Instagram vs Snapchat


March 2017

In August last year Instagram updated their app to include “stories” a feature previously exclusive to the popular app Snapchat, this update has made the two apps very similar. There are plenty other similarities and also differences, which we will explore.

So the question is, are Instagram stealing Snapchats users?

It’s worth looking at the age ranges using both apps first. Snapchats largest age demographic is 18-24-year-olds making up 37% of users, with 25-34-year-olds behind with 26%. Instagrams users are also heavily made up of young people, 90% of Instagram users are under 35. Both apps share a younger audience than Facebook. Looking at engagement on the apps shows Instagram to be much further in the lead, Snapchat sees 150 million active users each day but Instagram has 600 million users with 300 million logging in each day.


Firstly stories. Most people have a bigger, broader followings on Instagram and therefore are moving what they would have put on their Snapchat stories to their Instagram stories OR putting the same content on both. There are a lot of similar features within stories between the apps, for example adding your location or stickers. In regards to special features, it could be argued that Snapchat still has the upper hand, with their ever changing range of filters and lenses which for now Instagram still isn’t competing with other than a few basic editing filters but it’s only a matter of time. Both story features are intended for in the moment, unpolished and quick pictures and videos which differ drastically from normal uploads on Instagram that tend to be edited and professional, a place to keep the best of your work. This could be quite off-putting for Instagram users as they are so used to using the app for posting their best work.


Studies have shown that young people are using Snapchat so much because their parents aren’t; only 2% of users are over 55. Although Instagram has a younger audience than Facebook it generally has a slightly older audience than Snapchat. Snapchat could be seen as a place to hide away from parents and give young people the freedom to post what they want.


In 2016 Snapchat launched a new feature called memories, this is a place within the app to save Snapchats and then upload them at a later date if you wish. They also introduced a way to upload pictures to your Snapchat story from your camera roll a feature similar to Instagram, but the obvious difference being the snap will disappear.


The main difference in the apps is that Instagram is a place for sharing photos and although Snapchat is also an app for sharing photos it focuses more on chatting and communicating with its text feature. There is, of course, Instagram private messages but this is just an added feature, not its primary function. Both apps allow you to take a picture and then edit it before uploading, as Instagram is a site built for photo sharing there are a lot of editing options from filters to changing the saturation and contrast. In these terms Snapchat is very basic with editing, it currently has just a handful of filters but it also has a doodle option to allow users to draw over their picture. Snapchat, however, has endless stickers and a new feature allows you to create your own sticker from your own pictures and can put these on your snaps.

Snapchat has lenses, these give the app a fun relaxed feel and as they’re updated daily they bring users back.


We carried out a twitter poll asking young people if they would delete Snapchat if Instagram added lenses. Would they delete Snapchat? Keep using it? Or keep it but use Instagram more. We saw that 6% would delete Snapchat, 78% wouldn’t delete it and 16% wouldn’t delete the app but would use Instagram more.

Both apps are very popular with young people and for now, they seem to be keeping both on their phones, don’t underestimate just how many apps young people can keep up to date with; it is likely most will continue to use both.


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