Both are designed with the main purpose of helping you to schedule your publications on the different social networks.
However, although both have the same purpose, they are a bit different in terms of features.
So let’s see them!
But before that, don’t forget to read our detailed Later Review to better understand this comparison.
Available Social Networks
If what you want to manage is not supported by one of these applications, then the decision is very simple for you.
Buffer Social Networks
Buffer offers 6 channels to connect to:
- Instagram Business Account
- Facebook (Page or Group)
- LinkedIn (Page or Profile)
- Shopify Store
Later Social Networks
Meanwhile, Later will let you connect to:
- Facebook (Page)
- LinkedIn (Profile or Page)
If you haven’t spotted the difference, let me save you the trouble:
- If you want to use a Facebook Group , you need to pick Buffer, as Later only allows you to manage Facebook Pages.
- If you want to use TikTok, you’ll need to pick Later, because at least, by the time of writing this guide, Buffer doesn’t support TikTok scheduling yet.
We could argue about Buffer’s integration with Shopify, but that’s not really a social network.
This integration, only available on paid plans, serves to analyze your sales, and relate them to the source of sales (i.e. each social network).
How many profiles can you handle on the free plan?
A common limitation of this type of tool is that the free plans only allow you to add a certain number of social networks for free.
- Buffer lets you manage 3 channels for free: for instance, your Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
- Later lets you manage the whole 6 channels it offers (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and TikTok)
Clearly, the winner here is Later.
But there is a small caveat to this point.
- Although Later you can add up to the 6 social networks offered, it is only possible to add one of each, so for example, you cannot add two different Twitter profiles (in the free plan).
- Buffer only allows you to manage 3 profiles, but you can distribute them as you want (in the free plan).
How much does it cost to add more social networks?
If you want more freedom when connecting accounts:
- In Later you will have to pay $40/month to be able to add 3 social sets (note, a social set is a pack of the 6 available social networks, so 18 profiles in total) You can add additional sets for $15/month.
- Buffer on the other hand, will start charging you $5/month (in its lowest plan) per channel (social network). So if you wanted to use for example 6 (6x$5) you would already be in the same price range as Later.
The winner here will depend mainly on your needs.
- If for example you only want to manage 3 Twitter profiles, the easiest way is to hire 3x$5 from Buffer = $15 per month.
- But if you want to manage a wider range of networks for each of your projects, it’s cheaper to use Later’s paid plans.
Teams and collaborators
If you want to manage your projects’ social networks with help, then you will need to give other users access to your account to do it properly.
For free, neither Buffer nor Later allows you to give users access.
This is a feature reserved for paid plans.
- Later: on the $40/month plan, you will be able to invite up to 3 users. If you want to invite more people, you will have to use the $80/month plan (6 users). This plan also allows you to add 6 social sets instead of 3.
The Buffer pricing system is a bit more complex.
If you want to add users to your account, you will have to switch to the “Teams” plan, which costs $10 for each channel (instead of $5/month), but you will be able to add unlimited users.
Again, it depends on your personal situation, but having unlimited users seems excessive.
If you only want to work with 1 or 2 extra people (something more common) the jump from $5 to $10 per channel, can skyrocket your monthly costs, although it all depends on the number of social networks you want to manage.
Buffer seems to be more focused on a large company in which many workers can work in the management of the company’s social networks, while Later is more focused on a small group of workers (for example an SEO agency), can manage the social networks of several different projects.
Which one are you?
This part is very simple to explain.
In your free plan:
- Later allows you to schedule 30 monthly posts for each social network (distributed as you want).
- Buffer allows you to keep 10 posts in the queue, so you can for example schedule 5 posts per day.
The best option depends on your publishing style, and how many publications you make.
It’s true that in Buffer there is no monthly limit, but if you have to log into the app every 2 days to reload the queue, scheduling posts stops making a bit of sense.
I personally prefer to schedule one publication a day for the whole month with Later, it is more efficient.
If you want more, you’ll have to move to a payment plan:
- Later ($40 per month) to schedule up to 150 updates per social network (the $15 plan is still limited to 30 updates).
- Buffer. Any paid plan will allow you to store up to 2,000 queued posts.
Again, Buffer’s plan seems excessive, scheduling 2,000 posts in advance is a complex task.
Link in bio minisite
Both Later and Buffer allow you to create for free a home page to add to your social networks to easily redirect the traffic you receive from them wherever you want.
The page that allows you to create Later is more powerful technically speaking, as it allows you to automatically show your latest posts from TikTok, Instagram, or even connect your Shopify account (this only on paid plans).
However, it is more limited on a visual level if you want to use it for free.
The page offered by Buffer, on the other hand, is much simpler, it is very similar to Carrd, and the good thing about it is that it only includes a watermark at the end of the page.
Buffer’s site is much better if you are using the free plan.
Using this type of page will give you the advantage of being able to easily see statistics on which buttons are the most clicked.
Scheduling and auto-publish capabilities
Both platforms work in a similar way when it comes to publishing.
- You can generate publication slots for specific times and days of the week, and easily add content to the empty slots.
- Or you can create publications for specific dates and times.
Both platforms are very similar, as either one will allow you to:
- Publish on several social networks at the same time
- Schedule auto-publishing of carousels on Instagram.
- Auto-post the first comment on Instagram
- Add locations and tag users in your Instagram posts
- Manage hashtags efficiently
- Schedule Instagram Stories (important note: in no case stories are auto-published, they are only scheduled to receive a notification on your mobile, from where you will have to complete them)
- Work from a calendar-style interface
These applications take full advantage of the freedom given by the developers of the different social networks, so it is normal that in terms of scheduling features, they are exactly at the same level.
However, all these options are unlocked in the paid plans, for free, you will only be able to make normal publications (no carousels, stories…) and some options, such as the first comment, will be unavailable.
On both platforms, you will find a tool to manage the comments of the different social networks (called Engagement and Conversations) respectively.
In addition, you will also have access to detailed analytics in both cases.
The one feature that Later has that Buffer doesn’t, is a better content organization, as you can upload media to Later to organize it and/or publish it from the web at a later date.
This is perfect for teamwork, as one designer could take care of this, while another person could take care of the texts.
Buffer has an option to create drafts, but the organization in that sense is less powerful.
On the other hand, Buffer has better integration with other tools.
For example, you can use Canva to design directly from the content creation tool.
It also has integrations with Maker, Zapier, IFTTT, automate.io, WordPress…
Buffer vs. Later, wrap up and opinion, which one is better?
There is no clear winner in this comparison.
The choice depends in part on your needs:
- Do you want to manage TikTok? Then use Later. Do you need to manage a Facebook group? Then use Buffer.
- Do you want to manage one type of social network (e.g. Twitter) for different projects? Then Buffer is cheaper. If you want to manage the whole social network pack for each project, Later is a better option (6 extra social networks for $15/mo instead of $30)
- Later’s free plan is more generous, allowing you to schedule up to 30 publications. Their $40/month paid plan is limited to 150 posts per month, but I also think that’s enough in the vast majority of cases.
- The Link in bio tool from Latter is better than Buffer’s, but it’s very limited at the design level if you don’t upgrade to a paid plan.
- If you want to build some automations, you should better try Buffer.
It allows you to have more profiles for free, more current social networks like TikTok, and if one day you grow enough, their payment plans are more economical in a given situation.
Even so, do not close your mind to these two options, as there are others such as Metricool that could better fit your needs.