Welcome to the age of fast-paced, high-content media — have you seen the newest trend? If not, no worries, because it’s just been replaced with another, much more compelling internet phenomenon. And another. And another. Unfortunately, Googling “latest internet trends” isn’t going to give you or your marketing strategy a full picture of what these social media sites are all about.
But you’re a marketer and you’re ready for the challenge. After all, communicating your brand values and assets to target audiences all over the world is all in a day’s work! When it comes to digital marketing, where user experience reigns supreme, knowing the ins and outs of each app will set you and your brand up for success. We know you don’t have the time in your day to spend hours researching every app and getting acquainted with the demographics, subcultures and general attitudes while producing excellent marketing content — so we’ve done it for you.
Today we’re getting into TikTok vs Snapchat, 2 apps that may just surprise you with how versatile and beneficial they can be to a brand! Let’s start scrolling and tapping and get into it.
TikTok vs Snapchat: Key Differences and Similarities
Maybe you’ve been using these social platforms since they were introduced or perhaps you’ve never been on them a day in your life. Regardless, we’re going to break them down based on the elements that may be helpful for your business — should you choose to take advantage of them.
This social media site is all about that video content, with music as the secondary focus. The creative limits of these videos are pretty much nonexistent: Users can post anything they want — from dances to pranks to informational discussions. Like any social media site, there are guidelines on what can be posted — but these restrictions don’t keep content from being wildly creative and interesting. Algorithms curate a feed that channels new videos into a user’s view based on their interests.
Users film, edit and build their own videos and post them to the world. These can be pieces of short-form video content — even under 15 seconds — or as long as 3 minutes. A few of the app’s features include:
- Video creating, uploading and editing: Users can record or upload their personal content to the app and edit them with playback speed, size or music.
- Filters and effects: Whether users want to add a filter — like the ‘beauty’ filter — to their video, or lip-sync along to music in the app, there are many fun stickers and animations to make video content shine.
- AR features: Augmented reality is popular on many social platforms, and TikTok is no different — users can add accessories digitally for extra enriching effects.
- Exporting to other social media: Videos are easily shared to other social platforms, making content readily transferable.
- Likes and comments: Liked videos collect on one of the pages available to the users, and likes — in the form of hearts — and comments are perusable below the video.
- User tagging: Unlike Instagram’s hashtags, users can tag other ‘TikTokers’ or trends, inviting people to join a challenge — like the Duet challenges — or simply to add to a trend – like the #DatingWrapped trend.
- Reactions: Ever want to see yourself reacting to someone else’s content? Well on TikTok you can! Users can post videos of themselves taking in other videos.
- Live video streaming: Users can film themselves, or events, live in real time, and can even earn money with this feature.
- Geolocation: ‘TikTokers’ can broadcast live to other users in their proximity as well as see if another user is living around them.
These are some of the main elements TikTok provides — although we could fill an entire blog with TikTok’s capabilities. But what about our other contender? Let’s take a look at the fab features Snapchat has to offer.
The much older — in relative terms — app is an instant messaging device where users can send various kinds of media to each other. The catch is that these messages, in whatever form, only last for a short time before they ‘expire’ and are unreachable. The messages can be simply pictures, videos or text (or some combination), and can be uploaded to a story, much like Instagram stories, among other things.
While the thematic consistency between all forms of media is that they are impermanent — and have to be saved intentionally — there are multiple other elements of Snapchat, including:
- Direct messaging: The chat features on this social network allow messages to be sent directly via text, or through videos and photos (that can also include text).
- Snap story: Creators can post snaps — either in photo or video form — on the platform for every follower to see that expire after being visible for 24 hours.
- Lenses and filters: Ever dreamed of having a rainbow come out of your mouth? Or making it look like it’s the first photograph that was ever taken? Snapchat’s lenses and filters are your answer!
- Geofilters (also known as Geotags or community tags): What better way to enjoy a travel destination than with a filter that proclaims your presence there? Now you can have two Eiffel Towers in your photo for double the emphasis.
- Call features: Both voice and video calls are available to users and are another element that connects friends, family and loved ones.
