As the head of marketing, the chief marketing officer (CMO) might ask us if they should be using Instagram or Snapchat for their e-commerce website.

Will Snapchat or Instagram help you meet your marketing goals? Every day marketers try to find new ways to promote businesses, attract new customers, and eventually increase revenue. 

With the advent of the digital world, specialists received new tools that allowed to achieve the desired results in record time.

Today, there is no better way to connect with your audience than through social media. They have become a primary tool in marketing with Instagram and Snapchat being at the top of the game. 

These are two of the most popular applications for image and video sharing that are used by millions of people all over the world. 

Both are very different.

Demographics

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Snapchat has 190 million daily active users (DAU) for Q1 2019, but Instagram is significantly larger. As of June 2018, Instagram has reached the 1 billion monthly active user mark (TechCrunch, 2018). 

Snapchat is really for Generation Y, while Instagram outperforms Snapchat for Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and beyond. Even though Instagram has three times as many users as Snapchat, the younger demographic still prefers customizable but short-lived snaps over Instagram photos and videos.

Snapchat has 190 million daily active users (DAU) for Q1 2019. Click To Tweet

However, this is likely to change as the platforms adapt to market conditions for key age groups. I wouldn’t be surprised to find significant usage increases for either platform, but Instagram in particular, as they pivot to counter Snapchat’s new features.

The question is how to choose the right channel between them that will help to achieve your goals on time and budget?

Instagram vs. Snapchat: The Main Differentiating Factors

Instagram vs Snapchat
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While being present on all platforms might seem a great idea, you need to allocate resources wisely, stay within your budget, and get the best results possible.

The choice of social media channel should fully depend on the type of business you run. Some e-commerce companies may benefit from Instagram whereas some Snapchat may be more useful. There are also companies for which the best solution is to use both.

So, which one is for your business.? Read on to find out.

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Instagram: Important Statistics to Consider

Instagram Userbase

Instagram is slightly older than its competitor. Launched in 2010, it quickly gained popularity and became one of the top social media platforms. The past year was marked by a billion of its monthly users

The number of Instagram daily users is 500+ million. While this number is a little lower if compared to Facebook, it is the highest among other platforms. The Instagram audience is continually growing and your company can connect with all of these potential customers.

Demographics

According to research by Statista, 71% of the whole Instagram user base is under the age of 35. The app is most popular among users aged 25-34. The second largest group is users between the ages of 18 and 24.

Marketing potential

Instagram is a worthy social network to consider, whether you manage a full-fledged business or are just in the middle of ecommerce website development. It provides unique opportunities for brand and product promotion.

Almost 70% of users look up brands on Instagram. This statistic clearly shows that they are interested in what you are doing on social media and may become your customers. With 80% of users following at least one brand and with more than 200 users who visit a business profile at least once a day, the marketing capabilities of Instagram are very promising.

A report by Mention states that in the USA 71% of businesses are already utilizing Instagram in their marketing efforts.

Instagram Stories

When in 2016 Instagram launched a new feature called Stories no one suspected that it would become so popular. Almost 500 million of Instagram accounts share Stories every day. What’s more, one-third of the most popular stories are those published from business accounts.

Social Media Engagement metrics

Engagement is the reaction your content gets from followers (e.g. views, likes, and comments). It is one of the most important metrics in social media marketing and Instagram is leading here.

Interactions on Instagram are 4x times higher than on Facebook. They are fueled by the visual content-based nature of the platform. Brands and users are very creative about the way they present content to followers.

Snapchat is really for Generation Y, while Instagram outperforms Snapchat for Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and beyond. Click To Tweet

Types of Instagram ads

Instagram offers a few types of ads for marketing needs.

Photo ads can be made both in square or landscape modes. These are static images with a “Shop Now” link attached. The link can redirect users to an e-commerce website or anywhere else.

Video ads are videos of up to 60 seconds long. They also allow brands to link out to other resources.

Carousel ads is a few images or videos that are presented in the form of a carousel. Users can swipe between them and view them as one ad.

Instagram stories can also be used to advertise your brand and products. They appear in your friends’ stories in the form of a video or static image.

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Snapchat: Metrics You Need to Know

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Userbase

Snapchat falls a little short on the number of monthly and daily users. In the first quarter of 2019, this number reached 190 million of daily active users. The number of monthly users reaches 300+ million, which also represents a great opportunity for marketers.

Demographics

Snapchat is a little bit different from Instagram in terms of the user base. According to the Q1 2019 report by Shapchat Inc. in the USA, Snapchat is used by 90% of all 13-24 year-olds and 75% of 13-34 year-olds. In general, 74% of its users are under the age of 34 and 45% of all users are aged between 18 and 24.

Marketing potential

Snapchat is a platform with very active users. The most active of them open the app 25 times every day on average. It is also a very content-rich platform with 400+ million Snapchatters creating new content on a daily basis.

Snapchat itself states that 60% of all the time users watch Snap Ads, they watch them with the sound turned on. Companies invest a lot in such ads and the total spend is projected to reach $767 billion by 2020.

Stories

Stories is what makes Snapchat so special and popular. Users love this feature and statistics confirm it. The number of stories created and published on the platform every day exceeds 400 million.

Engagement metrics

Business Insider made a study to investigate the engagement level of Snapchatters and the results are quite impressive for marketers.

Almost 45% of college students said that they would open a Snap shared by a brand they didn’t know while 73% of them would open a Snap from a brand they know. It gives a unique opportunity to market products among the vast majority of active users.

