Instagram Stories Set Out to Dominate Snapchat’s Arena


Back in September 2016, we looked at the duel between Snapchat and Instagram Stories. At the time, Snapchat was still boasting a much higher engagement than Instagram (average of 9.82 minutes for Snapchat and 7.11 minutes for Instagram), despite seeing a 4% drop in active engagement after Instagram introduced Stories.

Now 4 months later, the impact Instagram Stories has on Snapchat is painstakingly evident.

In August of last year, our data indicated that Snapchat’s engagement fell to 9.82 minutes per user, per day upon Instagram Stories’ released. Since then, Snapchat is experiencing even more unfavorable engagement among its users. Currently, Snapchat is seeing only 5.60 minutes of average engagement—a whopping 43% decline four months later.

On Instagram’s front, the Facebook-owned photo app saw a 4% improvement in engagement since we last checked four months ago. Although Instagram’s increased engagement may seem relatively insignificant, it’s important to note here that Instagram’s engagement now surpasses Snapchat (7.37 minutes/user/day versus Snapchat’s 5.60 minutes/user/day).

As Snapchat’s appeal for many users plummeted in the last four months, it’s easy to see why. Although Instagram doesn’t have the fun animated dog filter or the infamous flower crown, what Instagram does have is higher quality photos and videos that users are able to post. When looking at a Snapchat story vs an Instagram story side-by-side, it is clear that Instagram stories’ visual content quality is far superior. This, along with the ability for users and their Stories to reach a larger audience and racking up views, makes Instagram a much more appealing choice in the battle of Instagram vs Snapchat. However, with higher quality visuals, it begs the question—does Instagram use more data than Snapchat?

We found that Instagram drains 51.43 MB/user/day of active data usage while Snapchat uses 13.48 MB/user/day of active data usage. Despite Instagram consuming a hefty 3.82 times more data than Snapchat, users are still more engaged with Instagram.

Higher data utilization on Instagram’s front is attributed to the rather obvious difference between the quality of photos and videos found on Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories. With slower load time on Instagram Stories, it is counterbalanced by the much higher quality content that users are able to post. This, along with the ability for users and their Stories to reach a larger audience and racking up views, makes Instagram a much more appealing choice in the battle of Instagram vs Snapchat.

September 01, 2016

A couple weeks ago, memes of Instagram and Snapchat exploded online, relishing in Instagram’s new feature—Instagram Stories. What are Instagram Stories? You’ve guessed it. Instagram’s new feature is duplicated from the foundation on which Snapchat is built upon, where users can post pictures and videos that will disappear within 24 hours. In the past, Facebook has attempted time and time again to create an app like Snapchat (i.e. Poke, Slingshot, and Instagram Bolt), but their efforts were unsuccessful as the concept of real time, disappearing photos and videos was already dominated by Snapchat. Users didn’t need another standalone app that did the same thing when there’s already Snapchat.

However, integrating the feature into Instagram rather than creating a standalone app may be Facebook’s smartest move when it comes to competing against Snapchat. Looking at the impact of stories on Instagram’s engagement during the second week since its release, Instagram is experiencing positive feedback.


Prior to Instagram Stories, Instagram users were average 6.88 minutes of active usage; two weeks after stories was released, Instagram saw an increased engagement of 7.11 minutes. Although it may not seem like much, the 3% improved active engagement Instagram is experiencing so soon after its launch may be indicative of larger increases down the road as more users become familiar with this latest feature.

As Instagram experiences a positive impact on engagement, does this translate to negative consequences for Snapchat?


As users are spending more time engaging with Instagram due to Instagram Stories, Snapchat is already experiencing a negative impact two weeks into Instagram’s feature release. Prior to Instagram Stories’ release, Snapchat users were actively utilizing the app on average of 10.17 minutes. Post-Instagram Stories, Snapchat saw a 4% decline in active usage, dropping to 9.82 minutes.

To more directly see how Instagram’s update impacted Snapchat, we took a deeper look at the top 10% of users that use the most Instagram and Snapchat in the US.


Snapchat saw a huge decline among their users after Instagram’s update. Snapchat power users went from using Snapchat 23.93 minutes per day before the Instagram update to only using Snapchat 19.04 minutes per day after the Instagram update—a 20% decline in engagement.

This is only the beginning of Instagram’s push into Snapchat’s territory. Considering Snapchat’s entire setup, Instagram has plenty of potential new features to duplicate down the road. Whether Instagram will eventually out Snapchat is to be seen. For now, Instagram is a threat to Snapchat, and should be seen as such.


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