Instagram v. Snapchat (It’s Not Even a Battle Yet. Here’s Why.)

June 16, 2017 9:00 am | Published by

Yes, Snapchat’s growth has been explosive.

Yes, Millennials and Gen-Z love it.

But marketers aren’t there yet.

As we reported last week, even the influencers aren’t hyping up Snapchat. 91.9% of micro-influencers report that Instagram is their #1 platform. Only 1.4% can say the same for Snapchat. While micro-influencers are more likely to use Snapchat (51%) than Twitter (43%), neither platform holds a candle to Facebook (67%) or Instagram (99%).

Instagram Services Are Searched 12x More Than Snapchat’s

A few days ago, Entrepreneur reported that marketers are searching for Instagram services 12x more than Snapchat services.

That’s huge.

(By the way, social media marketing as a whole saw a 255% increase from 2016 to 2017.)

There are more than 6x the number of Instagram services on Fiverr than there are Snapchat-related services. In March 2017, Fiverr had:

  • 3,660 approved Instagram gigs
  • 559 approved Snapchat gigs

Instagram accounted for one-third of all “social gigs.” Snapchat? Just 1 in 20.

So, What About Revenue?

While Instagram revenue increased roughly 27% from 2016 to 2017, Snapchat revenue decreased 1.5%. The Snap Inc. disappointment continues this year. Last month, Snapchat reported its first-ever quarterly earnings. Both revenue and user growth failed to meet expectations.

Meanwhile, Facebook (who owns Instagram, of course) is ripping off Snapchat’s features one-by-one, making it increasingly difficult for Snapchat to compete.

Isn’t It Good to Dodge the Competition?

I can guess what the savvy marketers among you are thinking:

“Marketers are primarily focusing on Instagram, so doesn’t that leave a window of opportunity for marketing on Snapchat?”

I can empathize with this line of thought. As PayPal co-founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel argues in Zero to One, competition is for losers. It should be avoided. We should go for the value that no one else is focused on, because that’s where the monopoly is, and monopolies are how businesses make serious money.

But I’m not entirely sure that this strategy will produce the highest possible ROI when applied to the Snapchat v. Instagram quandary…

How to Know Where Your Energy Is Best Spent

In the case of Snapchat v. Instagram, the value actually sits on both sides… for different reasons.

Snapchat can be valuable to marketers because it’s a less crowded pool. There are fewer brands you have to fight against for user attention. However, this doesn’t make Snapchat any easier. In fact, it’s much, much more difficult to market on it. (Though that could change with the new self-serve ad manager.) Perhaps the reason why mainstream marketing isn’t using Snapchat is because they can’t figure out how.

Instagram, on the other hand, is a Facebook product with all of the familiar, powerful, and proven Facebook tools that marketers know and use. The pool is much more ferocious, yes. But it’s also much bigger and easier to segment out into niches.

Another notch in Instagram’s belt? We already know for a fact what works on the platform. For all of these reasons, there’s not truly a competition (yet) between Snapchat and Instagram’s value proposition to marketers.

So, should you use Instagram, Snapchat, or both?

For the vast majority of brands – who have limited budget and strategic resources – an Instagram-only approach will be the way to go. For some, a combo could be a smart investment. A Snapchat-exclusive approach, however, would be highly risky, especially as Instagram continues to eat Snapchat features (and thereby suppress the platform’s growth and future values).

What do you think? Instagram? Snapchat? Or both? Tell us in the comments below.

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