Snapchat Vs Instagram: The Battle For Events

As the game of one up and catch up continues between Instagram and Snapchat, we discuss why both platforms are important to eventprofs and how events can capitalize.

It seems the battle for supremacy between Instagram and Snapchat will never end. Just the other week, Instagram launched a new feature called “Face Filters” which allows users to adorn their faces with digital masks and other accessories. The feature forms a part of Instagram’s Stories (collections of pictures that disappear after 24 hours) feature. It all sounds a bit familiar.

Social media is not new anymore and neither are many of its technological advances. In fact, it looks like a race of “me too” companies, desperately competing and trying to one up each other on features. However, there is a bigger picture and it’s largely down to the way social media – or more importantly, its users – have evolved.

Snapchat Vs Instagram: The Battle For Events

It’s All About Me

Ten years ago, when the term “social media” was still fresh, Facebook’s wall and Twitter’s endless stream of updates changed the very nature of how and why people communicate on the internet. Suddenly, everyone and anyone had a platform. A platform to speak from and a way to be heard. Naturally, narcissism reigned supreme and still does to this day. All of a sudden, the Internet became a sea of selfies. People wanted their friends and the wider world to see what a great time they were having. Look at me. Look how great my life is.


The Magic of Moments

In recent years, the social media giants have noticed a pattern. It’s not just “look at me”, it’s “look at me doing this thing”. People are sharing moments of their lives with their friends and the wider world. Whenever a moment happens, social media needs to be there to amplify it. Both Instagram and Snapchat have finely tuned their applications to be the perfect platform for doing so and there doesn’t seem to be much between them in that sense.

FOMO – The Opportunity For Events

Sharing moments is a way of sharing memories but in real-time, as they happen. For those not in the moment, this can lead to FOMO (fear of missing out). For event professionals, this is a golden opportunity not to be missed. Frankly, which platform is used for that is irrelevant. What’s important is that event attendees are sharing those moments and that their friends or followers are getting bitten by the FOMO bug.


Both platforms now offer attractive advertising options for events but Snapchat is currently ahead of the game. With Snapchat’s Geofilters, a brand can effectively sponsor a location or an event. Instagram’s new hashtagging and location tagging in Stories works in a similar way but isn’t yet available as an advertising option. It’s probably only a matter of time until that changes.

The Snapchat vs. Instagram Timeline


  • October: Instagram launches on iOS as a simple platform for sharing photos online


  • July: Snapchat first launches as “Picaboo”, for iOS.
  • September: version 2.0 of Instagram launches with live filters and new image editing features.


  • March: Picaboo becomes Snapchat.
  • April: Instagram is released for Android.
  • April: Facebook acquires Instagram.
  • October: Snapchat launches an Android app.


  • October: Snapchat launches Snapchat Stories, collections of images that can be viewed multiple times over 24 hours.
  • November: Instagram introduces sponsored posts targeting US users.
  • December: Instagram adds Direct, an image based instant messaging feature.


  • May: Snapchat adds ephemeral text chat and video calling.
  • June: Snapchat launches collaborative collections based on events.
  • July: Snapchat introduces Geofilters, a way to location-tag snaps.
  • August: Snapchat adds “Live”, allowing users to follow events live.
  • October: Snapchat announces ads from brands, including paid Geofilters.


  • January: Snapchat launches Discover, featuring content from brands like ESPN, CNN, Vice, National Geographic, Yahoo News, and more.
  • June: Instagram adds multiple calls to action to its advertising product, including installing an app, signing up for comms, or links to purchases.
  • September: Snapchat announces Lenses which attaches AR elements to the user’s face.
  • September: Instagram ads go global.


  • March: Instagram switches from a chronological feed to an algorithm.
  • March: Snapchat launches voice calls
  • June: Snapchat acquires 3D face-scanning startup, Obvious Engineering.
  • July: Snapchat launches Memories, allowing users to save snaps to private collections.
  • August: Instagram launches Stories, collections of images that disappear after 24 hours.
  • August: Instagram launches Events which collates content around events
  • September: Snapchat becomes Snap Inc.
  • October: Facebook filters
  • November: Instagram launches live video, allowing users to stream live for up to an hour. Live videos are not preserved after the broadcast has finished.
  • Live videos on Instagram are not preserved and are removed from the service once November: Instagram launches disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct.
  • November: Instagram Live
  • December: Snapchat introduces group chats for up to 16 people.
  • December: Instagram launches stickers
  • December: Instagram adds location tags and graphics that pull in time and weather data like Snapchat’s Geofilters.


  • February: Instagram launches a feature allowing users to post slideshow-like posts containing up to 10 images.
  • March: Snapchat adds search functionality to stories, allowing users to find events that interest them.
  • April: Snapchat introduces World Lenses, adding augmented reality to snaps.
  • May: Instagram announces Face Filters (AR overlays which attach to facial features) to stories.
  • May: Instagram introduces location and hashtagging on Stories, allowing them to be found in Explore (search).
  • May: Instagram adds links, plus portrait and landscape options to Direct.
  • May: Snapchat announces Custom Stories allowing users to create custom stories around events.

Who Is Winning?

Arguably, Snapchat seems to be leading on innovation and is building a massive user base to go with it. However, Instagram already has a massive audience and recent statistics show that use of the Stories feature is catching up with Snapchat. It’s also worth mentioning that Instagram is a part of the beast that is Facebook. Although the two services remain reasonably separate, Facebook’s might and massive global audience are hard to ignore. The jury is still out on that one.

In Conclusion

Whichever platform wins out, this isn’t an either/or situation. Both Instagram and Snapchat will continue to be used for sharing moments from events and the key to capitalizing on this is the facilitation and motivation of the sharing of moments that matter.

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Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

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