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How Instagram Stories Beat Snapchat

Some in the tech industry suspected it would happen even with Snapchat’s incredible growth last year, but few realised just how much of an impact Instagram Stories would make. Snapchat had been the king of the imaging social media for several years and was still undergoing a massive expansion. However, something halted Snapchat in its tracks. New user uptake slowed by 82% earlier this year. It seems Instagram Stories is now king of the hill, but why and how?

What the Statistics Say

2017 has been a year of fierce competition between Instagram and Snapchat with the latter recording a clear decline. While correlation does not always imply causation, the evidence is compelling that the new Instagram feature is largely responsible. In early 2016, Snapchat reported 122 million daily users – an increase of 14% over the previous quarter. The trend continued until August last year. On the day Instagram released Stories, the decline began. Many quickly pointed to the similarities between the two but one had several competitive advantages over the other.

What is Instagram Stories?

Like Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories permits users to create a story in pictures and videos of their day. The user can manipulate, edit, and add fun filters and captions to the series. The story is deleted after 24 hours in order to keep space free and to stop users getting annoyed at seeing the same series repeatedly.

How Did This Happen?

Despite the impressive figures listed above, the period between August and December 2016 is a completely different story. In just five months, its user based slowed to 7% increase and 158 million users. In contrast and in the same period, Instagram Stories had 100 million users.

The Competitive Advantage of Instagram

Snapchat’s growth may have been impressive in 2016, but it still had a long way to go to catch up with Instagram with a reported 300 million daily users and 500 million in a typical month. Instagram Stories is a near identical clone to Snapchat Stories with very few drawbacks and many advantages.

Influencer Marketers Return to Instagram

There are two basic problems with Snapchat here. The first is that it was still in a growth face against a well-established Instagram platform. That meant it had not reached a peak with many still wavering at the time of introduction of Stories. Influencer marketers who were new to Snapchat simply decided it was no longer worth the bother and went back to Instagram where they already had an established audience. The second is that it is generally difficult to grow on Snapchat compared to Instagram.

Facebook Integration

Instagram is part of the Facebook family of apps. That means greater integration with accounts and software now and for the future. Snapchat is a stand-alone app and without powerful backing, users were drawn to a more convenient platform with the same features as Snapchat.


Another blow to the Snapchat messaging system was the ability for users to syndicate their stories out of Snapchat and into Instagram. This is quick and easy, allowing users the best of both worlds. With the ability to do this, users considered whether there was now a point to sign up for Snapchat, especially when they already had a large audience in Instagram.

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