Monday, 31 July 2017

13 tips to help your app stand out
13 tips to help your app stand out
The App Store is a handy place to find just the right app for any circumstance. However, there are a lot of solutions to particular problems out there, so it’s easy for a laundry list of programs to clutter a list of options, hiding your gem.
You’ve spent a lot of time and resources making sure your app is just right. So how do you make sure people can find it? To find out, I asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council:
The App Store is inundated with new products every day. What is one way for a brand to promote its app without getting lost in the abyss?
Their best answers are below:
1. Start with a super-niche focus 
It may seem obvious, but your company should find a super-niche in which to put your app. Once you begin to get some traction and sign-ups, incentivize people to provide reviews. Once you are able to do so, you can begin to widen the focus of the niche in which you want to operate. As you get some positive reviews — and more and more clout — you’ll be able to compete with the major players. – Bryce WelkerCrush The CPA Exam

2. Improve App Store optimization 
In the latest WWDC, Apple shared that 65% of app installs come from search, and with 500 million weekly visitors, that’s a lot of searches. These numbers are incredibly impressive, and from an App Store optimization standpoint, really highlight the need for a strong organic presence. Leverage ASO: It’s still one of the most under-utilized app marketing strategies today. – Rahul VarshneyaArkenea

3. Look at hiring growth-hacking companies 
Growth-hacking companies specifically work in the realm of blending technology and marketing to help promote apps and other products. In the App Store, specifically, you could look at a way to increase searches or downloads for your app, which can increase its rank. Growth-hacking companies can typically line you up with influencers for these types of promotions. – Andy KaruzaFenSens

4. Develop a presence on Product Hunt 
Join the Product Hunt community, then be helpful and active. When you’re ready to launch your app, Product Hunt is a fantastic place to post it and drive more attention to the App Store. – Ben LangSpoke

5. Go to tech-oriented meetup groups 
Meet people. Talk about your app. Get feedback (play to their ego). Ask them if they’d be interested in receiving communication from you. You’ll create a far more responsive database of contacts by creating a personal connection with them first. – Karl KangurMRR Media

6. Reach out to your customer base 
When we release a new app, we reach out to our existing customer base early on (to get feedback) and then when we launch (to get support). Because these customers already have a positive association with our brand, and because they participated in the app creation, they download, rate and share the app, helping us rank well. We now have several apps in the Top 3 for their target keywords. – Bhavin ParikhMagoosh Inc

7. Focus on pain points solved 
Launch and talk about it on your social media sites with a link to the App Store so it can be found and purchased or downloaded as easily as possible. Focus the content on the benefits and pain points it addresses. – Peter DaisymeDue

8. Leverage the network effect 
Like fax machines did in the early days and social networks do today, promote your app using the network effect. By encouraging a user to get another person to use a product for a personal benefit (you can’t make a friend online if they are not on the same platform), you get your users to spread the word for you. Build apps that require the network effect, and your users will promote it for you. – Diego OrjuelaCables & Sensors

9. Use social media influencers 
Influencers are the best promoters for any product or app, as they already have a steady stream of strong and loyal followers who will likely buy your product based on testimony. It is cheaper to utilize their influence and will help you establish a wide customer base, as they continually advertise your product over various social media channels. – Daisy JingBanish

10. Advertise through podcasts 
Podcasts are a relatively new marketing opportunity, but they can be a great way to reach out to a well-targeted audience. Whichever niche your app intends to serve, you’ll find at least a few popular podcasts with a built-in audience of engaged listeners, many of whom are enthusiastic early adopters. – Vik PatelFuture Hosting

11. Tap into iOS App Store search ads 
Apple recently introduced advertising to the iOS App Store. Many app developers are using App Store advertising to show ads for their apps when the user searches for competing applications. It’s an effective way to get your apps at the top of a relevant search, particularly for newer applications that aren’t likely to benefit from a prominent position naturally. – Justin BlanchardServerMania Inc.

