Time to Move On, Snapchat? You Betcha
With so many new and emerging visual content-based platforms on the scene,we have to wonder. Has the time come for Snapchat to quietly loosen its long-held grip on the youth demographic? Will it scurry off the way of MySpace, Google+, and Orkut?
After all, the tweens that were using Evan Spiegel’s mobile-first content service at its inception back in 2011 are now approaching their mid-to-late 20s.
Surely all the up-and-comers (Gen Z, etc.) are now firmly sold on TikTok for their short form fix?
Think again. Snapchat ain’t dead yet. Not at all. Still stacks of life in this old platform yet.
Parent company Snap, was just named Fast Company magazine’s most innovative company of 2020. One of its key achievements being its continued championing of augmented reality (AR).
Let’s consider how Snapchat remains at the top of the innovation game. Also, let’s hazard a guess as to where it’s heading next.
Back from The Brink
The audience numbers are still very appealing for brand marketers. Indeed, there is still an enormous amount of Snapchat users: 210 million active daily users. And considering more than a third of Snapchat users aren’t on Facebook or Instagram, it still holds its own.
But it nearly came crashing down just two short years ago. Indeed, the app lost 5 million users, 17 execs left, and Snap’s stock price dropped by nearly 85%.
However, Snapchat is like a former teen idol who’s now emerged as a serious actor. Indeed, it continues to trail blaze in the way it curates User Generated Content. Also extending its reach to accommodate the legions of brands still clambering to get aboard.
What the heck happened? Is Mr. S some kind of CEO-cum-magician (despite not even being 30 yet)?
Well yes. And no.
When rock bottom’s in sight, swift and effective measures can pay dividends very quickly. And in this case they did. So, to boost users, Snapchat went all in on Android. And to make more money, it simplified media sales.
As a result: a 250% rise in its stock price – in 2019.
All in on AR
Let’s put the business of business aside for a second. Can it really stand to reason that a couple of pretty freaking obvious gear shifts gave Snapchat its groove back?
I’m saying a loud resounding ‘no’. See, something else was at work here. In fact, something unique that users just couldn’t get enough off. And that fit the platform like a glove.
In a word (or two) – Augmented Reality. Yup, all of those filters, lens, animations, etc. were helping drive engagement behind the scenes all along. And both users and marketers couldn’t get enough of them.
AR continues to be a real game changer for Snapchat. And, this is something no other social platform has been able to master. At least to the same extent or with the same degree of success. The winning formula here is a combination of personalization, interactivity, and shareability.
You only have to look at Snap Camera’s live streaming lenses. And, you’ll see how much fun users can have when AR gets interactive. Similarly, how personalization takes a step up when their own Bitmojis can be added into the mix. But lenses & filters aren’t just amusing. And for showing how weird you and your cat look with fire beards and rabbit ears.
For marketers, they’re a genuine way of getting customers’ attention. Not only that, but they can also be a great way of driving online sales or app downloads. But more on that in an upcoming blog about Snapchat’s business case.
By building on the success of its geofilters’ functionality – which let users overlay location-based filters onto static images. Lenses have boosted engagement even further. For instance, for brands like Taco Bell, Nike, Gatorade, and many others.
While users can create their own lenses via Snapchat’s own tool. Its Lens Studio makes it possible for anyone to create more sophisticated virtual images. Anyone with the right 3D animation skills, that is.
Yup, a custom lens can deliver real results for brands. And creating one is not as time- or cost-intensive as you might think. There are plenty of AR/VR companies who can handle the whole process end-to-end. (Didjet being one of them, of course!)
All things considered; Snapchat is definitely still going places. While its dominance as a youth-only platform may be waning, the fact is it’s able to balance being more ‘mainstream’. By pushing the AR envelope it can only strengthen the platform’s importance. And this, for both users and marketers. And for some time.
If you would like to learn more on how Snapchat can help your brand, contact us today!