Instagram vs Snapchat: Key Differences to Know

Social media is now an important part of daily life for users all over the world. In the modern market, two of the top social media platforms are Instagram and Snapchat. They both offer unique advantages to the user and it is important to know the key differences between them in order to make an informed decision when selecting one as a platform of choice. This article aims to provide insight into Instagram vs Snapchat to provide an understanding of the key differences between them.

1. Introduction to Instagram and Snapchat

Instagram and Snapchat – Social Media Platforms: Both Instagram and Snapchat are leading social media platforms with millions of users around the world. Instagram, founded in 2010, allows users to share photos, videos, and stories to the platform, while Snapchat, founded in 2011, primarily centers around pictures, video, and text content.


  • Instagram primarily features publicly visible content that’s easily searchable, taggable, and can be used for larger-scale marketing efforts.
  • Snapchat primarily emphasizes private content, with Stories and Snapchats disappearing after 24 hours.

Businesses of all sizes can utilize the two platforms in different ways to reach their target markets. Instagram, given its public and easily searchable content, is better used as a marketing strategy and to drive website traffic. Snapchat can be used to cultivate an exclusive community experience, promote merchandise, and increase brand visibility.

2. Key Visuals Differences Between Instagram and Snapchat

When looked upon from a user’s perspective, Instagram and Snapchat present different visual appearances. Both the platforms provide ample room for creative expression for its users, however, with different sets of visuals.

Primary Color – The primary color scheme of Instagram is stylish, using shades of blue whereas that of Snapchat is a vibrant yellow. This is one immediate point of difference that makes users identify the applications quickly.

User Interface – Instagram’s user interface is very neat, orderly and uncomplicated. On the other hand, Snapchat appears to be quite the opposite, featuring many elements with no clear structure. The interface behaves more like a series of steps that one must follow to access the different available tools.

Content Sharing – One distinguishing trait of these two platforms is the availability of tools and filters. In comparison, Instagram offers much more editing tools and capabilities than Snapchat. Additionally, Instagram users are able to post longer videos and media to their account. As for Snapchat, content is limited to mere seconds:

  • Instagram – Up to 60 seconds longvideos can be embedded in stories.
  • Snapchat – Video clips are limited to 10 seconds.

Hence, the key visuals difference between Instagram and Snapchat can have a significant impact on the kind of experience users have on each platform.

3. Functionalities Unique to Instagram

Instagram’s Boomerang Feature

Instagram’s Boomerang feature is one of the platform’s most distinctive and popular features. With Boomerang, you can create and share fun, looped videos that are up to one second in length. Boomerang clips can be enriched with a range of filters and augmented reality effects to create mini-movies. Boomerang clips can be used to bring any moment to life, whether that is a family event, or a night out.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is a way to share your day-to-day experiences through photos and videos. With Instagram Stories, users can share Happening Now experiences with others. What’s even more interesting is that Stories is an ephemeral feature – the posts will disappear after 24 hours. There are also a range of creative tools that can be used to amplify stories, such as text and doodles, selfie masks and Instagram filters.

Explore Instagram

Instagram has its own Explore tab which is a great way to discover content from people that you don’t know and from accounts you haven’t yet followed. Users can discover content tailored to their exploration interests through its AI-powered algorithm. It’s also a great way to find stories and content related to hashtags and conversations that you follow.

  • Instagram’s Boomerang Feature
  • Instagram Stories
  • Explore Instagram

4. Functionalities Unique to Snapchat

Snapchat has some features that help it stand out among competing applications. Those particular functions come in very handy to users and are among the many reasons why this platform is extremely popular. Here is a list of the unique functionalities that Snapchat offers:

  • Snapstreaks: This feature is exclusive to Snapchat and it allows users to build relationships with their contacts. If users exchange Snaps with someone consecutively, they can keep a Snapstreak going. This encourages people to use the application more frequently and to engage with their contacts more often.
  • Geofilters: This tool allows people to use special filters that are specific to a location. Geofilters can be used for a particular city, event, or location, and they make photos much more interesting. Plus, since the filters are location-based, it serves as a nice way to remind people of their travels.
  • See Who’s Viewed Your Story: Snapchat allows users to publicly share their photos and videos and allow their contacts to view them. To give people more control over their privacy, Snapchat also allows users to see who has watched their story. This way they can know who they can trust and limit their circle of followers.

Snapchat offers stories, which are like mini-social media feeds. In stories, users can post photos and videos to share with their contacts. Those posts last up to 24 hours, and the contacts of the post’s owner will see them in the order they were posted. Stories are an entertaining way to keep in touch with people and a great way to show what is going on in your life.

These functionalities are some of the many interesting features that make Snapchat stand out from other applications and make it one of the most widely used social media websites. With these innovative tools, Snapchat gives its users the opportunity to enjoy endless experiences.

5. Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Instagram and Snapchat

When it comes to successful marketing and promotion through social media, Instagram and Snapchat are two of the most used applications out there. Both of them can be great in boosting your presence online, but how do you decide which one is better for your business? Here are five factors to consider in making your decision:

Audience Reachability

Both Instagram and Snapchat boast millions of active users, but it’s important to think about whether your target audience is more likely to be active on one or the other. Instagram is generally more popular amongst business owners, while Snapchat has a larger presence with teenagers and young adults. Do your research on users’ age, gender and geographical location to decide which platform is better for reaching a wider audience.


Instagram and Snapchat have some features that overlap. This includes being able to post pictures, videos, stories and add filters to content. However, there are also some features that are exclusive to each platform. Snapchat can let you add location tags and draw annotations on pictures, and Instagram has a live broadcasting feature specifically for business accounts. Consider which features are most important for your business and decide based on that.

Content Structure

The way you format and structure your content is an important factor to consider when deciding between the two platforms. Instagram leans more towards static posts with good quality visuals, while Snapchat is ideal for creating videos and stories that can be easily shared. Think about how you want to structure your content and make your decision accordingly.

  • Instagram – Static content with visuals
  • Snapchat – Videography content with stories and animations

Time Constraints

Instagram’s post can last up to 24 hours, while Snapchat’s content lasts for only up to 10 seconds and 24 hours for stories. Depending on what type of content you are creating, time constraints may be an important factor when deciding between the two applications. Think about how much time you have and which platform best suits your time constraints.

As you can see, Instagram and Snapchat each have features that make them unique, useful, and appealing to different audiences. Whether you’re a professional looking to promote yourself or an individual seeking to share special moments with friends, there’s a platform out there to address your needs. It’s important to understand the various features and understand which one best fits your needs. By doing so, you’ll be able to truly make the most of these social media giants.