The Global Rise of Snapchat
Snapchat is still something of a small-player in social networking for brands, but it is hugely popular among individuals. The photo messaging application was developed by two Stanford University students three years ago and allows users to take photos and videos and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These “snaps” are viewable for a set period of time, as defined by the sender.
Snapchat is continuing to rise in popularity, and the app has grown so considerably that a $3 billion acquisition bid by Facebook was turned down. It is now becoming a top player in the social media world.
According to data from ComScore which looks at the most popular social media apps among Americans aged 18 to 43, Facebook is top with 75.7%. Instagram is second with 43.1% and Snapchat is third with 32.9%. Twitter is next at 23.8%, then Google at 18%, Pinterest at 17.9%, Vine at 10.7% and Tumblr at 6.3%.
Much has been made of the time-limited nature of Snapchat images, with many suggestions that it is being primarily used to send sexual images. But there is no doubting that, as with all types of social media, the ways that Snapchat is being used are as varied as the users. According to a BBC report, more than 350 million “snaps” are sent every day between Snapchat users.
Currently thereare no adverts on Snapchat, but the potential exists. One of the creators has said that in-app purchases and native advertising are potential revenue streams, but that, right now, this is not a focus. Given that little is known about Snapchat users – sign-up requires only email address, birthday and phone number – targeting advertising will be very difficult, and with many users being in the teen to young adult category, disposable income is limited.
Facebook’s keenness to acquire Snapchat, upping its offer from $1 billion to $3 billion, demonstrates that the social networking platform is an important player and is gaining ground. But an acquisition will not be considered until next year at the very earliest, the Wall Street Journal has reported, as the format is still gaining in popularity, meaning an even bigger valuation could yet come.
How Snapchat will evolve and develop is yet to be seen, but given current figures it certainly seems to be a big-hitter with an established place in a competitive and crowded market. Marketing departments would be wise to stay up to date with how the service is developing and being used and to be aware of any possible opportunities for their brands.
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