Snapchat – Proof That Simplicity & Authenticity Wins

blogSnapchat has 100 million daily users, 9,000 snaps are shared per second, 10 billion videos are viewed per day and at 500 million Snapchat stories per day, it would take more than 158 years to watch an entire day of Snapchat stories. It’s no wonder that advertisers want a bite of it.

CEO Evan Spiegel describes Snapchat’s messaging as “conversational”, rather than “transactional”, which gives the impression you’re just talking to a friend. This whole implication has mass potential to change the way we see messaging and could ultimately become a revolution in chat. Since the mid-90s, SMS has been seen the same way, with mostly the UI advancing. Maybe it’s time for an overhaul.

 

Here & Now

Because of its “in the moment” nature, Snapchat began as a more personal and authentic alternative to Instagram and all its filters. And somehow, the further development of Lenses has been successfully implemented and hasn’t damaged the spontaneous “here and now”, authentic feel – it has combined filters with real-time.

Another reason engagement is so high on the platform is that there are no worries about content existing forever. 24 hours is the maximum amount of time it will stay live, through “Stories”. This is very likely to be a reason why people keep coming back so often – there may be a fear of missing out on snaps, as there is absolutely no way of viewing them after expiration.

 

The Drivers

Many celebrities are also helping the app’s growth by nailing the platform and making use of the unique features it offers. Ellen DeGeneres, Jared Leto, Miley Cyrus – they are all using it for its exclusivity and real-life, behind-the-scenes moments (that and the drawing feature).

On a similar note, influencers also play a large part of the Snapchat community nowadays, especially for brands. Many of the top Snapchat influencers are YouTube veterans, so they know how the game works and just need to adapt slightly.

Creating cool snaps on a regular basis requires a lot of resources for brands and the high expectation for authenticity can be hard to meet. This is probably the main reason why only the big players, such as Nike, PepsiCo and TRESemmé have been willing to go all in from the very early stages and why many brands are trying to take part through the influencers. On the back of the huge success of Instagram influencers, it allows brands to be present in snaps, with lower risk and is less effort than having their own channel. This also offers them the chance to leverage their learnings from Instagram.

 

Advertising Features

In January 2015, Snapchat introduced “Discover”, a place for advertisers and especially media outlets to publish short pieces of content. Shortly after, they incorporated Geofilters – something you can’t quite imagine working on any other social media network. This forms another source of revenue by inviting companies to make their own Geofilter for a fee.

More recently, Lenses is beginning to show its potential for brands too by harnessing the fun factor, then redirecting consumers to a related checkout. Movies like X-Men are an obvious choice for the platform due to the multiple characters, but the list of possibilities is endless when considering characters and even real-life personalities.

 

Yo!

While considering the subject of simplicity and why Snapchat has been so successful, the only other great app I’ve seen simpler is Yo, where a user simply sends another user the message “Yo” with one tap on their name. The initial intention with this app was to encourage people to say “I’ll ‘Yo’ you when I’m there”, eliminating the need for texting “I’m here”.

The app has been further developed with a new version pushed out in Feb 2015 and was valued over $10 million during a funding round back in 2014. Many brands are also seeking to gain access to their growing mobile audience through it – an audience partly created by Snapchat. The app now offers alerts and news from more than 150 services including BuzzFeed, NBA, Coinbase, TechCrunch, MTV, and more. It seems there’s strong proof then, that to invent something new, sometimes you just have to make something current even simpler.

 

 

 

Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!