For the second year running, Snapchat has published its 'Friendship Report', which looks at how people are connecting and maintaining relationships in the digital age.
And given the events of 2020, things obviously look a little different this time around.
As noted by Snap:
"The findings showed how “social” is being inserted back into social media, with the majority of people using online channels to connect with friends more than ever, and even build new relationships when physical meets aren’t always possible."
Snap first looked at how COVID-19 has impacted close relationships, and how people are staying in touch.
"While COVID-19’s challenges have changed how we maintain our friendships, it has also made some of us more generous with our newfound time. When asked to think about the effects of COVID-19 on their friendships, 67% say their friendships have not been impacted. A third of people (33%) said they feel that COVID-19 has changed their relationships - but 47% of those respondents said they now feel closer to their friends than before."
Snapchatters, specifically, feel even more connected - over half of Snapchat users indicated that they are significantly more likely to feel closer to their friends now than before COVID-19, in comparison to those who don’t use the app.
The report also looks at the impact of various life events on relationships, providing new insight into shifting life stages.
It's interesting to consider the impacts of these findings, in relation to the current world situation, with things like losing a job having a significant impact on changing relationships.
And as noted, Snapchat users actually seem more positive, overall, about maintaining connection. Snapchat has long presented itself as the place for friends, and the numbers here do show that the app does help keep users more connected via more intimate, private connection.
Snapchat was never really designed as a traditional social network, in providing people with a platform to share their views with a wider audience, but instead, the intention of the app was to better replicate regular conversation.
"In normal life, most conversations are ephemeral. They aren’t recorded and certainly don’t last forever. And so, neither do Snaps. At Snapchat, everything we design is created to make interactions feel as authentic as possible, mirroring the ebb and flow of conversations we hold in real life."
That approach, based on this data, has lead to more closely connected networks, which see increased engagement and activity within their Snap chats.
Aligning with these findings, Snapchat has also added a new Friendship Time Capsule Lens, which enables users to create a collaborative photo collage that projects their future via AR tools.
Users select a year in the future, then send their selfie to their friend, and the system then approximates an exaggerated version of your future selves on screen.
There are some interesting insights here, and some interesting considerations around how we connect, especially within the context of 2020. And they could play a role in planning your marketing and outreach strategies - by having a better understanding of the key moments, and intentions in how people look to connect, you can better align your approaches with these shifts.
You can read the 2020 Snap Friendship Report here.