Snapchat is a platform with very active users. The most active of them open the app 25 time every day on average. Click To Tweet

Types of Snapchat ads

Snapchat also offers a few ways to promote products.

Snap Ads are videos that are up to 10 seconds long. They are shown among your friends’ stories and on Discover. Snapchat allows you to add websites users can be redirected to.

Snapchat sponsored Geofilters let brands add a filer onto Snaps. When users are in a specific location, they can see geotagged filters and use them in their Snaps. Depending on types of events is an area, cheap geo-filters may not be available and only premium ones are available then.

Snapchat sponsored lenses allow users to apply various effects to their own faces. They can be targeted by age, gender, and categories of interest. The recently added World Lenses feature allows adding augmented reality elements to anything on a photo or video. Cool, isn’t it?

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How to Become Successful on Instagram or Snapchat

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Whether you plan to present your e-commerce business on Instagram or Snapchat, there are a few things you need to accomplish prior to creating any advertisements. 

Define your audience

Knowing your buyer persona is vital for successful marketing as it allows you to precisely target your potential customers with relevant content.

Know where your buyers are

You should also know what your target audience prefers, Instagram or Snapchat. If your current and potential customers are on both platforms, it might be beneficial for your e-commerce business to be present on both too.

Decide upon the type of content

Do you know what type of content your business will benefit from? Should you create photos, videos, or stories? If you don’t know exactly, it is worth trying all of the types. Many brands utilize everything at once.

Public account vs. closed community

When choosing between Instagram and Snapchat, you also need to decide what type of profile you want to have. Do you want your account to be accessible to anyone or be available for a closed community of the most loyal customers?

Instagram vs. Snapchat: Which is Better for a CMO

Is Instagram or Snapchat better for your e-commerce website? It is impossible to answer this question as it depends on the number of aspects such as your buyers’ demographics and personal preferences. 

These are two of the most beneficial social media platforms for marketers. Below you will find the main advantages that each of them can offer. As well, we’ve added a few downsides you need to be aware of.

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The Main Pros and Cons of Instagram

Instagram offers the following advantages to marketers:

  • Instagram is more mature as compared to its opponent. When you choose it, you instantly get access to billions of users. The user base is broader, thus your chances of finding people that will be interested in the products you sell are higher.
  • Instagram offers business owners to create a business account. It gives you access to Instagram Analytics, allows promoting Instagram posts as ads, adding links to Instagram Stories, and even scheduling posts to publish them later.
  • If you create ads, you can target them based on the audience you want to reach and the budget you are ready to spend.
    Shoppable posts are a great addition to your marketing toolset. By creating product posts with price, description, and the “Shop Now” option, you let users make purchases directly from the platform which increases your chances of selling products to more customers.
    Instagram allows you to create various types of content and provides you with unlimited opportunities for creativity.

Just like with any other platform, there are a few disadvantages you need to keep in mind:

  • Instagram makes its users follow strict ToS. They forbid some types of businesses to market their brands on the platform. Before creating an account, make sure that you stay within the list of allowed activities.
  • As we’ve already mentioned, the vast majority of Instagrammers are under the age of 35. If your products are targeted at other age groups, you may need to reconsider your decision of marketing products here.
  • Instagram makes it challenging to devise the best long-term marketing strategies. The platform is notorious for constantly changing algorithms. And you need to stay up-to-date regarding all and every one of them.

The Upsides and Downsides of Snapchat

Snapchat is a unique platform in regards to its main mechanisms. Its benefits are as follows:

  • You don’t need to struggle with creating great content and posting it to make an attractive feed. There is no feed-in Snapchat. Depending on the way you consider this particular feature, it may be both the biggest advantage and disadvantage.
  • Snapchat is a great tool if your products are targeted at the so-called Generation Z. As you already know, its users are mainly college students, teens, and adults under the age of 25. If these people are not your audience, consider another social media channel.
  • The unique nature of Snapchat makes it possible for companies not only to showcase products but provide customers with insights into the life inside your company.
  • Snaps are a great way of promoting limited and special offers. They should be included in your marketing strategy as they are a sure way to increase your Snapchat audience.

Snapchat has a few characteristics that may be seen as downsides:

  • Snapchat is ephemeral in nature. Depending on the type of Snaps you add or send, they disappear within a predefined time period. It means that you need to constantly create new content for visibility on the platform.
  • The user base is smaller and when we compare it with the one of Instagram, it is an obvious weakness.
  • Are millennials your target audience? If yes, Snapchat might not be the right choice for you as you won’t be able to get the desired results and all your efforts will be fruitless.

Instagram vs Snapchat: It’s Time to Make Your Choice

Marketers nowadays have a lot of opportunities to promote their products. Social media are a useful tool for reaching a wider audience, expanding digital presence, and eventually increase revenue. 

Whether you use Snapchat or Instagram, or both, make sure that the channel aligns with your audience, business model, budget, and products you sell. It may be worth testing each of them and figuring out which one is the right fit for your further investments.

Your ecommerce business, online store, or online retailing your online business can thrive if you use Instagram or Snapchat. However, it really depends on your target audience. You can boost your leads and e-commerce store web traffic by adopting new digital transformation technology and creating a better customer experience.

Your goals should be to create a connected customer experience that your customer will keep coming back and back again.

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Maria Redka is a Technology Writer at MLSDev, a web and mobile app development company in Ukraine. She has been writing content professionally for more than 3 years. Maria researches the IT industry and the app development market to create educative content for the company’s clients and build MLSDev as a brand. The opportunity to share her knowledge with people who are looking for valuable information to understand more about app development is something that motivates Maria and inspires her to create more quality content.