Posted by:Nithin Rao May 21st, 2014

One is a company that Facebook paid a whopping $19 billion for. The other, a company that famously refused the $3 billion offer that Facebook made. No marks for guessing which is which!

As encouraging numbers pour in, (400 million Snapchat chats shared per day as of Nov 2013 and an enviable 32% of US teens use Snapchat on a mobile device) the mobile app has added new chat and video features making the ephemeral photo-sharing app even more irresistible.

In the intensely competitive field of mobile messaging, Snapchat has been charting explosive growth despite facing a rather shocking privacy and hacking controversy. It has been giving its bevy of competitors from Vine to Instagram to Facebook Messenger to Twitter, nightmares in the process. And get this, after the premature death of Poke, Facebook, according to reports, now has another Snapchat doppelganger in Slingshot.

Well then, what is it about Snapchat that makes it a formidable player in this market?

  • The enticement of “self deleting” pictures

Ephemeral, short-lived, transient…call it what you want. Snapchat got there first and this novelty is getting the users in droves.  And by users, we mean a key demographic. The percentage of college students that use Snapchat daily is 77%.  26% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 use it. And we all know, how coveted that target age bracket is.

  • They are not trying to be “yet another social network”

Snapchat never claimed to be anything more than a fun, intimate way of sharing photos (and now videos and texts) privately. It offered the discretion (I know-questionable, given the events of the past few months) that users needed. Unlike Whatsapp, it offered immediate gratification and immediate destruction. A potent combination once users got hooked onto it. And boy, did they? And an overwhelming reason is that it’s not another ho-hum network.

Snapchat has won over the loyalty of its users with most people using the app on a daily basis. And that’s something Facebook can’t claim – user engagement.

  • They are winning brands over

This one comes as no surprise, given their target demographic. While Facebook and Whatsapp together have a phenomenally larger user base, brands that target youth find that user engagement is higher on Snapchat. Games, contests, creative videos and pics, coupons, brand stories… that’s what is making brands sit up and take notice of Snapchat. From football teams to dessert chains to automotive companies, everyone’s jumping on the Snapchat bandwagon.

For example, Acura introduced its new NSX Prototype in a six-second clip to the first 100 people who added the brand on Snapchat. The fleeting nature of brand messages in itself prompts action and for a Facebook user whose timeline is saturated with ads, if this does not make a successful CTA, what does?

Got any interesting Snapchat stories to share? I would love to hear them.

Eager to learn more about the magic of mobile apps and user experience ? Deep dive today

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