12. Drive people to your website 
I have a great simulator for garage doors, but you cannot find it in the App Store because it is impossible to compete. Make a simple web page that has the app downloads on the bottom. Spend all your time sharing the web page with a video that explains what the app is and how to use it. That is exactly what I did and the app is doing amazing! – Tommy MelloA1 Garage Door Repair

13. Get it right, then amplify
While you need to get the app off the ground, make sure you’re getting good feedback from your users. A bad rating can really stall future growth. Get it right before you grow, and once you’re ready for prime time, use paid media to kickstart your growth. Between Google, Facebook and Twitter, there a lot of really good ways to promote your app. – Dan GoldenBFO (Be Found Online)

7 Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Marketing Strategy
Facebook Marketing Tips
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) advertising can be overwhelming, especially if you are working on your first campaign. Before you jump in and get started, use these Facebook marketing tips to help you make the most of your time, effort, and budget.

Facebook Marketing Tips

Start with a Clear Goal

Before you can create any kind of successful Facebook advertising campaign, you must define your goals and the metrics you’ll need to measure to determine how successful the campaign is. This will set the stage for the methods you’ll use to optimize the campaign, so skipping this step will be costly to your ROI.
Common Facebook advertising goals include:
  • Generating sales: Your approach will vary depending on whether you’re in the B2C or B2B sector. When in the B2C, your best bet is to use page post ads to promote in the news feed, where you can use larger images to promote your products and services. When in the B2B sector, you should use both page post ads and right-hand column ads to focus on acquiring more leads you can nurture through the sales funnel to convert to sales. Your goal is to send more traffic to your website or landing page, and you should target based on interests, age range, and gender (if appropriate.)
  • Building more brand awareness: Use page like ads to get more likes for your page. You should aim for likes only from highly targeted people, so it means using targeting competitors, similar interests, and custom audiences to get newsletter subscribers to like your Facebook page. Exclude people who are already fans of your page to avoid wasting ad spend.
  • Getting more engagement on your posts: Use link ads, photo ads, and video ads to get more engagement for your posts. Your ad creatives should be extremely visual with stellar photos. If you’ve built a relevant audience, start by advertising to them. If not, target people who fit your ideal customer persona based on interests, age, gender, and purchasing behaviors.
  • Getting installs of your mobile app: Use the mobile app ads for install ad type. Once your app is published in the app store, you should implement Facebook event tracking. Use app screenshots in your creative, and target based on the audience you believe to be most interested.
  • Increasing app usage and profit: Use mobile app engagement ads. These people have already installed your app, so be specific as possible and use the ad to direct users exactly where you want them to go. Use custom audience targeting. Use event tracking in your app so you can see what each user is doing and use that to target them precisely.

Keep Desktop and Mobile Ads Separate

Facebook gives you the option to run various ad types in different locations. You can run on mobile newsfeed, desktop newsfeed, right column, and Instagram. It’s a good idea to keep your desktop and mobile ad campaigns completely separate, even if you’re aiming to achieve the same goal.
Keeping them separate allows you to optimize your ads, bids, and conversions based on device. Your ads and calls to action are likely to perform differently on desktop than they would on mobile, so your ad setup needs to fact that in. If you’re using the Power Editor to design and build your ads, then you can choose the device targeting on the ad set menu.

Test Different Images

Images will draw attention to your ads, but no two images will perform the same way. That’s why you should test the same ad copy with different images, to see which ones your audience responds to better. Then, stop running ad campaigns that use the images with the lower click through rates and conversions, so you can maximize your ROI.

Use Lookalike Audiences

A Facebook Lookalike Audience is a list of users who have similar characteristics to your website custom audience. You can use it to find other people who are already like your customers, or to find people like the ones who are already like your page.
If you want to create a lookalike audience, login to the Facebook ads manager and click audiences. From there, click “Create audience” and choose “Lookalike audience” from the dropdown menu.
Then, choose the source of your look alike audience, such as the people who already like your page, or the people who’ve visited the thank you page on your website. Choose your target company, and select your audience size. The smaller audience size you choose, the more targeted it will be.

Use the Remarketing Pixel

Any potential customers who’ve visited your website from any traffic source, but didn’t convert, are likely comparing prices and providers. They’re in the research phase and are trying to get the best possible deal. So, by the time they’re ready to actually make a purchase, chances are high they’ve forgotten about you.
The Facebook remarketing pixel allows you to target people who’ve visited your website in the past on Facebook with ads. This is an excellent way to make the most of traffic that originally came to you from AdWords. All you have to do to setup a remarketing pixel is login to your Facebook advertising manager, click on Audiences, then click “Custom Audience and Website Traffic.” From there, you’ll be able to start the process of creating a remarketing pixel.
You’ll need to install the code in the footer of your website. It may take a day or so to start pulling in data, but you can then go back to your website traffic menu and choose “people who visit specific web pages.” From there, you’ll be able to create lists of people who are visiting a certain page on your website, and target them or exclude them from your campaigns.
One of the best ways to make use of this is to exclude anyone who has visited your thank you page, since they have already converted. You’re not wasting time or money advertising to them.

