News and insights • Posted on 12 May 2016

Why is Snapchat taking over?

Its content lasts 10 seconds and you’ll never see it again – so why is Snapchat so popular?

The bright yellow logo that is instantly recognisable on the home screens of smartphones across the world has now overtaken Twitter when it comes to installing apps on Android phones in the US, and it has 50 million active daily users (8 million in the UK). Those daily users are using the app for 20 minutes and 20 seconds a day on average, and that’s a lot of 10 second snaps!

It is the disposable nature of its content that appeals to the millennials it targets, with the ‘selfie generation’ able to get their photo fix on a daily basis. The ability to seamlessly portray their day to friends and followers without having to upload it to Facebook or Instagram in snippets is what makes it so popular. When questioned, however, these teens confirmed that the FOMO effect (Fear of Missing Out) was the key driver in them downloading the app. From there, the infectious nature of using filters to make you look like a dog takes over, and fun ensues.

Snapchat also knows its audience. It’s developed the product by adding stories (where your selected snaps appear for 24 hours for friends to view as many times as they like), to the introduction of the filters mentioned above. These not only frequent Snapchat stories but also get saved and shared on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, further increasing the app’s appeal.

This development of its product means that Snapchat manages to stay fresh, something that’s increasingly important when its target market is a generation who are used to social media coming and going (hi, MySpace!).

What does it mean for advertisers?

Snapchat rolled out its ad services to the UK in November 2015, and take up has been tepid at best. It’s a scary world on Snapchat for marketers. One slip up, one mistake, and you’ll be crucified on social media. If you get it right, however, you’re tapping into an audience that is engaged, at a time when they are forming their brand loyalties in their minds.

Snapchat filters are a fantastic way to engage audiences and get your brand out there, with advertisers able to set geographic ranges for their filter to appear. You can therefore see the tremendous opportunity for people running events, as well as coffee shops, retail outlets and others with set geographic locations.

For example, when TopShop launched their recent ‘Ivy Park’ brand in conjunction with Beyoncé, it would have been the perfect opportunity to create a filter where the app scans your face and overlays Beyoncé’s on top when you were in store.

Imagine the shares, people.

What’s next?

If you’re targeting the Millennials then Snapchat and Instagram are the places to be. The youth of today would have you believe that Facebook is now full of baby boomers, and Twitter is nothing but a glorified news channel. So in order to tap into and engage possibly one of the most influential target markets, the shorter the content the better.

There’s no doubt Snapchat will continue to develop its product. They have recently been looking for $500 million worth of further investment, taking their total investment up to $1 billion. That also sets a company value at somewhere between $16 – $19 billion. Those are big figures to keep up with, but Evan Spiegel and his team have a track record of knowing what their audience wants.

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Written by Andy McCaul

Co-founder and digital marketing guru Andy ensures all projects are shipshape, and that we generate the best return on investment for clients.

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