Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories: What’s the Difference and How Your Franchise Marketing Can Benefit


If you’ve recently asked yourself “Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories, which is better?” you’re definitely not alone.

Since its launch earlier this month, Instagram Stories have been causing quite the raucous on the interwebz.

Instagram’s newest feature lets you share all the moments of your day through multiple photos and videos, known as your story.

Sounds awfully familiar, right? That’s because it’s almost an exact replica of Snapchat. Keyword: almost.

Keep in mind that although they’re very similar, it’s not about which is better.

It’s more about utilizing each platform for it’s unique capabilities and curating content that your followers will engage with.

If you’re a brand or marketer, you’re probably asking yourself:

  • How Instagram Stories work
  • How it’s different than Snapchat, and
  • Where you should be investing your time

Luckily for you, there’s no reason to shvitz. (Thanks to Sloane, I’ve been incorporating Yiddish into my vocabulary!)

Here’s everything you need to know about Instagram Stories.

So, how do Instagram Stories work?

Instagram Stories are a combination of photos and video, which tell your followers a “story” of your day.

Unlike traditional posts (cleverly called “grams”) Instagram stories don’t appear in your newsfeed and only exist for 24 hours.  This is extremely important because we’re all aware of the unspoken rule of “you can’t post more than one photo a day” on Instagram.

You also can bring your story to life with text and drawing tools, but there aren’t any fun filters (or face-swap). Which brings us to…

How are Instagram Stories different than Snapchat Stories?

This mainly comes down to user interface: the navigation.


When you open Snapchat, the app automatically brings you to a screen with a camera — which makes it easier to post. If you’re new to the app, this it where it gets confusing because in order to go to the Snapchat Stories, you need to click the button at the bottom-right corner. Snapchat Stories then will appear on your screen. You can tap your screen to skip sections of the story and, once it ends, the next person’s story cues automatically.


On Instagram, stories are front and center on the app. You automatically can see multi-colored circles, the stories, from users you follow. These rings disappear once you watch the story. Of course, an algorithm curates the order in which the stories appear on your feed. On Instagram, tap the screen to skip certain photos or videos within that person’s slideshow, or swipe left to view stories from the next profile.

Another small difference: how your followers engage. On Snapchat, you’re able to easily send a chat through the app. With Instagram, users can only respond by sending a direct message.

Can I use Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories to market my business/brand?

Absolutely! Users flock to Snapchat for unpolished, behind-the-scenes looks from their favorite celebrities and brands. And now, you can utilize that same type of content on Instagram, too.

But just because Instagram Stories are the new kids on the block, it doesn’t mean you should abandon your followers on Snapchat.

You need to be strategic with what you share, so keep each platform’s demographics in mind when building out your overall social media strategy.

Snapchat’s 200 Million daily active users are known to be on the younger side. In fact, 37 percent of those users in the United States are 18-24.

Instagram has been around longer and obviously has a larger user base at 400 million monthly active users. Ninety percent of Instagram users are younger than 35, and 75 percent of them live outside the U.S.

Here are a few ways your brand can use Instagram and Snapchat Stories to engage followers and attract new ones:

  • Exclusive Promotions: To increase sales and build brand loyalty, offer exclusive promo codes in your story! The beauty of this method is users feel a sense of urgency since codes are often valid for only 24 hours, just like a story. Here are a few examples of successful Snapchat promo code campaigns.
  • Promote Events: Stories are a useful tool to remind or invite your followers to attend brand events. Post a short video or image reminding your audience about the event. Be sure to include the date, time and location of your event in the story. You also can encourage followers to get more info on a different platform — it’s all about cross-promotion for your brand!

Based on your brand’s demographics, target demo and strategy, you and your marketing team can decide, “Instagram or Snapchat Story?”