Target Your Email List

Facebook lets you create a custom audience based on your email list. Create a .CSV or .TXT file with a single email address per row. Remove any other data your email marketing platform includes in your exported file.
Click “Audiences” and click “Create Audience.” Then choose “Custom Audience” and “Customer List”. From there, you’ll be able to upload your list.
You can also upload a list of phone numbers and target those people on Facebook ads, but it only works if their phone number is listed in their account. You can create a lookalike audience based off of these targeted lists, too.

Schedule Your Ads

On Facebook, you can segment your ads by days and hours, if you have a lifetime budget, rather than a daily budget option. This issue is why many businesses aren’t using this feature. If you use this approach, you’ll need to think of the total budget of your ad set. If you don’t have a successful performance pattern over time, then don’t use this setting. It’s not a good option for the first run of an ad for testing purposes.
If you have an ad you know works, you can set up the days and times you want it o run in the budget and schedule section of your ad set.

Use Carousel Ads

If your audience seems to respond well to a series of product images, you can combine those images into a single ad with the carousel ad. This is a newer ad type that allows you to show more than one image at once within a single ad. Ecommerce brands can use dynamic product ads that allow them to cross-sell complementary products, or even retarget customers who click through to their websites, but don’t make a purchase.
Ecommerce brands can also improve their Facebook marketing strategy using multi-product ads. This allows you to show multiple products in a single ad, giving customers more to choose from.  You can also use these ads to show different benefits of a single product. An Adobe study showed these ads are more cost efficient per acquisition, saving you up to 35 percent in cost per click because of higher engagement. And, they can boost your click through rate as much as 50 percent to 300 percent.

Advertise on Instagram, Too

Since Facebook owns Instagram, you can create the same ads on Instagram that you can run on Facebook. You can choose to run your campaigns solely on Facebook, or duplicate them on Instagram. If you know your audience can be found there too, then it’s a good way to build more traction.
The key with Facebook is to segment, and run multiple ads on a small scale to see what works before spending more money. Always be testing, and paying attention to your conversions.

