social media

Instagram Stories vs Snapchat: we have a winner!

May 28, 2017
Instagram Stories vs Snapchat Rosemary Mac Cabe

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Of course, what I mean there is, I, personally have decided which platform – Instagram Stories or Snapchat – I prefer to use. Sometimes it feels silly throwing in these disclaimers; this is a blog, after all, and it’s pretty obvious that all views contained therein are, well, mine, but then other times people will be all “you can’t just say that like it’s a fact” and so, here we are.

I’ve been using Snapchat for about two years now (I think!). At my peak, I had around 15,000 people watching my stories every day; right now, it varies from around 9,000 to 11,000 (usually on a Sunday, when, I suspect, people are lazing around hungover with nothing better to do).

I’ve been using Instagram Stories, on a daily basis, for only around three weeks – follow me @rosemarymaccabe – which may seem like a very short length of time to have made such a drastic decision about which is better (and which I’ll be sticking with), but I’ve always been relatively impulsive. Quite aside from which, I like to think I have good judgment.

What’s the difference between Snapchat and Instagram Stories?

Technically speaking, there aren’t a huge number of differences between the functionalities of Instagram Stories and Snapchat. While Snapchat allows you to upload in 10-second videos, Instagram Stories gives you 15 seconds. In its first iteration, Instagram Stories didn’t allow you to add facial filters – those have been rolled out in the last fortnight.

The most important functional difference, from a business – or blogging – point of view, is that Instagram Stories allows you not only to tag other users using a clickable tag (so you can go from one person’s Instagram Stories into another account they’ve recommended via tagging), but it also offers a “swipe up to go to this website” function (for accounts with, I think, 10,000-plus followers). This means that, unlike Snapchat, Instagram Stories allows you to direct traffic towards your site, blog or another Instagram account.

One of the other important differences is that people can’t be quite as anonymous on Instagram Stories as they can on Snapchat. When users send you a message on Instagram, you can click directly into their profile; unless they’ve made up said profile specifically in order to troll you, you’ll see a little bit about them – you might see photographs of them with their friends, or from their recent holidays. The anonymity just isn’t there.

On Snapchat, on the other hand, there is an inordinately high number of “ghost” followers – people who, essentially, just use the app to watch Snaps, without contributing anything themselves. There is no way to click on to their profiles; you can apply to follow them, but if they don’t upload a story you’re essentially staring at a blank wall.

But my winner is…

Those of you who have been following me on Snapchat for a while won’t be surprised to learn that I’ve been enjoying Instagram Stories about 10,000 times more than Snapchat – and I’ve almost entirely jumped ship from one to the other. But why?

Ultimately, I think the anonymity ruins Snapchat. Sure, you can block people, and report accounts for harassment, but those people can just open up new accounts – on my block list, I have about seven different versions of the same username, someone who obviously just registered a new profile each time the old one was blocked. But I think it’s a little bit more than that; psychologically, the distance that your anonymity affords you means that Snapchat users are far more intrusive and aggressive in their messaging than on Instagram Stories.

Let’s be clear: this is all anecdotal, based on my experience of each app. On Snapchat, if I posted a pic of a nice cup of coffee, I might get 10 snaps. “Where did you get that cup?” “What kind of coffee is that?” “Do you drink coffee before you work out?” “Do you not find coffee keeps you awake at night?” “Your Snapchat is so boring.” On Instagram, I might get one or two: “I love your mug!” or “Glad to see another caffeine addict is imbibing at this hour.” It’s a far, far friendlier – and less demanding – place to be.

The one drawback

Like I said, I average between 9,000 and 11,000 “eyes” on each Snapchat story. On Instagram Stories, despite the fact that I have 40,000-plus Instagram followers, I’ll be lucky if my stories reach more than 7,000 people. When it comes to working with brands, that few thousand followers make a big difference.

Ultimately, though, I was finding Snapchat incredibly draining – not just time-wise, but feeling really like I was doing a public service for people whose real names I didn’t know, and whose faces I would never see. And it’s not just the “hate”; I still don’t get a huge amount of that. It’s the feeling of entitlement from a certain number (I’m sure only a handful) of people on Snapchat, who I think feel that, because they’re watching your little face speaking into your phone all day long, you’re somehow in a relationship of sorts.

