Since the inception of Snapchat a mere four years ago, it has taken the realm of social media by storm as the fastest-growing platform for social sharing. Here are a few factors as to why Snapchat is such a big win.
- Privacy. Unlike Facebook or Instagram, users run a tight leash on their Snapchat friends, and can very selectively send specific moments to specific people.
- Authenticity. Nothing says authenticity more like the ability to send that ugly selfie knowing that it will be forgotten after a quick laugh.
- Scarcity. An Economics 101 principle — limited resources drive demand. In this case, it’s limited time. You will more likely view that Snap Story before it’s gone, and watch the whole thing even if you don’t like it because of FOMO.
- Ease. Not in the sense of it’s easy to use or intuitive, but in the ease of stress. As the user no longer needs to worry about a perfectly curated image or video for others to see, the platform offers ease of mind. This is psychologically referred to as a low cognitive load.
- Control. There’s something pretty powerful about knowing exactly who’s stalking you. Very few social media platforms offer this function for free, if at all.
The problem for Snapchat so far? Monetization. This infographic breaks down the struggles for the company quite well. The gist is, Snapchat users don’t care about businesses.
Overall, the percentage breakdown of Snapchat and Instagram user demographics are quite similar, mostly capturing the hearts of those in the younger age bracket.
However, in terms of popularity and interest, it is evident that Instagram has a larger user base.
But just to put things in perspective of the social media Game of Thrones, these are little fishes compared to the Facebook empire.
Note the downward trend of Facebook as a social network in the last few years. Here’s a breakdown of all the bad boys.
So why is this a big deal?
The “simple” answer: businesses are struggling to capture the attention of millennials, the current largest generation, and soon to be the demographic group with the largest purchasing power. Businesses are attempting to get into this bumping party, but usually end up looking like this without a decent social media strategy.
The silver lining for Snapchat in all this? If Facebook/Instagram is copying your platform, you must be doing something very well. Here are a few reasons why people will use Instagram stories over Snapchat stories, and why Instagram will monetize so much better.
- Your followers are already established. No more awkwardly trying to add people with a QR code or asking for their username.
- Your following is also established. If you are already regularly using Instagram, then the people and brands that you want to follow are already on there. Less work for the user, more time to enjoy fun Instagram stories.
- Instagram can capture the older demographic Snapchat missed. As mentioned earlier, Snapchat is not as intuitive to use and thus did not catch on to the 30+ age group. But they are already familiar with Instagram, and will struggle much less to use this new feature compared to adopting a novel platform.
- User data and interests. Facebook has a ton of data on each and every user on the platform. Facebook owns Instagram. Snapchat will not be able to compete with that kind of targeting.
- Eventual message targeting. With the immense amount of data Facebook has on each of us and the development of bots, the future of digital advertising will probably look more like a direct message to the individual, rather than a semi-targeted advertisement.
So for the small- to medium-sized businesses that were scratching heads in terms of whether Snapchat is a worthy investment as a social media platform, with the cost of building up a following vs. the benefit of engaged customer interaction, Instagram has just Melania Trumped the solution. Here’s to another day in the life of keeping up with the social medias in the ever-changing landscape of digital technologies.
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