Snapchat vs. Instagram stories: Instagram speeds ahead while Snapchat can’t decide

By: Grieta King
Social media stories on Instagram and Snapchat offer opportunities to connect and get to know peers on a deeper level, without actually having to interact with them directly. This happens to be very popular among younger audiences. It also offers the opportunity for individuals to experience a new view on a public figure, a closer look at the life of a celebrity, or in-depth, behind the scenes details on a brand one is interested in. The story feature has knocked down a barrier by allowing more content to be shared and viewed than ever before. Snapchat created the story feature in October 2013. Instagram released its version in the summer of 2016, with Facebook following later in March 2017.

People check Snapchat; they go to Instagram
The frequency of sending and receiving snaps has died off in the last year, while Instagram stories have grown in prevalence since their release. This lies behind the amount of users already on Instagram, due to the flow and logicality of the app. Instagram is appealing for all audiences. Users under 25 spend an average of more than 32 minutes a day on Instagram, while users over 25 spend an average of more than 24 minutes a day. The story feature will increase the time spent on the app. Snapchat already popularizing the tool made the transition to stories easy for Instagram. Posting and interacting through stories has turned into a way of communication that is far from finished.

Photo Credit: Recode

Instagram has been the same, Snapchat still can’t decide
Since the release of the story feature in 2016, Instagram stories have looked about the same. Snapchat, however, still can’t seem to decide. The recent update hasn’t received positive feedback, and many people have spoken out, urging the company to revert the change. 83% of reviews were negative, receiving one or two stars.  Although Snapchat created and coined the story feature, changing around their layout and angering their visitors is not a good way to maintain high rankings. In fact, it’s a detrimental move during a time when other social media platforms are taking their stab at the story installation. A tweet from Kylie Jenner announced the death of Snapchat last month, showing how the app has decreased in popularity dramatically.

Photo: Business Insider

Snapchat isn’t completely gone yet, and I think that loyal users will remain on the app for the time being. But that doesn’t mask the numbers: 100 million more people are using the story feature on Instagram over Snapchat. For the majority, the act of posting a story now happens on Instagram, probably shortly after scrolling through your feed. Instagram has taken over stories in popularity and usage because people love convenience. By adding the story feature, Instagram combined the fun aspect of Snapchat as additional part of the more enticing layout of Instagram. Instagram is keeping right up with the trends and changes, but Snapchat will need a comeback soon. 

Twitter: @GrietaKing
Instagram: @GrietaKing

This Article Has 19 Comments
  1. Audrey Marlatt says:

    This is such an interesting and hot topic right now so I’m so glad you brought this up and showed some analytics behind it. I actually remember when Instagram started doing stories and couldn’t understand why they were trying to be like Snapchat and figured that “stories” were going to fail miserably. Well, that didn’t happen! I honestly use stories more than putting something on my Snapchat story any day because there are better filters, lettering, and more. I think Snapchat will stay around for a while because even though it may have been declining in retrospect to Instagram, it still has a lot of users of all ages.

  2. Kelsey Scott says:

    Great post, Grieta! I love your point that people “check” Snapchat, but they go to Instagram. I can relate to this a lot. I spend a significant amount of time scrolling through my Instagram feed daily, as well as scanning my explore page. I don’t think I have ever spent more than 5 minutes at a time on Snapchat, which really proves your point that the application is one that you typically check briefly. There is a ton of versatility behind Instagram and its features, and it has made it story-style seemingly more permanent by allowing users to promote stories on their page after the day they originally post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Kelsey Fagan says:

    I’ve always been “behind the times” with social media in some ways and story features definitely solidify that for me. I rarely use Snapchat story and have yet to use Instagram or Facebook’s story feature. I was also very confused as to why Instagram and Facebook launched these additions, but they both have become hits for most users. I agree that Snapchat is “checked” and you go to Instagram. I find myself constantly going on Snapchat to just respond and keep my streaks, but I genuinely enjoy spending time on my Instagram feed. Great post!

  4. Kenden Blake says:

    This is a really interesting and timely post! I remember thinking when Instagram first implemented their story feature that it would never catch up to Snapchat, and now with some of the missteps Snap has made, I can’t see Snapchat ever re-gaining the lead on Instagram now. Definitely agree that Instagram is a “stickier” app with users staying on the platform much longer although Snap is trying to do more to get users to stay with short form content on the discover page. It will be interesting to watch how they evolve in the near future.

  5. Emily Soury says:

    I think this post is so relevant right now! I have definitely seen myself making the switch from using snapchat more often to using Instagram more consistently. The amount of users have begun to utilize the “story” feature on Instagram seems to have grown so rapidly in the past months, especially with the downfall of snapchat (most likely because of the terrible update). Instagram is also doing a great job with adding new features to the “story” fairly often, such as the “highlights” and new fonts, which seems to be keeping users pleased. Great job!

  6. Celine De Clercq says:

    I agree with Audrey – I was really surprised when Instagram added stories, and I had the same, ‘that’s silly’ reaction. However, I’ve been amazed at how it’s taken off. I will say though that I find the Instagram stories a bit more exhausting than how easy it was (pre-update) to check certain snap stories and not others. However, I also agree with your points about the update in this article. It really has been such a detriment, and I feel like it’s caused me to not enjoy Snapchat anymore when I do use it. I wonder if they’ll fix it….
    Great post!

  7. Jordyn Volk says:

    I’m so glad someone chose this as a blog topic. When Instagram Stories came out, I ridiculed them for being a copy of Snapchat and vowed to never use them. Now, I post frequently on my Instagram and my Snapchat has become old and dusty, only sending individual snaps to friends. I think what has drawn me and many others to Instagram Stories is the ability to be creative and use new tools to add to your photos and videos. As of right now, I don’t see myself going back to Snapchat anytime soon.

