Instagram vs. Pinterest: What's your choice?

Earlier this month, popular photo sharing applications Pinterest and Instagram rolled out new features that had significant implications for the marketing world.

While Pinterest allowed brands to create a Pinterest account and offer widgets that connected the brands website to its Pinterest page, Instagram added web profiles for its users to create a profile and follow, like or comment on others' pictures and accounts.

However, in a battle amongst the two most well-known photo sharing apps, which has done a better job at luring consumers and marketers? Marketing asked digital industry experts.

According to a study by business data analytics company, Simply Measured conducted this November, 54% of the world's top 100 brands are now connecting with fans and customers on Instagram and that brand adoption of the social media site is growing faster than Pinterest.

"Instagram is, in short, a storytelling service where users produce content primarily with visuals, pegged against a timeline, and it's ability to turn humans into media," Pat Law, managing director of Goodstuph said.

She added that the fundamental rule to effective storytelling is to "show, and not tell" and Instagram's user experience serves that rule "very well and allows brands to show their personalities over time."

Prakash Kamdar, group CEO, TUS Isobar added that one major benefit that Instagram offers over Pinterest is "its close integration with Facebook, which allows users' Instagram likes to be cross-posted on Facebook."

In April this year, Facebook acquired Instagram for US$1 billion, marking the social network's largest acquisition ever.

Kamdar added that Instagram's simple sharing features allow brand owners often to post directly to Facebook and Twitter from Instagram, whereas, Pinterest is not geared towards personal photos but rather "used to build a culture around a brand."

However, Pinterest has one advantage over Instagram- its potential to reach a wider audience, said experts. While Instagram allows companies to upload content, its lack of ability to share it with the wider internet audience, limits the options for brands.

"Although Instagram is entering a wider world of online social media, users can still only add content that's original and there's no "pinning" content from other sites and this is the key factor that will continue to distinguish Pinterest and Instagram," Kamdar said.

"Pinning is as easy as tweeting. For this reason, Instagram will be a limited tool for most businesses."

What's happening in Asia?

While Pinterest remains the third most popular network in US in terms of traffic, its popularity is highly concentrated in US only, according to Pat Law.

"To compare, with mobile surfing being on the rise in Asia, Instagram is becoming the common platform for these markets including China," she said.

Freda Kwok, lead consultant, Blugrapes also seconds the notion that when it comes to Southeast Asia, Instagram is the photo application of choice at the moment and while there was an initial hype about Pinterest, it hasn't gained as much traction.

"The success and appeal of Instagram lies largely on three things, good mobile app experience, personalisation capabilities and easy integration," Kwok said.

"Unlike other platforms which started off for use on a computer, Instagram was developed especially for use on a smartphone. Coupled with the high penetration numbers, this was a key success contributor for Instagram," she added.

In the day and age of digital, when both individuals and brands, want to have a distinct personality online, having the option to customise means sharing content that is reflective of one's personality, tastes and outlook. And that is Instagram's strength, according to Kwok.