I guess it’s a lot to do, too, with how my perspective on social media is changing. I never started writing because I wanted to be famous; I set out to be a journalist because I loved writing, and it just so happened to be at the same time as this massive social media boom. And don’t get me wrong: I love social media. But I do think that, for a while there, it became my main focus, my main outlet, and a lot of my life was lived in order to share it on Snapchat.

That has to change – and maybe switching over to Instagram Stories is just a part of how I’m going to make that happen.

I’d love to know what you think, though; I know, when I talked about this on Snapchat, a massive number of people said they hated Instagram Stories! Is this still the case? Which app do you prefer?

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  • Reply Aoife May 28, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Actually can’t get over the types of comments people like yourself get on Snapchat. Who has the cheek to ask things like that to someone they don’t know?! They wouldn’t say it to your face!

    When Sharon Leavy posted her blog about leaving Snapchat, she mentioned the type of comments she got too- about her children and how she lived her days. Unbelievable! People are insufferable

  • Reply Joanna brennan May 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Always snap chat for me. I have no interest in instagram. It was nice following you.

  • Reply Barbara May 28, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Rosemary, just wondering, on Instagram Stories, if someone has a private profile and follows you but you don’t follow them, how much of their profile can you see if they message you and you click on them? Is it the same as a regular private profile? I’m not planning on trolling you, just curious as to how much Instagram protects people’s privacy! Sorry if that makes no sense, I couldn’t find a better way to word it.

    • Reply Rosemary May 29, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Barbara, good question! If someone has a private profile, and they message you, all you can see is what I could see if I clicked on any private profile. Username and profile pic (if they have one). So there is the potential for people to be just as nasty and anonymous on Instagram; but in my experience they’re just not doing it (yet)!

  • Reply Lisa May 28, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    I much prefer Snapchat rosemary, but I suppose I’ll just have to watch u on Insta u will be sorely missed xxx

  • Reply Karen May 29, 2017 at 7:06 am

    I like instagram but prefer Snapchat, Having read your reasons for moving – I get it. I’ll still watch you though,

  • Reply Sinéad May 29, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Some really good points made Rosemary. You have to do what makes sense to you.

    I think you’ll see your numbers increase on InstaStories now that you’ve picked the one platform. I watch you on Snapchat but I can just as easily watch you on InstaStories!! Plus I like the swipe up feature too. Just handy for linking to things I might want to read/watch. The tagging is good too. Good luck

  • Reply Carol May 30, 2017 at 4:36 am

    I haven’t really used Instagram in a long time, and now when I go in it’s so messy – like the posts that appear at the top might be from actual friends but some of them are days old. Now I’m sure there’s a way to probably change that in a similar way to how I manually select “Most Recent”every time I use Facebook (yes that is about as annoying as it sounds!) but I guess we all just get a bit fatigued with the changes, and the effort of figuring it out again. I know that I really hadn’t a breeze how to find people to follow on Snapchat when I first started using it but now with people like yourself (whose Snapchat I’ve always loved!) moving it’s just a bit “effort!”, ya know!! I know that sounds ridiculous. I just haven’t really the time to use both. I guess if everyone was just on one platform or the other it’d at least feel worth the effort but I don’t know about anyone else – but with people posting half on one and half on the other I’m just not as bothered anymore! All I want is something to pass 20 mins before bed / on the commute etc etc! I guess if everyone moves to Instagram i’ll have no choice! Sorry Rosemary – that was almost a rant that you yourself would have to be proud of 😉

  • Reply Hayley May 30, 2017 at 7:37 am

    I loved your snaps!! I watched them everyday and ill miss them. I just can’t do insta stories, they take too long to load I end up clicking out of them because I lose my patience… so I’m sorry to hear you’ve left snapchat. Won’t be following on insta im afraid.

  • Reply Maria June 4, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Hey Rosemary
    I have to ageee with you on this one. I’m an Insta gal and I love the stories. I love the location tags and the links to other accounts, websites etc. I find the more I post the more my views go up. I feel it’s a little more professional than snapchat. Instagram is just a nicer environment in my personal experience. I also found snapchat emotionally draining. I thought it was just me but god it was exhausting. In the end I felt like I was just providing free entertainment for random strangers.
    Anyway best of luck with it I look forward to watching urself & coileann xx

  • Reply Christina June 9, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Yes I have to agree. I much prefer Instagram stories. Even though I miss the Snapchat filters, there is enough on Instagrams new update to keep me happy. I feel like Insta is a better place to interact with others and discover new accounts.

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