Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat: The Great Debate

When first tasked with the blog assignment “Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat”, I was intrigued. Full disclosure: this was back in August of 2016 so Instagram Stories was a relatively new function. The social media world was up in arms. Instagram was coming for Snapchat! Was one platform better than the other?! Was this the death of Snapchat as we know it?!
Maybe it wasn’t that bad… but in the realm of social media it was pretty big news.
As the months have gone on, we’ve seen countless changes and updates to both platforms. At times, it almost seemed like a game, who could one-up the other in the constant battle of new features and capabilities. There are a number of good articles out there that touch on the similarities, differences, the benefits, and so on. I’ve listed a few of my favorites at the end of this post.
From a brand perspective, it’s easy to see the benefits of both. In a nutshell, both give you the ability to reach new audience members & followers, highlight company happenings & culture, tease new products & updates, and leverage influencers — all while embracing the real-time nature of social media.

With Instagram, many brands and companies have already spent years building a loyal following and community, and this is a built-in way to interact and deliver content to them. It allows tagging within posts, co-branding collaborations and, if you’re a verified account, the opportunity to link to outside content. Snapchat differentiates itself by its ability to localize content, the large audience-base of young users and their catchy filters that are oh-so addictive.  
On the pay-to-play spectrum, Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram has allowed for a somewhat seamless ad integration between platforms. Snapchat has been steadily upping its advertising and partnership approach, most recently improving mobile ad functionalities and fine-tuning the process for third-parties and brands getting into the Snap Ads game. And in case you missed it, they recently filed the initial paperwork for this little thing called an IPO, which indicated a serious focus and reliance on mobile ads as their main source of revenue.
Ultimately, just like any other social media platform, strategy is key. Interested in diving deeper into the world of Snapchat strategy? This guide is great. Instagram Stories pointers? Here’s a good one.
But back to this blog post. After about three months of trying to write this and convincing myself I was going to turn myself into a wizard at both, it dawned on me that I might just be the wrong gal for the job, first problem being that I very rarely used Instagram Stories. (Not counting the 500+ times I’ve accidentally almost posted unflattering double chin shots).
Nothing scarier.
Needless to say, my experience there has been limited. From a professional standpoint, this is a route I’m very much looking to explore in 2017, as I do believe it’s an exciting and effective addition within a global social media strategy.
When it comes to Snapchat, my own personal snaps consist of miscellaneous filtered selfies, places I’ve traveled, moments I find amusing (usually on the subway), well-intentioned stories of my nights out (that often get deleted in the morning), and an abundant amount of candids of my dog.
Truth be told, I’m probably a very annoying Snapchat friend to have.
Not one to give up on an assignment, I decided it would be interesting to hear from two young women that I follow on Instagram and Snapchat, focusing on why they chose the platforms they did. Both work in the world of digital marketing and both have established not only a robust following but also a niche approach to creating content that I deeply admire.
Going the Snapchat Route

First up, Jill DiLibero. As Manager of Digital Engagement at Harvard Business School, she’s seen her fair share of social media trends and new platforms, yet she chose to focus on Snapchat for her cooking show, “Cooking with Jill.” Instructional in-nature yet comedic in-delivery, she’s used Snapchat to inspire even the most novice chefs to start cooking. Or at least make them feel guilty about ordering take-out.
How’d you get into Snapchat? I was actually a late bloomer of Snapchat. All my friends were using it and I didn’t really get the appeal. Then of course I joined it, became addicted, and now all my friends probably regret telling me to join.
Why Not Instagram Stories? I think Instagram was the place for that perfect, singular filter-ready photo of your travels, a tasteful group shot or even your avocado toast (seriously, there has to be millions of photos of avocado toast). It turned me off when it tried to mimic an app that’s beauty is it disappears in 24 hours (or instantly if you send it directly). If Instagram is the garden party of photo apps, why try to be a frat party?Tell me a bit about Cooking with Jill? How is Snapchat integral to it? Cooking with Jill originally started as kind of a joke. I like to cook a lot and I had just gotten this waffle cookbook. I was attempting to make bacon, egg and cheese waffles and thought it would be funny to document the entire thing as like a makeshift cooking show. I started with "Tonight on Cooking with Jill…" and then did the entire step-by-step process of making the waffles. My friends loved it and asked me to start doing it more often and it kind of got this following.

