For the past five years, being a social media strategist has been one of my hats so I love to study emerging platforms and how well they succeed — or fail — at garnering the attention of their audiences. So of course, the newest phenomenon in the social space has been Snapchat and its ability to bring in users as the fastest-growing social platform ever. Literally, ever.
Aiming toward the youngest (researchable) demographic, the majority of its users are 13 to 25. Everything appeals to what its audience wants: entertainment and updates that are short, quick, often, and fleeting. Posts delete in 24 hours, you can scan codes to find users, you can weirdly add filters that change your face (dog ears and nose, make a rainbow pour out of your mouth, you name it), and you can do all of this without your mom or teacher finding it on Google. It’s no wonder that Snapchat gets 4 billion video views per day — the same amount as Facebook, according to the International Business Times.
Now, before there was Snapchat, we had all of these other platforms like Facebook, too. But, Snapchat is different: it’s a ton of videos, no links, not a lot of words, and funny imagery. Everything is instantaneous and has to be recorded right in the app. And none of this necessarily bodes well for older audiences. They want something different. They want to be able to share pictures of their grandchildren, read today’s New York Times, and look for cookie recipes. They’re a different platform and they’re also currently the number one source for news, according to Pew Research. Advertisers spend a fortune on Facebook ads every single day so their pockets aren’t hurting either.
Pretty much, it all boils down to this: Facebook ain’t worried about Snapchat, and if you wanna be a Snapchat, there’s a lane for you, too. Go after the behemoths of your industry, create your own lane, and be your own buzz. No one person or company can ever manipulate an industry without there being space enough for others to come through. There’s always opportunity, and it will likely always come from a place that no one is watching. It’ll just be really hard work.
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