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Snapchat vs Instagram: How do they compare?

Blog Post Author – Kirsty
Kirsty18th September 2018
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Snapchat and Instagram… In many ways, they’re incredibly similar, and yet, somehow miles apart as social media platforms.

Snapchat and Instagram are two of the most widely used social media apps available, both with a similar focus on image sharing and visual content. Their ultimate goal? To be the number one platform for sharing everyday photos and video updates (with the occasional boomerang here and there). But which network has the edge? Let’s take a look at the key features and demographics of Snapchat and Instagram to make an educated decision.

What are the main uses of Snapchat and Instagram?

Instagram is a social networking site focused on image and video sharing. It’s seen an enormous increase in popularity over recent years, especially with the addition of the Instagram ‘story’ feature for sharing temporary content.

Users on Instagram have their own feeds and profiles where they can share content with their following. You can also follow Instagram accounts to create a carefully curated feed of content chosen by you. To engage with content you can ‘like’, ‘tag’, and ‘comment’ in a way that functions similarly to Facebook (go figure, they are Facebook owned). Instagram also allows for one-on-one communications with a private messaging system.

Similarly, Snapchat also has a primary focus on image and video content, enabling users to share media quickly and easily. Snapchat’s crowning gimmick was its use of temporary content (something that Instagram and even Facebook have since introduced to their networks). Friends could exchange pictures and videos that would remain for 10 seconds or less, before vanishing forever. Snapchat’s made enormous developments in the last year especially, but it’s primary use remains to be sharing visual content between friends.

What do each platform’s demographics tell us?

Instagram was designed for speed, simplicity, and usability and the content shared is brief and temporarily accessible. The common practice for the Instagram viewer is to consume the ‘bite-sized’ content and move on quickly – in a very similar style to Twitter. With this in mind, in a world where the millennial generation’s attention span isn’t quite what it used to be, it is perhaps unsurprising that 59% of Instagram users are aged between 18 to 29.

Snapchat’s demographics read a little differently. It has a huge percentage of teenage users, a whopping 77% of users aged between 18 to 24 in fact, which can be attributed to the more eccentric and fun characteristics of the app. Snapchat tends to have a more personal feel and has a bigger focus on direct messaging, while Instagram tends to be for much more public sharing. As a result, it’s more commonly used among friendship groups, as opposed to Instagram which is more commonly used for sharing content more widely with a large community. Snapchat

Key features of Snapchat and Instagram

Instagram has a plethora of features that make it a great tool for social media marketing. Businesses and brands can take full advantage of the platform by switching to a ‘business’ account, making their page more searchable and allowing others to see direct contact information. 2018 has so far seen the introduction of ‘IGTV’ (Instagram TV), as well as an ‘ask me anything’ story button that has already become an incredibly popular feature for influencers in particular.

Since the introduction of Instagram’s ‘story’ feature, to directly rival Snapchat’s primary function. Snapchat’s been delving into new and exciting territory including ‘Snap Maps’ allowing you to pinpoint your friends locations using Snapchat, as well being able to replay snaps and unlock fun filters the more you use the platform. Furthermore, with NBC, E! News, Harpers Bazaar and The New York Times all creating content for the platform, Snapchat has seen huge success as a short-form serialised video platform. According to Variety, it’s also extending its 'Shows' format to popular new creators.

Snapchat and Instagram seem so similar at a glance, but as each network grows and develops with time, they’re each establishing a really unique stance in the marketplace. Do you have a favourite? Let us know your thoughts here at ContentCal on Twitter at @ContentCal_io 

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