I do feel badly for anyone who follows me specifically for Cooking with Jill and instead is inundated with my boring life or me singing in the back of my Uber at 2am.What’s your favorite Snapchat feature? Filters for when I forget to wear makeup. Or the speed up feature on videos (perfect for stirring shots on Cooking with Jill). 

The Insta-Story Approach Next up, I reached out to one of my favorite bloggers, Gabriella Valladares. As Director of

Social Media for Regan Communications, she works with brands everyday — designing, implementing and managing social strategies. In addition to her “day” job, she created the popular lifestyle site, By Gabriella, a drool-worthy and inspiring Instagram account. 
How important is Instagram as a platform for By Gabriella/personal use? Instagram is huge for my blog and for personal use. I use it not only to share my favorite photographs, I also use it to connect with brands, to collaborate with other bloggers, to learn more about new-to-me cities before visiting, and more.How did you get into using Instagram Stories? How do you primarily use it? I primarily use Instagram stories to share real moments from my day. I often like to share how I’m starting my day, where I’m heading if I’m exploring somewhere new, what I’m cooking, and more. I don’t share all of that in one day though; I like to switch it up and share just a few stories per day max. It’s like a real look into my life, rather than the highly-stylized images I’m sharing on my feed (though I like to be totally authentic there, too – with just a smidge more pizzaz).In the world of social media and endless options, why use another platform?  You know, I constantly ask myself the same question. I like to use each social platform in a different way, and Instagram simply happens to be my very favorite. On Twitter, I like to share other bloggers’ content, on Pinterest I’m sharing recipes, DIY projects & and more, and on Instagram I’m sharing carefully created images. I’ve found that using Instagram is extremely beneficial, so I’m sticking to it – at least for now!Looking at the Snapchat vs. Insta-Stories debate — do you have a preference for one via the other? If so, why? Truth be told, I was quite upset when I heard that Instagram was launching a tool nearly identical to what Snapchat was already doing. I refused to use it – though that didn’t last long considering my full-time role is in social media. After a few days, I realized that I actually loved Instagram stories. It was really handy to be able to share those videos on the platform where most of my community already exists. I’m constantly on Instagram and using Instagram Stories means eliminating the jumping between Instagram and Snapchat hassle.What is your favorite feature with Instagram Stories? I love that we can now tag other accounts in stories. It’s such a fun new way to connect with fellow Instagram users and friends alike! Plus, when I’m trying out recipes or DIY projects by other bloggers, I can tag them right there in the story and direct viewers to their accounts. Spread the love, y’all.Tell me a bit about By Gabriella? How does Instagram/Instagram Stories play an integral part to it? By Gabriella is a lifestyle blog where I like to share entertaining tips, DIY projects, cocktail recipes, and more. All of my content is highly visual, and being able to share that content easily in both image and video format is incredible. It’s the perfect complement to what I’m doing on my blog, like so many other creatives. 

So there you have it. Two social media professionals with different strategies and approaches to the two platforms. With the ever-evolving updates and inevitable changes in the world of social media, one thing I’ll continue to look forward to is seeing the variety of uses and approaches out there, as I personally believe there’s no better way to learn (and be entertained)!
How about you? Have you picked a side on the Snapchat vs. Instagram Stories battle? Have any favorite brands or influencers using both?  Would love to hear your thoughts below!
Image sources: By Gabriella, Harvard Business School,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Join Our Exclusive Newsletter

Join the YWD newsletter and get the latest jobs, events and information for young Women in digital.