Why Snapchat is only going to get more popular

Lewis Wake
Sunday 29 November 2015

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo messaging application where users can take photos and videos, and send them to a controlled audience which usually consists of their friends. Here are some “Elders” discovering Snapchat for the first time.

On each photo/video, which are referred to as “snaps,” users can draw pictures with their finger, type words and/or use fun emojis on the screen. Then, after the snap is created, users are able to set a time limit on how long the recipients are able to view them (from 1-10 seconds).

The kicker to Snapchat – the most crucial feature that sets it apart from any other social media app – is that after the recipient views the snap, it’s gone forever and deleted from Snapchat’s servers. That’s right. Gone. Unless some cruel individual screenshots the snap, but then the sender will be notified that this has happened.

Snapchat receives 4 billion daily video views with over 100 million active daily active users in 130+ countries around the world. 75% of these users are under the age of 25. Look at that glorious potential demographic. There are a huge number of post-millennials using this app. So why is it so effective?

Why is Snapchat so effective?

The main attraction of Snapchat for most of its audience is simply because it is fun. Sending a photo or video instantly to a friend with a caption is so much better than sending a text message. “A picture is worth a thousand words”, after all.

Snapchats generate 100% user engagement. To view a snap, the user must tap their received message and then it plays out in fullscreen. It’s like the ultimate click bait. Imagine if the only way to view a tweet or news post was to physically engage with it and have it fill your whole view.

It is now a digital instinct to clear notifications, Snapchat users will generally view every post in their “inbox”. It is very likely that every post you make on Snapchat will be viewed by the majority of your following audience, which is a lot more than than you’re likely to receive from posting a tweet or Facebook post to an over-saturated news feed. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users will quickly scroll through their newsfeeds and hardly engage anything unless it pops out or catches their eye.

So we’re generally guaranteed 100% user engagement with our audience if we use Snapchat. How can an institution benefit from this?

Making the most of Snapchat for businesses

Snapchat currently has a trend where they will feature different cities around the globe for a live event to showcase what life is like in that part of the world. Content is sent to the story and the best are picked to be viewed within the app. By the end of it, thousands of people will have viewed these recordings, all with near 100% user engagement.

Think how St Andrews would benefit if one of our graduation days had a live Snapchat feature.

Businesses are only just beginning to jump on the Snapchat band wagon. “Live stories” are Snapchat’s way of generating an organic “behind the scenes perspective” from a snapper’s point of view. With millions of anxious Snapchatters on hand, these live events are emerging as primetime marketing spaces for businesses to get noticed.

Dundee Union use Snapchat to communicate directly to their followers about promotions and events they have planned, and also to show highlights of their club nights. In the digital age, this is such an organic method of promotion.

Snapchat is still in its early years, but imagine the potential this medium of content distribution will have in the future.

The future of Snapchat

Snapchat is essentially a “behind the scenes” look at your own life experiences. It offers a unique perspective as viewers are seeing life exactly as you see it. This quick and to the point method of sharing content is only going to become the norm in the coming years.

Facebook have already introduced a live video feature similar to Twitch, and all major sporting, music, movie, and gaming events commonly have behind the scenes live streaming on YouTube.

We are living in a time when it has never been easier to distribute video. In 5 years time, why will we bother tweeting about something, when our followers can easily watch something happen with us?

Marketers need to be where people are paying attention. I’d recommend getting behind Snapchat now. Right now as you’re reading this, I consider Snapchat to be in the same stage as Facebook was in 2006, or what Twitter was in 2008 or Instagram in 2012. It’s just getting started. The “boom” is only a matter of time.

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