Whether you use it or not, you must have heard about Snapchat. The main users are teenagers, but that means that parents also know about it (although they might not be happy about it…) and even businesses are using it to their benefit. In just a couple of years, it has become an important part of many people’s lives. Did Evan Spiegel see this coming when he proposed Snapchat in a product design class at Stanford University? He was probably wishing for it, but how often do dreams come true?
Well, the point is, he did. After years of incredible growth, with a huge increase in the number of users worldwide, the social media channel has entered more difficult times. Since the start, Snapchat has been regularly introducing new features, but the more recent ones could be seen as an effort to keep the business running and to win the fight against the competition – or at least, not to lose.
What is the situation that Snapchat is in right now? Snapchat is still popular among a younger audience (mostly people under 25), but it has started losing users. According to The Independent, it lost 3 million users to Instagram, mainly as Instagram and Facebook started introducing similar features as Snapchat, that is: the well-known stories.
So, what are the main innovations that Snapchat has undertaken? At its introduction in 2011, it was basically a platform where you could send pictures to friends for them to view for a limited period of time. Some of the important trends in Snapchat’s overall history will be discussed next. In 2013, Snapchat introduced ‘Stories’, which means – for the unfamiliar reader – that several pictures could be uploaded and viewed by friends as many times as wanted within a period of 24 hours. In 2014, the geofilters were introduced to show one’s current location. Only one year later, both the selfie lenses (which many people have had a bit too much fun with…) and Snapchat Discover were introduced. Snapchat Discover has been a very important aspect for businesses: top media companies put content on there to be viewed by the many Snapchat users – so an excellent marketing opportunity to increase the customer reach to the young Snapchat users.
Snapchat Discover has become a very important part of the app and therefore, it is worth taking a look at some of the trends and innovations in this app feature. One important development is the number of publishers, which increased from 11 publishers in the US to more than 100 worldwide. Besides, the focus has shifted over the years. At the start, it primarily compromised of articles, but this has shifted to an increasing amount of video shows, which has created a more TV-like environment. A more recent development is Snapchat Discover opening up to third-party measurement, which would add the measurement of US traffic to the video content.
I have only mentioned a few out of the huge number of innovations and trends in Snapchat. All this innovation might indicate that the owners have realised its importance, possibly seeing it as the only path to survival. However, not all innovations have been successes. For example, the introduction of Snap Maps in 2017 was faced with much controversy, mainly due to its privacy implications. And the management must have felt a bit uncomfortable when they received the feedback on their 2017 redesign…
Will Snapchat survive this troubling time? Will it need innovations to survive? Or will a failed innovation lead the business to the end?
At HYPER CRUNCH, we follow the trends of all social media platforms and can help you choose the right ones for most effective digital marketing.