Instagram Takes on Snapchat

By Emma Fitzpatrick  

Snapchat has long been the talk of the tech and social world. It’s been the fastest growing social app for two years running, and in 2016, its U.S. user base is expected to grow 27%, according to eMarketer research.

Plus, Snapchat is the favorite social platform of teens and millennials, the ever-coveted demographic. Seven out of ten Snapchat users are millennials, according to the latest eMarketer data. That’s no small feat, considering the platform has more than 150 million daily active users.

Recently, a Business Insider survey found that 28% of teens also said Snapchat was their most important social platform. Instagram came in a close second, behind by one percentage point.



Don’t count Instagram out.

Instagram is hoping to reclaim its top spot with its latest feature–Instagram Stories. Instagram’s newest addition rolled out in early August and is seen by many as a direct competitor to Snapchat.

Read on to learn the basics about Instagram Stories. Find out how these changes may affect your Snapchat marketing plan. And learn how to upload your first Instagram story.

What is it?                                                       

On Instagram Stories, you can share images and 10-second videos that disappear 24 hours later. The raw, unedited images are often overlaid with text or doodles. Sound familiar?

Instagram’s latest feature looks and functions almost exactly like Snapchat. That’s no mistake, either. Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, agreed in a TechCrunch article. “Totally. They [Snapchat] deserve all the credit,” Systrom said.

Back in 2013, Instagram tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion in cash, but Snapchat turned them down. Since then, Instagram has debuted two competitors to Snapchat, Poke and Slingshot. Both of which were total flops. This time around, though, Instagram Stories is catching on.

At the top of your Instagram feed, you’ll find stories from those you follow. Or, you can view stories of anyone with a public account by going to their profile.

If there’s a colorful ring around their icon, there’s a story for you to watch. Simply click, and the story begins playing without sound. Turn up the volume to activate the audio.

Will Instagram Stories replace Snapchat?

 After Instagram Stories launched, the biggest question was, “Will this replace Snapchat?” So far, the answer appears to be no.

The data below charts the daily amount of time spent on Instagram versus Snapchat one week after Instagram Stories launched. There was not much of an impact, though the data released at this point is limited, and the long-term effect remains to be seen.

The platforms do have largely different audiences. Diehard Snapchat users, who primarily use the app to message friends, will likely continue to use Snapchat. Instead of directly competing with Snapchat, Instagram Stories appear to be reaching a different population, many of whom have no ties with Snapchat.

For bank marketers, it’s important to know that Instagram Stories can help you reach a much larger audience. The network already has 500 million total users and 300 million daily active users, which is more than double Snapchat’s user base.

As a result, your stories will likely do better than your snaps. For example, Nike saw their first post on Instagram Stories perform 12 times better than their best Snapchat video. Their first Instagram story got over 800,000 views while their best Snapchat only got 66,000 views.

Despite the draw to switch to Instagram Stories, be wary of abandoning your Snapchat audience. Your best bet is to continue to post there. Then, you can upload the same content to Instagram Stories. Of course, test this along with alternatives to see what works best for your bank.

How can I post a story on Instagram Stories?

Uploading your first Instagram story is as easy as can be. Follow these steps, and you’ll be a pro in no time.


    1. Click the circle with a plus at the top left of your app, or swipe left.
    2. Tap the circle at the bottom of the screen to snap a picture. Or hold the circle for up to 10 seconds to capture a video.
    3. If you’d rather, you can upload images and videos from your phone by swiping down.
    4. Tap the letter icon to add text, or tap the marker icon to draw. Don’t like your edit? Click undo.
    5. Ready? Click the checkmark to share your story! If you want to save the media to your device, click the download icon. 

Emma Fitzpatrick is a Philly-based freelance writer and marketer, whose specialties include content marketing, social marketing and short, snappy writing. Pick her brain at [email protected]

Online training in digital, mobile and social media from ABA.