Disappearing images are all the rage on social media lately, starting with the increasingly popular 5-year-old Snapchat and, more recently, Instagram’s disappearing stories feature.

So now that there are two platforms doing the same thing, which one should brands use? The bottom line is deciding which platform is more effective for reaching your audience.

Snapchat was introduced as a platform to let users send honest and sometimes embarrassing photos with the comfort of knowing they would disappear after 10 seconds. In 2013, they updated the app to have fun filters like puppy ears and flower crowns, along with a stories feature, so users can create fleeting micro-documentations of their day that stay up for 24 hours. This feature quickly became everyone’s favorite part of the app.

Instagram capitalized on the popularity of disappearing images and launched its very own stories feature last month. Like Snapchat, this allows users to post temporary images, strung together to create a narrative that lasts for 24 hours.

Below are pros and cons of each to help you decide.

Snapchat Stories


  1. Snapchat was created specifically for this purpose, so users know what to expect. It already has a strong audience who are there to watch short clips or see fleeting images.
  2. One word: geo-filter. These are filters that can be customized for a brand, location or event. Instagram doesn’t yet offer this feature. Check out the branded on-demand geo-filter options the platform offers here. This is a good way to ease into Snapchat without creating your brand’s own presence.


  1. It’s likely that launching a Snapchat for your brand is going to take a lot of extra time and, consequentially, money. From setting up an account and building a following to maintaining your story with consistent pictures, it could be a huge lift.
  2. Snapchat is viewed as a personal app, used by friends and less for brands to curate their image.

Instagram Stories


  1. Your brand probably has an Instagram account established already with a substantial audience, so you won’t have to start from scratch.
  2. Instagram stories are front and center when you open the app, enticing people to watch them first before looking at the rest of their feed.


  1. Your audience is familiar with Instagram as a platform with visually appealing content displayed in a newsfeed. They have to adjust to the change and figure out the purpose of stories.
  2. Instagram takes the liberty to organize stories not on timeliness, but on who they think your top friends are. This can keep you from reaching all of your followers simply because they give up looking through their stories before they get to yours.

Now you make the call – Snapchat or Instagram? Facebook may also be jumping in on the disappearing game soon, so keep an eye out for more disappearing images…