Snapchat 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.
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.
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.
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.