Here’s my secret:
I honestly didn’t know how to use Snapchat until a couple of months ago.
I actually learned about Snapchat through Instagram when people I follow started posting their versions of smiley puppy selfies. They even have video clips for them too! Every time they open their mouths, a giant massive tongue will pop out…. twisting and tilting their head a little bit, SUPER CUTE! I want one. How can I get one? I called my trend guru, my younger sister.
“It’s ‘Snapchat’ and you have to HAVE it!”, she said. Apparently, everyone’s on it. As a future marketer, I felt the urgency to download it and explore how it functions.
Originally launched in 2011 by CEO Evan Spiegel based on a unique idea of sending photos and videos to friends who can only view the snaps for up to 10 seconds then they will disappear forever, Snapchat rapidly became a huge hit among teenagers. Today, according to Statista, U.S. teenagers in Spring 2016 voted Snapchat as the most important social network of their generation and as of May 2016, it had generated over 10 billion mobile video views per day. Thanks to my sister, now I am part of the trendy youngster group and can proudly call myself a ‘Snapchatter’!
As recently as March 2nd, 2017, Snap Inc. has entered and begun trading on the New York Stock Exchange with an initial valuation of $24 billion and as a result is once again under the spotlight. The real question is, how can Snapchat sustainably thrive and stay cool among its competitors? I came across this article on Adweek about ‘7 Challenges Snapchat’s Parent Company Has to Overcome Before It Can Be Wall Street’s ‘New Facebook’’ and it has some interesting points worth discussing.
Because we are living in a fast-paced world, I agree with the article when it says Snapchat’s user base must continue to expand, in regards to age base and internationally. It’s actually very interesting for me to learn that Snapchat’s audience is growing thanks to older Americans in the 45-to-54 years old age bracket, while younger consumer groups like the Millennials are actually declining. Why? The answer is because Instagram is pulling some younger visitors away. However, I do think that there is a silver lining in this. Growing its customer base can turn into a great opportunity if Snapchat knows how to take advantage of this and monetize effectively. Growing its user base is surely key and make them stay competitive.
Instagram Stories is definitely Snapchat’s main competitor and biggest threat. I know a lot of friends who previously were both active on Snapchat and Instagram, but since the launch of Instagram Stories, they are not using Snapchat as much anymore. Instagram has really taken what Snapchat has and imitated it to the larger audience it already enjoys. Snapchat certainly needs to step up its game to stand ahead of all other platforms that can turn on ‘live video’ and unfortunately, in this case, only cute lenses and filters might not be enough.
Another crucial point for Snapchat is to avoid ad fatigue as a recent study shows that more than 60% of Snapchat users skip ads. Guilty as charged, I do so too! Indeed, it is one of the reasons my friends decided to go for Instagram Stories instead. Snapchat should figure out how to bring brands onto its platform without disrupting consumer experience. At the same time, it has to keep up with ad metrics demand as its competitors like Google and Facebook are better known for their ad metrics. We are living in a data-driven world after all!
To keep up with its competitors, I think it is crucial Snapchat must not stop developing and adding new features to keep up with current trends. In the past, it did quite an amazing job releasing Spectacles, which are sunglasses with an embedded camera. Moreover, CEO Evan Spiegel has recently begun calling Snapchat a “camera company” and is reportedly working on a secret drone project. In my humble opinion, Snapchat is letting off a young, innovative image by moving as fast as sending a snap to a friend. For me personally, I love consuming news via Snapchat as it is short, precise and fun. I think it has a lot of potential there. Anyhow, while tapping itself into hardware industry can be risky, I literally cannot take my eyes off the company and am definitely looking forward to hearing what they are up to next.
I personally think Snapchat has just started its journey and still has a long way to go.
HAPPY Snapchatting ! 🙂