Which Platform is Best For Business: Instagram or Snapchat?

10 April 2018

Instagram and Snapchat are both good platforms for promotion of your business. However, for business promotion on social media, you need a marketing budget. This may mean you’ll need to choose between them.

So which will you choose? Both Instagram and Snapchat have similar features and functions, but there are differences. Those differences could have a big impact on your marketing success. With this in mind, I’ve taken a look at both platforms and come up with a comparison. This should help you decide which platform is best for your particular business needs.

Decide on your main objectives

First, it makes sense to decide on your objectives. For example:

  • Which platforms will your target audience use and engage with the most?
  • What kind of functions and content will your business favour? (filters, stories, images etc.)
  • How discoverable do you want to be? (public or private)
  • Do you plan to boost posts or run adverts?
  • Will you want to make the most of analytics?

Here are some objectives to consider before selecting your ideal platform:

Objective 1: Reaching an audience

If your primary concern is numbers, you’ll want to pay attention to Instagram. Today, Instagram claims it has 800 million users active on the platform each day, which beats Snapchat hands down. In comparison Snapchat currently only has around 180 million per day.

Another factor to consider is the type of audience you wish to reach. If you’re targeting a young audience, Snapchat is the one. Almost half its users are between 18 and 24 years of age. What’s more, that age group spends more time on Snapchat than on Instagram – and half of them aren’t using Instagram at all.

If your target audience is between 18 and 29, you’re probably better off with Instagram. That’s because approximately 60% of internet users in this age group will be present on the platform. Likewise, around 33% of internet users aged between 30 and 49 use it. Instagram works best for businesses that are still busy establishing their brand and have an older target audience in mind.

Objective 2: Content and functions

As content is king, you should consider carefully what kind of content you want to put out, and which functions will best support it.

Image Filters

If professional, authentic looking images are paramount, Instagram’s large number of superior image filters will be your allies.

If you’re less concerned about authenticity, Snapchat works well. This is because Snapchat is better suited for a more tongue-in-cheek style of delivery, with its growing collection of animated filters.

In fact, the huge range of Snapchat animations trump Instagram hands down. These fun animations and augmented reality effects definitely appeal more to the younger demographic.

Image Sharing

For images, Instagram offers a more stylish and polished result, which is good for establishing a new brand’s identity. However, as more than 95 million images are shared there each day and around 70% of Instagram, posts go unnoticed. Simply put, there’s a lot of competition for viewers’ attention on Instagram, so Snapchat could be the one.


Next up is stories. Although Snapchat was first on the boat with stories, Instagram stepped in and did it better, albeit fractionally. The main difference is that you can transition smoothly between stories, which keeps the viewers plugged in. This is great because even if someone wasn’t planning to view your story, it may very well happen anyway. With Snapchat, they have the option to ignore you.

Objective 3: Discoverability

Some businesses may want to take a more personal approach by interacting privately with their audience. That’s fine, but it pays to consider this: many people want to see previews of what your business is up to, before they commit to following you.

With Instagram, you have the option to go public, whereas with Snapchat, people need to add you before they can follow you. This means there’s no preview available and people are less likely to add and follow your business.

Another thing worth considering on Snapchat is that your stories and photos will be gone in 24 hours. Instagram allows them to stick around, so when you’ve put out good content, it’s there for new followers to see later down the line. Conversely, the 24 hour thing can work for businesses that want to post last minute deals, competitions, contests and giveaways.

Instagram is in the lead again when it comes to accessible information. Here you can share company info and links to your sites. Naturally this inspires them to visit your site and spend on products and services.

Objective 4: Ads and analytics

Advertising (PPC Ads)

With Facebook paving the way, the other platforms have jumped on the bandwagon and now you can easily advertise your business across most platforms. Instagram advertising is now popular for businesses with a marketing budget, and people are regularly buying after seeing products on it.

Instagram is doing ads better than Snapchat. Firstly, ads are cheaper on Instagram; you wouldn’t normally have to spend more than a dollar per click. You can also run ads on Facebook and link them to your Instagram with one little tick box.

By comparison, Snapchat only works well for businesses with large budgets. Here you could set up a sponsored lens, for example, but it would set you back as much as £150,000 or more for just one day! This can yield awesome results, but it understandably feels risky. This function is for the big players only.


When it comes to analytics, Instagram wins again. It offers free analytics tools and you can measure your progress via Instagram or Facebook’s Ad Manager. Snapchat only lets you measure ad success, and for that you’ll have to pay something in the region of £10 per month, depending on the tool you select.

Having said that, Snapchat is working on ecommerce functions, so sales will be quick and simple there soon. It also gets one and a half times the views Instagram gets – if you’re prepared to spend the cash to get them.

So to summarise

Instagram is likely to be the best platform for your business – especially if your business is not yet fully established. It can offer you cheaper ads and free, more versatile analytics. Your profile can also be public and therefore more discoverable, and it appeals to a larger audience on the whole. With Instagram, you can give out more business information, offering easier access to your products and services.

Snapchat makes the most sense for businesses with a huge marketing budget, and for those with a target demographic under 24 years old. Businesses aiming for authenticity, a little humour, or superior animations may also favour Snapchat. If you’re still not sure, there’s only one sensible option: when in doubt, try them out!

Please note: This article was written by an external author. Any opinions or advice shared by the author are their own and not indicative of any official advice or opinions of Thomson Local or its employees.

Tagged with:

  • Instagram
  • Online Advertising
  • Online Marketing
  • Snapchat
  • Social Media
Author -
Freelance Writer

Daniel Ross is part of the marketing team at Roubler.com — a scheduling and payroll software platform founded in Australia. Their mission is to change the way the world manages its workforce's.

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