From being a sexting app to going public. The meteoric rise of Snapchat left not only the youngest generation captivated, but also led to a redefinition of the social behaviour and cultural norms to the extent that Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook have cloned its hallmark “stories” feature.
This all-in assault on Evan Spiegel’s company, orchestrated by Marc Zuckerberg, coupled with the risks involved in the $3 billion IPO and the ephemeral loyalty that younger generations (Snapchat’s main target group) typically have to brands, makes the social media universe’s near future fascinating and intriguing. Does Snapchat set the foundations of the social media 4.0? Was the IPO a good decision? Does Snapchat have enough reaction capacity to counteract?
Figures worth an IPO
Despite being the youngest social network, Snapchat has experienced the fastest growth in the first four years of operations and has positioned itself as pioneer in multimedia storytelling specially targeted to the youngest age group. All these achievements qualify Spiegel’s app with distinction for the entry into the stock market.
- Daily active users: Over 150 million daily active users worldwide.
- Daily video views: Over 10 billion videos are watched daily worldwide.
- Global annual revenue of Snap: from $58.66 million in 2015 to $404.48 million in 2016.
- Snapchat users’ demography in US: 60 per cent of users are under 25 and nearly 1 out of 4 (23 percent) have not yet graduated from high school. Meanwhile, the penetration in the older age groups is growing fast.
For context, Facebook had 1.23 billion daily active users in the fourth quarter of 2016. When Facebook filed to go public in 2012, they had 483 million daily active users.
From news feed to kind of slideshows
Apart from analysing the overwhelming stats, what did Snapchat do to gain so much relevance in such a short period of time? To put it simple: They reinvented the Facebook timeline by putting the camera at the centre. But they did it utilising a ground-breaking concept that nobody had ever used before: Users could send ephemeral photos via private message or “snaps” to their contacts.
However, in an attempt to redefine the concept of news feed, Snapchat decided to make content less short-lived and placed more bets on video. In fall 2013, two years after their official launch, Snapchat’s users could upload their snaps to a story that would last 24 hours. This new approach exalts visual communication and leverages the full potential of mobile. Both are exactly among the main growth drivers in e-commerce in general and in digital content strategy in particular.
In this sense, it can be figured out that the future social media interactions might be based on slideshows or strings of teasers of anyone’s life instead of on word documents, the format that Facebook imagined when they introduced their timeline.
However, as the future might move in another direction it is no wonder that Facebook, who failed in their attempt to acquire Snapchat, have been coming after Snapchat with all their social media apps since last year, as can be seen in the graphic below:
The numbers speak for themselves. Facebook intend to devour Snapchat by hook or by crook and it seems that they are achieving their purpose step by step. According to some insights, Instagram stories are having a big impact on Snapchat to the extent that the latter is losing a large part of its new users in favour of the former. The reason: Why download a new app if you can get its features on the one you already use?
Taking into account that March was a month to forget concerning Snap’s stock market value after the most announced IPO since Alibaba and that the aggressive attacks are starting to take effect, it is interesting to know what Snapchat is doing to neutralise them.