Understanding how Snapchat and Instagram differ can help you effectively invest your marketing time and maximize returns for you clients or personal needs. We will break this showdown into three categories: content, filters and hashtags.

First up, how content differs on Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Like much of digital marketing, they are both content driven.  Snapchat allows the user to share content through a single track called a story, which can be made up of up to 24 hours’ worth of images or video snaps. Once a snap is 24 hours old, the content is lost unless it is reshared. The benefit of the episodic nature of Snapchat is timely engagement and audience retention. Instagram has two tracks: the feed and stories. Your feed is permanent, and your stories have a 24 run limit similar to Snapchat. This round’s breakdown, Snapchat relies on 24-hour stories from users and providing temporary content. Instagram content can be posted episodically or more permanently through the feed.

Second on deck in our breakdown are filters. The Stories features in both social media service services providers the Snapchat and the Instagram allow use of filters that can be applied to images and videos. The difference, Snapchat has the geofilters, face-mapping filters, and motion filters. Snapchat also gives you the ability to use your own geofilter. Snapchat allows the flexibility to create personal filters but also provides filters based on large events or functions. Instagram has filters that are primarily used for various coloring effects. You can apply the same filters to your videos as you can to pictures on Instagram. This round’s breakdown, Instagram story filters are limited to overall color, contrast, and lighting adjustments. Snapchat filters give the user more options for customization, motion, and branding.

The final round is #hashtags. You can currently use hashtags in your Instagram and Snapchat stories the same way you use them in other digital marketing channels. The big difference, the hashtags don’t provide any functionality for users. In other words, you cannot tap into a larger conversation or audience through the use of hashtags. Instagram does allow you to use hashtags in the search function however. This round’s breakdown, you can’t currently use functional hashtags within stories on Instagram or Snapchat; however, you can use hashtags in Instagram’s feed and search functions.

The final count, there are other differences between Instagram stories and Snapchat stories, but these are the main three that can help you determine which platform for your needs. Worst case scenario, use both!