Who said that using social media for business was going to be easy? Some of us were starting to get used to the idea of using Snapchat for business and branding. Then Instagram roll up and unexpectedly launch their stories platform to the world, one which nobody saw coming and now I am about to potentially roll another curve ball your way. So where should your content be now?
Some, like myself, would argue ‘why not have both?’ and I think that both platforms do bring value and both will be important. However, it makes zero sense creating the exact same content on both platforms as they are different audiences and naturally one may have to take priority over the other.
As you may have seen in my blog post last Friday, we are changing the approach to Instagram and Snapchat.
It is very much a case of while Snapchat remains important, Instagram has the larger potential for growth, reach and user attention. I have seen a lot of brands move their stories from Snapchat to Instagram over the past number of weeks but they cite reasons such as racist Snapchat filters not aligning with company values or experimentation with new platforms.
So I won’t tip toe around the reasons here, I am moving more towards Instagram stories simply because the reach and potential for growth is much higher.
It is almost a case of Snapchat did it first but Instagram may have done it better.
A much larger and more diverse audience
When released in 2013, Snapchat stories was completely new. There was nothing like it on the market but Snapchat left it virtually unchanged. Where Snapchat did have an edge and still do have an edge is the ability to change and add new features quickly on the fly.
Instagram stories is exactly what Snapchat needed to do themselves, a more refined and polished product which caters to a more diverse group. While Snapchat won a generation of teens, they then made no effort to pull other age groups into the platform.
The demographic has changed on Snapchat slowly because that is what happens when a platform wins over a generation of teens, everyone else gets pulled down into it with them over time. Snapchat didn’t make any effort to go out and appeal to that new audience though, instead the people came to them.
Instagram is far more diverse in both age and in the split of male and female users. Instagram also has a far superior reach at the moment, 20% of internet users are on Instagram. It has 500 million monthly active users and 300 million are daily active users.
While Snapchat has had a meteoric rise and continues to grow, they currently have just over 100 million daily users.
Instagram stories can handle the basics and more
Instagram clearly needs to develop and grow their story platform. This will no doubt be just the start and there are things on Snapchat you can’t get on Instagram such as geo-filters and a massive range of stickers as well as native bitmoji integration.
Instagram does have an advantage in that it has both the feed and the story platform. Snapchat dooms all content to a 24 hour shelf life and that of course has its downsides to it.
Instagram stories have the same 24 hour shelf life but there is also the permanent feed where content lives well after 24 hours. That gives marketers a chance to use targeting to specific audiences. If a story has success on Instagram then marketers can save it and upload to the main Instagram feed where it will continue to live.
By having both stories and a permanent feed with high quality photos, Snapchat really is giving you the best of both worlds, something which Snapchat does not currently provide.
Instagram stories carries all the basics that Snapchat does from photo to video, some filters and the ability to add text or doodle over an image. I am confident that Instagram will build on this functionality over time and may start incorporating geo-filters of their own in the future.
Instagram will appeal to a lot more people simply because they know it
There has been a lot of skeptical looks since I started talking about Snapchat early this year as a business and marketing tool. Snapchat’s biggest problem right now is not what Instagram is doing, their biggest problem is themselves.
When Snapchat was new, it was exploited at first by teens to send sexually charged messages to each other. That is the simple facts and Snapchat had to work on ironing out the creases.
Parents, teachers and so on may not be able to understand a youth-centric Snapchat but they will more than likely be able to navigate Instagram. The appeal is larger simply because the audience is bigger and more diverse and if you, as a digital marketer or whatever you like to call yourself, don’t recognise that and do something about it then you have a problem.
Snapchat is not dead, you can have and use both
Instagram is not going to kill Snapchat, at least not right now or anytime soon. Both platforms have benefits and both platforms have great potential. The best bet right now is to dip your toe into both of them and see what gives you better results.
You should go where the user attention is, always. If you don’t move with user attention then eventually you will get left behind. For me, taking a new approach is something I am looking forward to.
There will be blog story content on the Mark Dalton Media Instagram and then personal content on my own Instagram and Snapchat. It simply makes more sense and the data backs up the decision. If you are hardcore Snapchat now, you don’t need to abandon it completely, in fact I wouldn’t recommend doing that at all but you should be looking at how valuable Instagram could be for you alongside Snapchat.
I have no time for all this!
I never buy this excuse from anyone, ever. Yes, it is hard work, yes it is going to be a lot of effort but believe me, you have time. We all have more time, watch less Netflix.