  8. Sophia Meyer says:

    I am one of the 83% of people that raved about how bad the new SnapChat update was, so this post was of special interest to me. I was against Instagram stories when they first came out, because I enjoyed the simplicity of Instagram and it strictly being a feed of single photos posted by users you follow. However, I quickly warmed up to it andI have found myself posting more frequently on Instagram stories, rather than Snapchat. I believe Snapchat’s motivation for the update was strictly monetary, because the update allowed celebrities, news, and brands to have their very own page separate from everything else, whereas before the update they were sprinkled into the page of your friends’ stories. They made a lot of money off of the update, and did not consider how it would affect their user. It has been a while since the update came out and I still have not gotten used to it; it is not user friendly, and I dislike how stories are mixed in with your current conversations and how messy it appears. I noticed my viewership of my own stories went down as well because of the update. I wonder if Snapchat will completely disintegrate if Instagram implements similar features such as streaks and adds more filters, etc. I am interested to see how the chart you shared continues to change and how far Instagram will outgrow Snapchat.

  9. Brian Willison says:

    Great post! I totally agree with your point that people check snapchat, but they go to Instagram. I can relate to this as I have been using Instagram as a place for my photography and spend more time trying to increase my reach as a photographer. I spend more time on Instagram looking at other photographer’s profiles, liking photos, and just scrolling through my feed. As for snapchat I might spend 5 to 10 minutes a day checking it and catching up with what I have missed. Instagram is more versatile with its features promoting their stories and original content.

  10. Morgan Wilkes says:

    Great post Grieta! This is such an important topic right now, especially with the backlash from the Snapchat updat and Snap’s recent struggles with things like the Snap Spectacles being out of price range for their target demographic. One thing I think that is engaging more and more people with the Instagram story, at least what I’ve noticed in discussion among friends, is the mystery behind the non-chronological algorithm. Also, with Instagram, there is more person to person interaction that does not rely on one person directly reaching out to another. With Snapchat for their to be a notification, it has to be a direct communication with a person, but for Instagram a direct message can suck you in initially but then there are celebrity and friend posts alike you have the ability to publicly engage with, a feature Snapchat doesn’t really have.

  11. Sierra Goodman says:

    It’s interesting and shocking to look at just how much Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have changed in just 5 years. I definitely feel like Snapchat is “old” and Instagram has taken over in regards to posting stories and it is much easier to watch celebrity, brand and friends. With so much content available on Instagram compared to Snapchat it makes sense that users spend a lot more time on Instagram instead.

  12. Josh Hoffman says:

    This is a very interesting post to read, because Apps such as Snapchat and Instagram have blown up over the past few years, yet they’re constantly going through updates. It is scary to see how a mistake as small as combining the stories and recents pages all into one page can have such a negative effect on the usage of the application.

  13. Love this blog post! I am definitely one of those users that spend more than 32 minutes a day on Instagram. Before the Snapchat update came out I was all for Snapchat. But now I find myself posting more on my Instagram story than anything else. Snapchat for me is something to check when there is nothing else to do. Fingers crossed that Snapchat goes back to their old format!

  14. Taylin Minnaert says:

    Grieta, I’m so glad you chose to write about this topic! As you said, it has been a hot debate as of late and I think Snapchat’s recent update is the final nail in the coffin. I believe Snapchat will still be around for awhile because people still enjoy using it as a form of communication, but I do believe this is the beginning of the end for the app. I love that you included the graph to accompany your post, it’s so interesting to see what we all knew was true put into numbers! With Instagram stories gaining popularity, I’m interested to see if the general public will begin using Facebook stories as well. Thank you for discussing your thoughts on such a prevalent topic!

  15. Jeanne Schneider says:

    I’m glad you brought this up! It feels like an important topic to discuss. I was never a fan of Snapchat and, as a marketer, would get frustrated when clients wanted to use it because tracking success of Snapchat activations is incredibly difficult…which is why I really love instagram stories. There are so many other features for companies to use, track and collect data from their followers. Also, I had a hard enough time trying to figure out the old snapchat, the new one is terrible!

  16. Lola Butcher says:

    This has been such a relevant topic in today’s society for so long! I remember when Instagram came out with their “story” setting and it really changed the game with regards to snapchat. Your points were really valid and I really enjoyed the pictures you included that highlighted the comparison of the two. Nicely done!

  17. Marley McIntosh says:

    I actually had no idea that 100 million more are using the instagram story over snapchat and I am actually surprised by that! It has become apparent that the Instagram stories have skyrocketed since 2017 I would say. They first came out and no one really used it and basically said that Instagram was copying Snap, but they add cool features which makes it hard to not post on the insta story. This gave some good insight into the topic!

  18. Maddie Landers says:

    Speaking of Snapchat being inferior, I was reminded of how upset everyone was about the most recent update just last night! My friend and I swapped Snapchats. She hadn’t updated hers yet. While hers was easy to navigate, she couldn’t even understand mine. The frustration of that initial update, where everyone felt betrayed and like it was the last straw for Snapchat, I was reminded of. I’m surprised it has been this long and it hasn’t been switched back. People are not adjusting, we want simplicity!

  19. Kaitlin-Ann Mulligan says:

    Such a great post! This was a major topic when Snapchat’s update was released and had vast majority of users wanting to delete the app. Instagram has always remained similar with all their updates except for the initial big change of look and logo. Besides that change not much altered Instagram by adding the story feature. On the other hand Snapchat keeps changing almost everything every time I am required to update the app. This leaves the users on the edge for each update because we have generally not been a fan of all the updates and changes Snapchat has provided with being unsure of how they want to use their platform for users.

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