Instagram and Snapchat are two of the most popular apps among today’s youth. For both Millennials and Centennials, being able to capture moments through their day and share those special moments with their friends and family is one of the hallmarks of these technologically savvy generations. However, while these generations certainly use technology more than any other previous generation, are Millennials and Centennials using the same kind of social media in the same way? Or are generational and cultural differences affecting how these two generations use popular social media apps?

Instagram Vs. Snapchat

When Snapchat arrived on the social media scene, it ranked as one of the most popular and innovative photo-sharing services. Snapchat offered such special features as face filters and online stories, which were completely revolutionary to social media. However, in recent years, Instagram, one of Snapchat’s primary competitors, began to directly compete with Snapchat for control of the market. Instagram released Stories, a feature that allowed users to post online videos, a tool that seemed almost identical to that of Snapchat.

Instagram has since boldly continued to release services that largely mimic those original to Snapchat. From face filters to geostickers to ephemeral messaging, Instagram’s new features are almost directly copied from that of Snapchat. As a result of this competition between the two increasingly similar apps Snapchat and Instagram, Millennials and Centennials are being forced to determine which social media platform they will spend the majority of their time on.  

Centennials and Millennials: Which Social Media Platform Wins with Each Generation

Social Media Use

According to a recent YPulse survey, 64% of Centennials aged 13 to 17 claimed general use of Snapchat, while only 51% of Millennials aged 18 to 34 reported using the app. In contrast, 68% of Centennials reported using Instagram while 61% of Millennials claimed use of this social media platform. It would seem that, as a whole, Centennials use social media platforms more often than Millennials, which is most likely reflective of their young age and connection to technology. However, when it comes to the actual app, Instagram only narrowly wins out over Snapchat among Centennials.

Social Media Daily Usage

When questioned which app they use daily, 56% of Centennials stated that they use Snapchat daily, in contrast to only 36% of Millennials. Instagram daily usage looked fairly similar, with 55% of Centennials and 47% of Millennials claiming daily use. It is interesting to note that 11% more Millennials claim to use Instagram more frequently than they do Snapchat. However, among Centennials, the results are almost identical between daily use of Snapchat and Instagram.

Social Media Engagement

When polled about which social media app they post or comment on daily, 48% of Centennials and 24% of Millennials reported doing so on Snapchat. Interestingly, only 38% of Centennials and 23% of Millennials claimed to post or comment daily on Instagram. It then seems that Snapchat sees more active engagement among young Centennials than Instagram does.

The Results

While the actual statistics differ only slightly between Snapchat and Instagram for both Millennials and Centennials, it seems that Instagram is still slightly more popular overall amongst both generations. However, when it comes to daily usage, Snapchat remains more popular for Centennials. And lastly, in regards to user engagement through posts and comments, Snapchat is significantly more popular among Centennials than Instagram.

It seems that while Instagram remains the top choice among Centennials and Millennials as the more popular image-sharing social media platform, Snapchat is not far behind. In fact, with such small margins between Snapchat and Instagram usage among Centennials, it is entirely likely that Snapchat will surpass Instagram as the most popular app among teenagers. Only time will tell. 

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