Snapchat: A One-way Conversation That Works

  • February 19, 2016

    What’s your least favourite thing on the internet? Is it overly opinionated people endlessly arguing about contentious subjects like gun control, the existence of God, or whether Kanye West is more or less likable than Ebola? Yeah, mine too.

    Sometimes it can seem like the social media-sphere has become less about sharing useful or entertaining information and more about housing mindless Kanye debates (mostly instigated by Kanye). It’s one of the reasons why I got rid of my Twitter account last year, and could at least be a contributing factor to why that particular platform is experiencing a drop in users worldwide.

    Don’t get me wrong, social is still a fantastic opportunity for people to communicate and share ideas, often with worthwhile outcomes. But are people being put off by the needlessly heated and insult-laden quarrels about, more often than not, Kim Kardashian’s caboose?

    When you consider the fact that social media users have never been more spoilt for choice as to which platforms they spend their time on, then yeah, they’re probably looking for a reason to get rid of one or two apps.

    Are people being put off by the needlessly heated and insult-laden quarrels?

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    One platform that has managed to avoid attracting swathes of argumentative internet users is Snapchat, and in turn boost its user numbers. The photo and video-messaging app has witnessed a dramatic upsurge in engagement levels as well, as Bloomberg News reported in January this year that Snapchat now delivers more than 7 billion videos to users every day. This is impressive because, 1) four months earlier that number was 4 billion, and 2) it’s only 1 billion fewer daily video views than Facebook, which is a platform with 15 times more users.

    Now, admittedly, the lack of angry CAPS LOCK commenters on Snapchat is down to the fact that Snapchat doesn’t actually have a comments section. It’s quite an effective technique, really. And, at the same time, it helps Snapchat distinguish itself from the crowd. Probably one of the biggest differences between Snapchat and the other social media big hitters is that with Snapchat there is no commentary to go along with the content, and no opportunity for responses. So when the rest of us are spouting about the importance of using social media to interact with users, Snapchat’s off doing its own thing. It’s a one-way conversation in a world of two-way exchanges, and this opens new possibilities to reach audiences in uniquely creative and emotive ways.

    Besides the lack of belligerent commenters, what makes Snapchat so appealing? It may have more to do with the other obvious distinction, which is that its content disappears forever a few short seconds after its viewed. This novel feature ups the fun and lessens the weight of eternal judgement – users enjoy it because they aren’t held to the same standards that come with the likes of Twitter and Facebook, and enjoyment equals engagement.

    New possibilities to reach audiences in uniquely creative and emotive ways

    Who’s using Snapchat?

    So, which demographic is Snapchat appealing to most? You’ll never guess. No way. Not a chance. It’s, wait for it, Millennials. Yep, Millennials. Again. And I’m about to go on to say stuff about how important it is you ensure your business or brand engages with these guys, so strap in.

    According to comScore’s 2015 US Mobile App Report, 76% of Snapchat’s users are Millennials, placing it sixth highest on the list of 20, not far behind the hugely popular Instagram. So if Millennials are the people you want to attract, it’d be advisable to start thinking creatively about how you market yourself on this channel. For a start, its fleeting nature allows for a lot more irreverence in the content you put out.

    Industry researchers in the US, Cowen and Company, reported in eMarketer earlier this year that more senior ad buyers plan to begin advertising on Snapchat than any other social channel – Facebook and Twitter seemed to be quite far down on the priorities list. Indeed, this is at least in part because most ad buyers are already marketing on these networks, but the interest shown in Snapchat indicates big things for the platform in 2016.

    The interest shown in Snapchat indicates big things for the platform

    Maybe it’ll be a fad, maybe it won’t. Nevertheless, as experienced marketers will tell you, lots can be gained from jumping on a band wagon. Particularly if you’re one of the early adopters – you’ll be promoting in a space with barely any competition for user attention.

    Also, as a note to end on, Snapchat founders Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel have made a statement of intent for the coming year by slashing the introductory advertising rate from $ 700,000 to $ 100,000. In other words the platform offers opportunities for businesses that were previously priced out – just think of all those Millennials you’ll be able to reach!


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