Friday, 28 July 2017

A Game Changer For Your Marketing Strategies
mobile technology
The most unapologetic business model in today’s time is nothing, but mobile technology, which has penetrated our requirements and has covered the entire hub of different businesses. When it comes to the success of a business, the first thing which strikes our brain is marketing after the quality service, but without marketing, no service can gain attention in this era, where every industry oozes out the competition bug and to survive you need to be different from others. Marketing is a wide spectrum, which can never be cited at one place; rather it is a huge landscape, which keeps on evolving as per the demand of the users.
Technology has invaded every sector and every industry and it is nothing new that mobile technology has brought the world to an axis point where we all can access the services set at the thousand miles away with just a tap on our mobile phone. The mobile technology has brought a revolutionary change in the marketing strategies for all business types and the number of benefits to be gained from is beyond explanation even. If you are still confused that how mobile technology has redefined the marketing game, then you must read ahead…
Taking Marketing To The Next Level With Beacons
When customers enter a shop for in-store shopping, the most beautiful experience they can have, with a personalized treatment they receive from the retailer. With Beacons you can welcome the customers entering the store or any specific department in the store, the customers can be retargeted based on their shopping history. From the marketing, perspective Beacons come handy for many reasons, wherein you can create a personalized experience for your customers and you can create a robust marketing chain by creating more filtered marketing targets on your customers and can engage the customers further with the promotional or any discount offers. Beacons actually turn the game of entire shopping experience by sending the discounts or most recommended product’s information to the customers in the vicinity. Also, the live events and exhibition can have impressive promotional aspects with Beacons, which allows the exhibitors to display their information, maps, product details, and offers in a real-time scenario to the customers.
Boosting Marketing With Augmented Reality
It would be wrong not to mention the Augmented Reality in this blog because the entire concept of marketing is redefined with the integration of Augmented reality. If you wonder how, then lemme cite an example to you, many international brands use AR to display their products to customers without even visiting their outlet, a clothing retailer can use augmented reality as a virtual fitting room, so the customers can try everything virtually before placing an online order, on the other hand, a furniture store can place virtual furniture inside of homes to check, a real-estate agent can show the numbers of properties  to customers, without walking down till the destination, just like these, other industries are also taking numerous benefits from the integration of AR in their marketing strategy and helping the potential customers to get in touch with the businesses to utilize their offered services.
Chabot Revolution
When you want to shop something online, and suddenly the suggestions you get from the app, helps you to pick your choice more easily, this is done through chat bots, which is a computer program mimicking intelligent conversations with humans. With chatbots, various brands interact with their customers and let them experience the best user experience. Chatbots are created with a goal to let the users search for information, get answered for their queries, with these qualities Chatbots indeed has turned the most innovative and engaging tool for marketing perspective, helping the brands to reach out to a wider audience and keep them engaged. The most popular Social media channels like Facebook Messenger, Google, Microsoft Skype, Salesforce, Slack, Twitter DM, WeChat and many others, have adopted the chatbots to engage the users with a unique conversational experience.
Keeping Customers Engaged
Mobile apps are entering the market every passing minute, making the business of mobile app tougher than ever before. Due to a large number of mobile apps available in the app world, users get various options at their fingertips, causing the mobile apps to fight for their survival. To keep the users engaged, every app development company is investing their efforts so their users would not suffer from app fatigue, and the push notifications and messages are there to rescue the mobile apps from app fatigue. The crisp and personalized content of the messages, help the marketers to reach out to their targeted users and retain their user base.