- Memories: If you absolutely loved that image, you don’t have to worry about it expiring permanently — you can save it to your Memories, a file in the app’s gallery. The platform even combines the month’s photos for user perusal, and shares ‘on this day’ reminders so you can reminisce to your heart’s content.
- Snap Map: Your Snap friends and others are posting all around the world, and the Snap Map allows you to enjoy their content. You can browse foreign or neighboring cities and see what’s happening in different areas, as well as which of your friends are there.
- Discover page: Publicly displayed stories are viewable on this page, as are certain brands’ content. The Discover page acts a bit like a news feed, with content from well-known publishers, smaller accounts and compiled public feeds.
Snapchat’s limited-exposure direct messaging format offers a host of fun and exciting features for content creation, these are just the start.
Who Uses What App?
Alright — now you know some of the key elements of each app, but who’s using all of these features? After all, if you’re going to be marketing to these communities you should know who’s on them.
TikTok’s rise in popularity as one of the newer apps on the market, respectively, means it’s attracting lots of attention from younger populations. The New York Times helps us out with the specific breakdown — with a large population of TikTok users in their teens and early 20s.
TikTok’s monthly active users clock in at a whopping 1 billion, with record numbers of downloads across countries.
Snapchat, on the other hand, tends to fluctuate, but Snap statistics show a high of 375 million daily active users on the platform.
As for age, TikTok and Snapchat are quite similar in that their users skew younger — 60% of Snapchat users are 15-25 year olds. The main difference is that the users on TikTok tend to be a little older and a little younger, while Snapchat’s age range is slightly more centralized. Gen-Z users and younger millennial audiences make up the primary users of both platforms.
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How does an interested marketer sort through all of these differences and craft their own content for new audiences? It may be helpful to know a little bit more about how content is delivered to and consumed by these populations.
For instance, while Snapchat’s Discover page is designed specifically for brands, TikTok users have to search for brands outside of their targeted, algorithm-based content feed. If your brand is looking for content that resonates with the most people, putting information on Snapchat Discover may be simpler than producing multiple forms of content for the various algorithms that sort videos into TikTok feeds. However, Snapchat Discover may require its own form of creative production planning, as the content is on an ‘expiration’ timer just like the rest of Snapchat.
In addition, content on Snapchat might be applicable on other social media platforms and tends to follow the Instagram story format — which means that you can still leverage your Snapchat content outside of the app. TikTok videos will need to fit with the short skit, music-focused, looped video style, whether that plays to your team’s strengths or requires a bit of an adjustment. Most brands enjoy the creativity and freedom of TikTok and use it as a place to experiment with new ideas.
Take The Washington Post’s TikTok, for example, which plays with news stories in a TikTok format — mainly skits, videos and lighthearted content.
Compare this to their Snapchat page which is more text-heavy and uses photos to keep followers up to date with news coverage.
Marketing Benefits of Social Platforms
These two apps have quite the reach and performance, but are also drastically different when it comes to their features and intent. This is the ultimate love triangle (except you don’t really have to pick just one, thank goodness!) of brand possibilities. What’s a marketer to do?
Benefits of Marketing on TikTok
If you do choose to promote brand content on TikTok, you may be opening up your brand to a world of possibilities when it comes to outreach. If you can do it well and make your brand assets cohesive, clear and diverse, you may just find your way into hundreds of thousands of user feeds, and see the rewards immediately. Consumers are looking for brands that are fun and engaging, rather than overtly promotional — TikTok is the place to do just that.
Benefits of Marketing on Snapchat
Snapchat can be less video focused, which might be an asset for your brand, with more attention placed on connections. While the duet and trend fashions on TikTok offer some options for communication, Snapchat’s customizable filters, Discover page and Snapchat story feature combined with direct outreach may be just the conversational environment your brand needs to find further success.
Rise to the Challenge of Social Media Today
Your brand and the social media platform of your choice: a match made in heaven — if, of course, you’ve made that connection effectively. These methods of content delivery and production can be enormous assets to your future success, you just have to reach out and tap ‘record.’
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Editor’s Note: Updated March 2023.