Instagram Stories launched in August of 2016. In only one year, Instagram Stories has grown to over 250 million users while contributing to Instagram’s overall audience of 700 million. Instagram Stories mimicked many of Snapchat’s Stories features but offered an easier to understand interface and much easier discoverability of content and users. In February 2017, we tracked how top Snapchat influencers were using (or not using) Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories six months after the launch of Instagram Stories.
Mediakix does sponsorships with many of the top social media influencers. After the launch of Instagram Stories, we noticed a decline in Snapchat influencer inquiries. We conducted a follow-up in August of 2017 (six months later) and looked at the same top influencers to further assesses the Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories usage trends from top influencers.
Our study quantifies and surfaces a) which platform is preferred by influencers, b) the rate at which influencers have changed their posting habits since the launch of Instagram Stories, and c) at a high level, which platform is getting better traction or more popular with audiences.
We wanted a concrete way to assess, measure, and quantify this so decided on tracking the Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat posting trends for top influencers – specifically, top influencers who were known in the space for their Snapchat following and/or prowess.
We chose these 12 specific influencers as they were top social media stars who published frequently and among the biggest Snapchat influencers at the time. We choose influencers who represented a variety of different categories of audience and content.
To do so, we tracked 12 top influencers’ posting activity on both Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories for 30 days. Each day, we counted the number of Stories they posted to each platform.
After we compiled the data, we compared the influencers’ usage of Snapchat to their usage of Instagram. Additionally, we compared it to the data we collected six months ago using the same methodology.
— — Post continued below. Click infographic to enlarge — —
Influencers, especially those making a living off of their social media sponsorships, will post and go to the platform(s) that afford them the best opportunities, usability/functionality, discoverability/searchability, engagement, visibility, views, and audiences.
At the same time, audiences will go to the platform(s) with the best available content which can be largely supplied by these top social media influencers.
We recorded more Stories on Instagram than Snapchat on all 30 of the days examined, and 11 of the 12 influencers posted more Stories to Instagram than to Snapchat over the course of the study.
On average, influencers posted 7.6 Stories per day on Instagram, compared to 3.5 Stories per day on Snapchat. There were two times as many Instagram Stories as Snapchat Stories posted throughout the study.
In comparison to the data from our previous study (six months ago), there was a 33% decrease in Snapchat Stories usage and a 14% increase in Instagram Stories usage.
This shift indicates a clear preference for Instagram Stories over Snapchat Stories among top influencers.
We reached out to two of the influencers we assessed for the study to gain further insight into Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat by asking them 1) if they had to choose between Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories which one would you pick and why, 2) which platform do you have more followers on, and 3) how does your engagement on Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories compare?
Lele Pons, one of the biggest social media stars originally from Venezuela, got her start on the now-defunct Vine parlaying her internet stardom to today’s popular platforms including YouTube (5.6 million subscribers), Facebook (3.7 million page likes), and Instagram (19 million followers). Lele is known for her entertaining antics and is recognized by Forbes’ “30 under 30.”
Between Instagram vs. Snapchat, Lele notes “I’d choose Instagram Stories. It’s a favorite and a great tool to utilize if you’re focused on building your following while keeping your followers engaged.” As far as which platform has the most followers, Lele specifies, “Instagram – I recently reached 19 million followers!! I primarily use Instagram Stories and not on Snapchat much so, therefore, my engagement is strong on [Instagram] Stories.”
Matt Cutshall, also a social media star who got his start on Vine, was a Snapchat power user who notes “Snapchat lead in engagement for me until they changed their ability to watch someones Snapchat story then roll into the next story. Instagram implemented that capability to roll into the next story, therefore allowing more followers to stumble into your content.”
Cutshall prefers “Instagram Stories all the way (it’s the one stop shop for an audience to enjoy quality photos, videos, stories and live all in one). For me, Snapchat has completely fallen off. Their platform has not evolved to make it more user-friendly. Instagram Stories have become so simple to use and not to mention, my phone doesn’t start overheating like it does on Snapchat. Instagram Stories allow you to tag your friend, unlike Snapchat. The only benefit I see using Snapchat is their better filters and ability to face swap.”
Like many other social media influencers, Cutshall shares “once I started seeing more views in Instagram, I’ve decided to fully switch and only post on Instagram.”
Since their March 2017 IPO, Snapchat’s stock has dropped significantly and is down over 40% from its IPO price (day one close: $24.28; September 29 close: $14.54). User growth has also slowed significantly since August of 2016. Many attribute this to Instagram Stories.
While Snapchat is used heavily for messaging with Gen Z and younger millennial audiences, there’s no doubt that engagement with Snapchat Stories has dropped significantly. In some cases (see Matt Cutshall’s experience above), top influencers have completely abandoned publishing to Snapchat and chose to create Stories-style content on Instagram only.
With Instagram introducing new messaging functionality and with astounding growth, Snapchat has a very difficult road ahead to try to catch back up. Recently, Snapchat has attempted to make inroads with top influencers on their platform after a history of not catering to them and may be looking to double down on its Discover News offerings with original content like The Update from CNN.