features that were original, and some that were inspired by the other app.

Snapchat started the disappearing messaging wave, but it doesn’t mean brands are staying exclusive. In fact, a lot of brands have already talked and written about decisions to prioritize Instagram Stories over Snapchat for ephemeral messaging and advertising.

In this post, we’ll dive into brands and marketers making the switch — and the reasons why.

Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories

In essence, both apps and features function in the same way:

  • On both platforms, users and brands can post photos and videos that are viewable for 24 hours.
  • Videos can be up to 10 seconds in length.
  • Photos and videos can be embellished with doodles, emojis, geotags, lenses, and text.
  • Media is visible to the public, unless you make your Instagram or Snapchat account private.
  • Both apps let users search through public stories, and see what other users and brands are sharing about.

But there are a few differences worth pointing out, too:

  • It’s slightly easier to search for and discover new users on Instagram than on Snapchat, where you have to spell out the exact username.
  • Instagram allows brands to attach to links and landing pages to their Stories.
  • Instagram permits clickable hashtags and geotags to be added to Stories — on Snapchat, they’re manually searchable.
  • Instagram Stories are an addition to an existing photo and video-sharing platform — Snapchat is only about ephemeral content-sharing.

As we’ve mentioned, Instagram Stories alone have more users than Snapchat, and some brands are starting to move their ephemeral messaging strategies away from Snapchat to reside primarily or completely on Instagram Stories.

6 Reasons Users Are Switching to Instagram Stories

1) Greater Scale

The simple fact that Instagram has such a big user base — 700 million and counting, to be exact — automatically made it a formidable Snapchat competitor. Instagram Stories creators had instant access to their audiences on the platform when they started posting ephemeral messages, and it caught on quickly — over 200 million Instagram users are posting Stories.

When compared to Snapchat, where brands had to create new followings from scratch, Instagram offers some brands greater reach and scale to connect with people on social media.

That’s what Ben and Jerry’s found out when it started creating content on Instagram Stories. The brand’s senior global marketing manager, Jay Curley, told Digiday about the success it had seen in achieving better results at a greater scale on the platform. He said ads on Instagram Stories were particularly successful and achieved a “higher CPM (cost per impression) rate than usual.” In general, Curley told Digiday, the brand’s large number of Instagram followers were already engaging and interacting with Instagram Stories, so they’d continue creating content there to “serve up relevant stories to [their] fans wherever they are.”

2) Better Targeting

Instagram is part of the Facebook ecosystem, which means its content and ad targeting capabilities are part of Facebook’s platform — which is robust,…

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