Mobile Apps are an integral part of marketing and help the businesses to expand and to reach out to targeted customers, but unless these strategies are integrated by an industry professional, you can never gain success. So you must get your mobile app developed by a mobile app development company so your mobile app coupled with the above-mentioned technologies would bring the remarkable change in your business revenue.
So keep rocking and keep scaling further in your business domain with a help of a perfect mobile app solution….

Bitcoin's place in the fintech conversation

Fintech isn't just the new kid on the block anymore, it's got some serious dough behind it.
report by Nordic Startup Bits said that investments in fintech grew from $4 billion in 2013 to $12 billion in 2014. In 2015, fintech added another $19 billion, according to a report by Business Insider.
The total inflow continued to rise in 2016, as companies worldwide invested an aggregate of $24.7 billion in 1,076 individual deals with fintechs, according to a comprehensive report by KPMG.
The funds are pouring in from all around the globe, led by investments in China, where Ant Financial, a subsidiary of internet giant Alibaba, took in $4.5 billion, in a single investment round that accounted for half of all funds flowing into Asian fintech for the year, according to KPMG.
With all this enthusiasm, we have to ask firstly whether it's really worth it to partner with fintech ... and secondly, what role bitcoin and blockchain play in the equation?
Bitcoin itself plays a key role in many fintech companies, such as U.K. startup Revolut, which allows users to track, spend and transfer bitcoin and other virtual and fiat currencies.
"Bitcoin completely democratizes finance because of its low barriers to entry and incredibly diverse set of use cases, from use as a simple online currency to mobile payments, remittances, smart contracts and even as a store of wealth," Michael Vogel, CEO of GoNetcoins, wrote in an email to Blockchain Tech News.
It makes sense that fintech companies such as Revolut would choose bitcoin, because it fits the fintech image of a decentralized, democratized banking process. Fintechs make good partners, given their similarly innovative spirit, but big banks have benefits to offer as well, according to Vogel.
"As with any industry, startups typically have more freedom to innovate without constraints than large companies, however traditional banks are now more eager than ever to innovate, especially in the bitcoin and blockchain industry," Vogel wrote. "Banks are keen to lower costs and offer new and unique services that attract new customers."
The blockchain is another key component to consider on the topic of banks and fintech companies. While banks are beginning to innovate with blockchain tools, they are still moving slowly.
"Even though banks and other corporations are currently looking into blockchain, it will take a while before they adopt the technology," Joe Fernandez, communications lead at Lisk, wrote in an email to Blockchain Tech News. "Banks are relatively rigid and careful with upgrading their current architecture."
On the other hand, fintech companies regularly utilize blockchain technology. One example is Chain, a business that develops blockchain networks specifically for financial products and services.
Waves, a decentralized platform, also recently started work on a blockchain fintech project to provide financial groups with personal finance management systems, payments, investment systems, peer-to-peer services and transfers.
Another financial segment where fintech products are introducing new and innovative processes is remittances and cross border payments.
"Ultra-low-cost remittance is one of the killer applications of bitcoin and blockchain technology, and it will eventually be the only form of remittance, even bank-to-bank remittances," Vogel wrote. "Swift is actually in the midst of a pilot to test blockchain technology for instant settlements."
Fintech organizations might be innovative, but they still face considerable challenges in terms of regulation, as regulators finally begin to catch up to the new technology. A past article on Blockchain Tech News noted that there is still a great deal of grey area in regulations — and many companies, especially those in the financial sector, tend to run when they see grey.
Fintechs can be exciting partners in innovation, and the advancements and efficiencies they promise for the financial industry seem to indicate that they'll be a highly worthwhile partner, indeed.
The currently red-hot-lava fintech investment market ultimately will begin to cool and harden into a more permanent shape, as all game-changing technologies eventually do. Then we'll have a much better idea as to the actual nature and size of the role fintech can play in the future of financial services.
For the moment, though, it seems almost limitless.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

