Okay, What Actually is Snapchat?
Amazingly, very few designers and marketers know about Snapchat. Among Millennials, it’s only the third most popular social media platform, right behind Facebook and Instagram. More surprisingly, according to this chart, it has even surpassed Twitter.
Snapchat is a messaging app for sharing moments with friends. You can “snap” a photo or video, add doodles, and send it to a friend or add it to your “Story”. When you directly snap a friend, they have up to 10 seconds to view the image and then it’s gone – never to be seen again (ostensibly).
Story works a little differently than regular snaps. When you add a snap to your Story, as opposed to directly snapping somebody, your friends have up to 24 hours to open your snap.
Whichever method you use to share your moments, once the allotted time expires, the photo or video is gone forever.
Earlier this year, Snapchat launched a new tool called Snapchat Discover – an innovative way for publishers to interact with the over 100 million active Snapchat users.
“Discover” showcases news stories and videos from twelve publishers, including Snapchat, CNN, National Geographic, Bleacher Report, and Food Network that refresh every 24 hours, because, according to Snapchat, “what’s news today is history tomorrow.”
Fair point. In fact, Facebook has also announced a new partnership with news providers.
As you can tell, since its inception in 2013, Snapchat has become more than just an outlet for friends to share moments with each other. One additional (and possibly my favourite) feature is “Our Stories”. It allows users create and view public collections of snaps captured at the same live event.
Why Are Millennials So Into It?
Instagram vs. Snapchat
Earlier on, I mentioned how Snapchat recently surpassed Twitter as the third most popular social media platform amongst Millennials.
Within the next couple of years, it’s not possible that Snapchat surpasses Instagram as well.
Before Instagram really took off, I believe many users were using Instagram to post what they now snap on Snapchat — silly selfies and nights out with friends.
But now, you’ll find users, even people you follow, that take great pride in what they post, and how they post on Instagram. You have users importing photos from their SLR cameras to post on Instagram and showcase their photography skills.
In fact, I’ve even deleted photos from my profile that aren’t up to Instagram standards.
Snapchat has replaced Instagram in that sense — people can take the whackiest pictures of themselves, send it to a friend, and know that it will be gone forever within 10 seconds. People can take a short video of a night out with friends and share in their Story knowing it’ll be gone within 24 hours.
How are Businesses Capitalizing on Snapchat and Millennials?
The Advantage of Snapchat Discover
Business Insider recently surveyed a group of Millennials about Snapchat and its features, including Discover. One respondent’s answer stuck out most:
I don’t really see the point. It would never occur to me to get all my news from Snapchat. I think Snapchat as a media platform is interesting. It makes sense in the way that it’s all self-destructing so it gets replaced every 24 hours with new news, but I don’t see society gravitating to Snapchat to get their news. Especially not anyone who isn’t already using Snapchat.
Snapchat Discover was never intended to “gravitate society” to its app, but to capitalize on the already-existing Millennial audience Snapchat has and turn as many of them as possible into influencers.
I mentioned in a previous blog post that as a writer, business, or organization, you should be doing everything in your power to keep the attention of Millennials. Snapchat Discover gave businesses and organizations the power to do just that, and I think that’s what makes it so great.
As a business, you have a group of over 100 million users all on one application — why wouldn’t you take advantage of that and invest resources on Snapchat Discover?
Will Snapchat incentivize its users to gather news from them rather than traditional sources? Potentially, but what’s important here is that Snapchat figured out a way to hand-deliver its users to publishers like CNN, National Geographic, and Food Network and give them content in a non-obtrusive way.
I put together an ebook of quotes from inspiring, change-chasing Millennials. It’s called For Your Inspiration. Even at our young age, many Millennials are striving for change, dedicated to simplicity, and determined to solve the world’s most challenging problems. If you ever need reassurance that what you’re committed to is worth it or if you want to know how Millennials think about the world, please consider downloading this free ebook.