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Digital Storytelling: Comparing Social Media Story Platforms

Since the dawn of man, storytelling has been ingrained in us as human beings. From cave paintings to circles around the campfire, our venues for telling stories have varied through the millennia. It’s no surprise that today we are seeing a surge in storytelling in the digital realm—via social media story platforms.

For marketers, stories are a way to make sure that your content is seen beyond social media platforms’ restrictive algorithms. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are some of the current leaders bringing us a means to share our social media stories. But how do they all compare? Which story platform is most frequented by users?


Snapchat, a platform based on fleeting content, was the first among these three to introduce stories—in October 2013. Despite it being the first, Snapchat’s relatively small user base compared to Facebook and Instagram makes it the least preferred among the three, according to a survey by HubSpot. Only 13 percent of 275 U.S. consumers surveyed said they preferred to watch Snapchat stories over stories on Facebook and Instagram.

In addition to it falling last in line, Snapchat is also a fairly difficult platform for smaller businesses. In order to find your account, Snapchat users would have to know it existed and would have to search for you specifically (rather than the follow suggestions available on Facebook and Instagram).


Among these main social media story platforms, Instagram was the second to bring stories to the table—and it has since been highly successful with the feature. Despite its success, Instagram still came in second in HubSpot’s survey of preferred social media story use. Seventeen percent of the survey sample said they preferred to watch stories on Instagram.

Though Gen Z wildly prefers Instagram over Facebook (often dubbing Facebook the “old people” platform), Instagram had just more than 500 million active users in 2019. That’s about a third the amount of active daily users on Facebook (we’ll get to that number in a minute).

But just because Instagram came in second in this small survey does not by any means mean that marketers should shun the idea of using it as a storytelling platform. Instagram’s stories allow for various interaction opportunities, such as questions, polls, stickers and more. Especially if you want your marketing to appeal to a younger demographic, Instagram stories can be a viable tool.


If you’ve done the math, you already know that Facebook dominated the survey about users preferred social media story platforms. A whopping 70 percent said they preferred to use Facebook stories over Instagram or Snapchat. Keep in mind that the survey covered a wide range of demographics—so the results likely would have been different if it was targeted to a specific age group.

Let’s also keep in mind that Facebook had 1.59 billion active daily users in 2019. With Facebook being the world’s current overarching social giant, employing its stories feature in your marketing strategy surely couldn’t hurt. Facebook stories is the first thing that users see above their news feeds—which gives your content a better chance of being seen than via an organic post. Like Instagram, Facebook stories also allow offer the opportunity to promote user interaction in the form of polls, filters and beyond. (Remember, Facebook owns Instagram, so this makes sense).


If you haven’t yet experimented with social media story platforms, in your digital marketing, now is the time to start. Though popular among younger crowds, Snapchat may not be the first story platform you want to peruse—especially if you are a smaller business. If you have your Instagram and Facebook pages linked, it can be especially easy to post to both at the same time. If your target demographic is more mature, give Facebook stories a shot first.

Don’t want to deal with any of it? The McNutt & Partners team would be more than happy to help!

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

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