How Paid Social Can Help with Your Destination Marketing
Socialmedia has grown and developed enormously over the past few years – for businesses as well as for people. Social media platforms are now spaces where companies can promote themselves and engage with their customers like never before.
As a leisure and tourism company, you can now use paid social media advertising to attract visitors to your exciting destinations and increase your conversion rates.
In this article we explain exactly why paid social is such an important strategy today, and why it performs well for so many destination marketing campaigns around the world.
Brand Awareness
Social ads help to increase brand awareness, because more people learn about your business and will be more likely to engage with it in the future once they begin to recognise you. Ads like this shouldn’t necessarily aim to generate sales or increase conversion rates – at least not immediately; they are more broad and they simply aim to ensure that more people know about your business.
But don’t be put off by this. Just because your ad doesn’t bring in plenty of sales right away, that doesn’t mean creating the ad has been a waste of money. Ads like this are perfect if you’re hoping to reach more people at the top of the funnel: those who won’t necessarily buy from you straight away but may do in the future after becoming more familiar with your brand.
So if you’re creating an ad to improve brand awareness, the style of your ad should be quite broad too. The ad should focus on just an image or a video that encapsulates your brand persona, rather than promoting a specific product or service.

For example, Air New Zealand increased its brand awareness with a recent campaign that encouraged Californians to visit New Zealand. By using images, humour and a snappy strapline, Air New Zealand made people more aware of their brand without specifically promoting an offer or a flight.
Targeting the Right Audience
Social ads also allow you to target specific audiences, so you can reach people who love your brand already but you can also advertise to potential new customers too. Firstly, it’s important to choose theright social media platform for you.
There are more than 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users around the world, and 82% of 18-29-year-olds use Facebook more than any other social media platform – so it’s ideal if you’re targeting younger audiences. Twitter has more than 750 million members, and users are mainly 18-29 years old too. The majority of LinkedIn’s 450 million members are aged 18-65, so that platform is probably the most suitable if you’re a B2B company and you’re targeting professionals of all ages.
Once you’ve decided on the right platform, you can target your ads to reach precise audiences. For example, across all platforms you can target people based on their gender, age, occupation and interests. On Facebook, you can even target people who are likely to encounter key life events, such as moving home, changing job, and celebrating important anniversaries.
So if you’re a travel company, for example, you can advertise special wedding anniversary packages to couples, honeymoons to newlyweds, and group holidays to under-25s. By targeting your ads like this on the right platforms, you can make sure that you’re reaching the right people who are most likely to buy from you eventually.
Social Engagement
If you’re looking to improve your overall social engagement, social ads are a wise place to start. Social engagement covers everything from views and shares to likes and reactions. Videos in particular receive plenty of social engagement across all social channels, and if they’re boosted by ads, they can receive even more.
According to the social media tool Quintly, Facebook videos receive, on average, 62% more engagement than posts or adverts featuring images – and when those videos are promoted through ads, engagement increases even more.
Make sure that your videos are engaging as soon as they begin – you can achieve this by delivering an emotive message, or by keeping the viewer guessing about what will happen in the video.
There are other simple but effective things you can do to ensure that your video ads receive high engagement too. By just adding good thumbnails and targeting the ads well – for example, by only targeting mobile devices when they’re connected to WiFi – you can ensure that your ads are optimised and have the best chance of maximising engagement.
Dove recently ran a Facebook ad campaign that was both emotive and well optimised. The campaign featured young girls with curly hair and had the strapline “Only 4 out of 10 curly haired girls think their hair is beautiful.” By creating such an emotive video and boosting it with some paid Facebook advertising, the video was a huge success and received plenty of engagement.
Increasing Conversions
Improving brand awareness, increasing social engagement, and making sure that you target the right audiences are all essential goals for your business – and social media advertising can help you to achieve all of them. Of course, after investing in these adverts, your company will want to see a return on that investment by seeing an increase in conversions and sales.
You can make sure that you’re creating the right ads and increasing conversions by using Twitter tracking. This will show you how your spend contributes to specific goals like conversions, it will reveal which kind of ads are working the best for you, and it will show which devices your target audiences are most likely to interact with your ads on.
Tripcase is a good example of a travel company that used Twitter advertising to target the right audiences and thereby increase conversions. Tripcase is a free app allows travellers to manage and organise their trips in a single, convenient place that provides services like online check-in, itinerary planning and messaging. The company targeted 18-25-year-olds from all around the world who use Android and iOS devices, and found that people who downloaded the app from Twitter were 25% more likely to be engaged with the app and use it on a regular basis. So not only did Twitter advertising increase sales, it also increased app engagement and ensured that more people were using the app frequently.
Using Paid Social in Your Digital Marketing Strategy
There are many benefits to using paid social. Whether you want to improve your brand awareness or increase your conversions during a period of low sales, paid social can promote your brand to new and existing customers as part of a well-structureddestination marketing strategy. So whatever your digital strategy is this year, make sure you look into the benefits of paid social and how it can give a real boost to your business.

Monday, 24 July 2017

We compared Snapchat and Instagram to find out which app is better — here's the winner

Instagram vs SnapchatWe pitted Instagram (left) and Snapchat (right) in a head-to-head competition.About a year ago, Instagram launched a near identical version of one of Snapchat's main features, Stories. The new Instagram feature had the same name, a similar look, and the same premise: Friends could share photo and video updates on their profiles that would disappear after 24 hours. The launch of Instagram Stories was just the beginning. Over the course of this past year, Instagram has added face filters, location tags, stickers, drawing tools, and disappearing photo messages in what has turned into a fierce competition between the two social apps. But now, Instagram has eclipsed Snapchat in daily users. The Facebook-owned app announced in June that it had more than 250 million users creating Stories every day. More people are using Instagram Stories than the entirety of the Snapchat app, which had a total of 166 million daily users as of May. As the battle wages on, one question remains: Which app is actually better? We decided to compare and contrast six core features that the two apps share to find out. Test No. 1: Stories
Test No. 1: Stories
Business Insider
The concept of ephemeral "stories" was the first Snapchat product Instagram cloned, so it makes the most sense to start there.
In looking at Stories on both platforms, I compared both products from a holistic standpoint, rather than trying to compare individual features (like stickers, filters, and drawings). I cared more about the overall experience: Was the Stories feature easy to find within the app? Did it move from story to story smoothly? And did I finish watching stories feeling satisfied with the experience? 


I like how Instagram Stories appear right at the top of the home screen. I see the new Stories as soon as I open the app, which entices me to open them before scrolling through my feed. The availability of them makes them more appealing. 
The downside of Instagram Stories is the fact that they autoplay. Because people can see when you've viewed their story, this is a dangerous game Instagram is playing. What if you autoplay a frenemy's story? What if you accidentally watch your ex-boyfriend's story? This is a hazardous feature and makes watching Stories on Instagram more difficult. 


