Hello my field daisies!
I spent New Year’s Eve dancing at a bar in Santa Monica. When the countdown hit, the DJ told everyone to pull out their phones, and what did I see on everyone’s phones, myself included? Snapchat’s homescreen and everyone’s thumb on the record button. This not only happened at New Year’s. When I saw G-Eazy performing in Vegas, the same thing happened. The minute he walked on stage, all thumbs were frantically pushing the little white ghost to get their snap of G. Seeing this phenomenon made me wonder.. Will Snapchat make it past 2018, or will we be ringing in 2019 with a different app?
I decided to scour the Internet for the latest stats. The standing number seems to be that Instagram Stories has 250M active daily users, whereas Snapchat only has 166M. This was reported around summer of 2017. I am seeing graphs that the number for Snapchat has increased to 178M, but no articles are really mentioning this, probably because it is such a meager amount.
A study done by Mediakix tracked 12 of Snapchat’s top influencers for 30 days and saw they were posting more on Instagram Stories. Delmondo analyzed 21,500 Snap Stories and discovered from August-November 2016, the average unique viewers per Snapchat Story decreased about 40%, and I have no doubt it has decreased even further since then.
Many influencers have stopped posting on Snapchat altogether, and when they do it’s in surprise as in, “Do people still use this app?”
Enjajaja posted a Snap story a few days ago, something she hadn’t done in a while. Her last snap was a picture lamenting the fact that Snapchat still has yet to put a self record feature, meaning a hands free version of recording. You can in fact enable hands free recording on Snapchat, but it is a pain in the a$$!
That’s the problem with Snapchat. It still has yet to offer features influencers and businesses crave, such as being able to tag your friends (or brands) in Snaps or Geo-targeted Instagram Stories that offers a wider story for a particular location, meaning all businesses in one area are visible on the “explore” page of Instagram, and content can reach users that aren’t even followers of their account.
Social media is a fickle business. As a platform, you’re only as strong as your user base. Or more importantly you are only as strong as your influencer base. Influencers have the ability to attract thousands upon thousands of followers with their content: celebrities, YouTubers, fashion bloggers, photographers, your little cousin who makes lip syncing videos etc. If social media execs don’t play nice with influencers, the app will surely fail. Just look at Vine. When nearly 20 of Vine’s top influencers tried to intervene with a deal that included giving them each $1.2M to do 3 vines a week to boost Vine’s engagement, Vine refused.
Snapchat offers the coveted emoji by their name for their influencers, but I am wondering what else do they do for them? Are they paying David Dobrik to put his Snapchat in his YouTube bio?
Despite all the bleak stats and influencers’ lack of love, Snap is personally still my favorite platform to use. I don’t get nearly as many views as I do on my Instagram stories, but I like the exclusivity of Snapchat. I like the fact it’s hard to find someone’s username or understand what in the world the emojis on your friends’ names mean. I also like how you see everyone’s story in chronological order, instead of the BS algorithiums Instagram uses for your feed. And most importantly I like how it opens to a camera and let’s you shoot automatically. It may seem silly, but having the homepage be your camera is a life changing feature and shifts the focus from old content to what is happening now.
There is a rainbow in this shit storm for Snapchat, and it’s the fact Snapchat is still the network of choice for teens. In the latest iteration of RBC’s social media survey, they found 79% of U.S. 13- to 18-year-olds surveyed said they have a Snapchat account, more than any other type of social media. Of that age group, 73 percent have an Instagram account and just 57 percent say they are on Facebook. Additionally if respondents had to choose only one social network they could keep if they were “trapped on a deserted island,” 44 percent of teens picked Snapchat, ahead of Instagram (24 percent) and Facebook (14 percent).
Although I hesitate to tout these stats too loudly because after looking at the study itself, RBC notes this iteration of their social media survey had a lower percentage of respondents less than 18 years old compared to past surveys due to new protocols from their survey provider (see top of page 3).
But honestly I believe it. I only follow two people under 18 on Snapchat (my former boss’s daughter and my little cousin). Based on the way they use Snapchat, it seems like it is their way to contact their peers. I remember seeing my former boss’s daughter using Snapchat to ask her network if anyone wanted Homecoming makeup done by her and I see my little cousin shouting out her friends for their birthdays, something I used to do on Facebook.
An interesting feature that might make Snap history is Stories Everywhere, allowing snaps to be shared outside of Snapchat. Now this may not seem like that big of a feature, but it could be a game changer. Imagine being at Dior’s latest fashion show and sharing your vantage point with the viewers of Vogue Magazine. It’s a win win for both the Snapchatter (who gets their 5 minutes of fame) and Vogue (who gets exclusive footage from the frontlines). Snapchat could become the medium for citizen journalism. With Stories Everywhere, Snapchat plans on redesigning the Discover page and doubling down on news. I think this is the right move. I hardly use the Discover page, but I can imagine myself using it more if it were more integrated with the app.
I don’t think Snapchat will ever overtake Instagram, but I don’t think it needs to. I think they can both co-exist peacefully, but that may be the Berkeley hippie inside of me. Instead of trying to compete with Instagram, I think Snapchat should provide a different service, banking on its slogan, “The Fastest Way to Share a Moment.” They need to change consumer behavior to make Snapchat the way people capture their live concerts, Christmas unboxings and protests, leaving Instagram Stories a place of reposting.
So will Snapchat make it past 2018? If they play their cards right, it could become the app of 2018.
Love ya’ll and thanks for reading!
Hope you have a daisyish day!
I’m back my field daisies 😉