Snapchat, mercifully, seems to have done away with autoplay for the time being (although Stories have autoplayed in the past, or you were given the option to add them to a queue). Having the option to pick and choose whose Story you want to watch is a perk, although it tends to make me much more selective than I would be on Instagram. 
The major downside of Snapchat Stories is the fact that you have to swipe to the left to see them within the app. Plus, I'm not as motivated to open Snapchat just watch my friends' Stories, since there's nothing else to look at while I'm in there — unless you count Discover which, quite frankly, I don't.
Business Insider
The user experiences of the stories themselves are almost identical. Photos and videos play through automatically, or you can tap the screen to move on to the next one. Tapping on the left side of the screen will rewind to the previous frame. 
The only major difference between uploading content to either app is that Snapchat allows you to choose the length of time someone can view an image for, while Instagram does not. 

Winner: Instagram

For me, the extra swipe to get to the story, plus the lack of additional engaging content within Snapchat were major turn-offs. 

Test No. 2: Direct messaging

Test No. 2: Direct messaging
Business Insider


Disappearing photo and video messages are Snapchat's bread and butter, and have been around much longer than Instagram's version. That said, older doesn't necessarily mean better. 
Snapchat has the advantage of simplicity: You send a message, someone looks at it, and it's gone. Same goes for direct messaging: The conversation hangs around for a few messages, but if you close the conversation or quit the app, those messages will disappear as well. That's a huge plus, and what's made Snapchat so popular over the years. 
That said, Snapchat's interface lacks sophistication. The colors are too garish, the typeface isn't stylish, and the varied bubbles and colors for different types of messages looks messy. Plus, for the life of me, I can't remember what the various symbols — yellow heart, sunglasses emoji — next to different conversations with friends even mean. 


Instagram's direct messaging interface is one I use often to communicate with friends and family. I'll share posts I see around Instagram, send links to products I'm interested in, and reply to peoples' stories. The interface is beautiful and well-integrated with other aspects of the app.
That said, the direct messaging section of Instagram takes several swipes and clicks to navigate to. While Snapchat's is always just one or two swipes away, Instagram's is more hidden. Plus, the addition of disappearing messages feels like an unnecessary copycat move. Instagram seems like they're trying to make a full-service communication center, and I don't feel like I need it. 

Winner: Snapchat

Sometimes you just can't beat simplicity. 

Test No. 3: Face filters

Test No. 3: Face filters
Business Insider


Snapchat will forever be, as the kids say, the O.G. of face filters. They were the first to build them in a fun, easy-to-use way, and they remain the best at coming up with new and creative filters. I stand firm in my belief that face-swap is one of the most hilarious creations in Snapchat's history. 
What puts Snapchat a cut above is the animations. The fact that the dog filter not only makes me look like a puppy, but also gives me a dog tongue that can make dog licking sounds is just as mind-blowing to me as it is to my 2-year-old niece. Snapchat understands that it's here to entertain and delight, which its face filters consistently accomplish. 


Instagram is still new to the face filter game — and it so blatantly copies Snapchat in this regard that it's almost embarrassing. And if we're doing an apples-to-apples comparison, Instagram's dog filter pales in comparison to Snapchat's. 
What Instagram has to its advantage is its artistry and design prowess. While Snapchat has been accused of blatantly ripping off lesser-known artists' designs, Instagram is more original in — most of — its designs, and they're better rendered. Even the dog filter, which is a copycat, is more lifelike and nicer looking than Snapchat's — it even has individual hairs. Overall, Instagram filters are less cartoonish. 
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Where things get tricky is with Instagram's and Snapchat's so-called "pretty filters." Snapchat is known for its filters that give you brighter, clearer skin, bigger eyes, and longer eyelashes. Its filters thin you out and take years off your skin with the click of a button. This is something Instagram appears to shy away from, but whether it's because the app is taking some ethical stance or because it doesn't have the technology is unclear. 
In this particular case, it's up to user preference. For me, the momentary gratification of looking significantly prettier than I actually am is fun, but ultimately makes me feel silly and shallow. I prefer the more realistic picture that Instagram paints for me.

Winner: Snapchat

Despite Snapchat's flaws and questionable tendencies, the app remains the best in this particular category. While Instagram may soon catch up, it's firmly in second place for now. 

Test No. 4: Location tags

Test No. 4: Location tags
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This may seem like an in-the-weeds category, but it's one I use all the time on both apps, and is my favorite filter or sticker to employ. 
The best thing about Instagram's location tag is how ridiculously easy it is to use. You slap it on your screen, tweak the size, angle, location, or even color, then decide exactly what you want the location to say. That level of customization is unparalleled, and it makes the user experience more fun. 
For me personally, the location tag is one of my favorite ways to keep up with my friends, who are very far-flung, and to let them know what I'm up to. It may seem like a small, frivolous perk, but it's one of the best things about Instagram Stories.


Snapchat did the whole location thing first, and its initial attempts were just OK. The current iteration of the location filters are better, but they're also worse: Because people can now sponsor filters, you often have to scroll through several Sephora, Victoria's Secret, or Michael Kors filters to get to one that isn't branded.
Another major downside is that the location filters are typically huge, and you can't change their size or their location on your screen. Oftentimes I struggle to use them because they're covering up a crucial part of my photo. And while they're sometimes beautifully done — the Manhattan filter is a particular favorite — they're oftentimes tacky or overblown. 

Winner: Instagram

Test No. 5: Stickers and photo filters

Test No. 5: Stickers and photo filters
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Stickers and photo filters are a prime example of quality over quantity.
With Instagram, you're only served a few filters and a handful of stickers. It's simple, well-designed, and to the point. That said, Instagram doesn't change up its sticker selection very frequently, and I've never seen anyone actually use that photo filter that's essentially just turns your photo the colors of Instagram's logo. This is an area where the app isn't really innovating, and there's room for improvement. 
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Snapchat's sticker and filter assortments are completely overwhelming. There are too many Bitmoji, too many emoji, and too many different types of sparkles. The photo filters are fine, but nothing to write home about. 
To me, it seems like Snapchat has no rhyme or reason as to what stickers and filters it adds, making the photo editing tools haphazard at best — convoluted and confusing at worst. 

Winner: Nobody

Do better, guys.

Test No. 6: Drawing on photos

Test No. 6: Drawing on photos
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The ability to draw on photos receives its own separate category because the two apps handle it so differently — specifically, Instagram is great, and Snapchat is basic. 


Instagram's drawing tools are fantastic. The app offers three different types of pens in a wide array of colors, an eraser, and a rainbow marker. The tools are quick, responsive, and they make your handwriting look great, even if it's not. 
The neon tool is the obvious winner in the category. The fact that you can make your handwriting look like a neon sign is incredibly cool, and the results are just plain beautiful. 


Snapchat has changed next to nothing about its drawing tool since the app debuted. Case closed. 

Winner: Instagram

Bonus: Boomerang

There is no Snapchat equivalent to Boomerang — yet — and it's one of Instagram's best features. Boomerang used to only exist in a standalone app, but Snapchat has since added it as a feature within the Instagram camera, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's one of the most-used features. It's fun, it's free-spirited, and it makes any videos you shoot look, well, cooler. Many an Instagram story would not have been possible without the powers of Boomerang.

Bonus: Snapchat's editing tools

Bonus: Snapchat's editing tools
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Many of Snapchat's photo-editing tools are on the newer side, like the option to paint specific items in a photo a different color, or to overlay something within the photo over a background after you've already shot the photo. Plus, the option to make a sticker out of anything can lead to some hilarious Snaps. These tools are fun to play around with, but make creating a single image a more time-consuming process.

Bonus: Snapchat's AR capabilities

Snapchat is unparalleled when it comes to using augmented reality. The app recently became internet famous for its dancing hot dog, and several of its other filters include the ability to place animations in the real world. No one else is doing this yet, and the results are both hilarious and impressive. 

Overall winner: Instagram

Overall winner: Instagram
Snapchat fans probably won't want to hear it, but Instagram is doing many of the things Snapchat does — and doing them better. Plus, Instagram has the added benefit of the fact that it was already running an entirely separate and successful enterprise before Snapchat came along. Anything else Instagram adds now is purely an extra advantage layered on top of its already massively successful app. 
Instagram has a more sophisticated, forward-thinking design and user experience, and while it's lagging behind Snapchat in some areas, it's already proven itself worthy (if not better). 
If there's one category Snapchat is consistently beating Instagram in, it's good, old-fashioned fun. Snapchat doesn't take itself too seriously and that shows in several facets of its app. Instagram could stand to benefit from loosening up its top button and adding a bit more whimsy and silliness into its platform. 
But at the end of the day, the proof of a successful app is a basic one: How often it's being used. I open Instagram almost anytime I have downtime. Snapchat? In the past, it was hourly. These days? Once a week — maybe.