Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. All three are the juggernauts of the social scene. However, this may be all about to change with Snapchat becoming a more prevalent storytelling social platform. How will Snapchat disrupt the marketing landscape? For starters, Snapchat has the largest millennial following of all social media networks.
Beyond the traditional social channels, marketers must now understand how emerging platforms impact their work, and react in a timely manner. Adopting emerging platforms too soon may expose your brand to early social landmines (like PR disasters), but start too late and your brand can be left behind. Many marketers are still wondering what Snapchat is and whether it's worth their time and energy, so let's dissect Snapchat down to its core functionalities and identify why Millennials are so keen on this new platform.
Founded in 2011, Snapchat has become the social platform with the highest millennial penetration. In a comScore study to measure demographics of social media users over the age of 18, Millennials accounted for 71% of Snapchat's user base. For context, Facebook and Twitter, both trail far behind with Millennial user base figures of 38% and 41%, respectively.
Snapchat has two content features: Snaps and Snapchat Stories. The primary content of Snapchat is known as Snaps, which can be either a picture or video message. Unless set otherwise, Snaps last up to 10 seconds before disappearing upon the initial viewing. Snaps can also be stringed together to create a Snapchat Story, a feature aggregating all chosen Snaps into one video that lasts up to 24 hours.
Source: comScore Media
Why Millennials Love Snapchat
The premise of Snapchat is built entirely upon two conditions: (1) FOMO (fear of missing out), and (2) storytelling. The concept is simple: if you're not there in time to see a Snap, it'll be gone, and this functionality keeps millennials coming back to the platform to stay updated with what their friends are up to.
Released in late 2013, Snapchat Stories is a popular feature among users. Millennials crave the ownership over how their life story is told. They believe in quality narration and DIY projects. Snapchat Stories give Millennials the power to put together quick and organic videos with a beginning, middle, and end of their choosing. Instant gratification is generated the moment these Snapchat Stories are created.
How Brands Are Involved With Snapchat
Brand content on Snapchat falls into two categories: (1) Discover and (2) Live Stories. Discover is a feature that allows Snapchat's direct partners to share and curate their own content natively on the platform. Snapchat's Discover partners include brands such as Buzzfeed, the Food Network, and ESPN. Unsurprisingly, Discover is one of the most underutilized features on the platform. This makes sense as millennials value authenticity and organic content over all else. In this case, branded content is seen as unfavorable compared to peer-driven content.
Live Stories is a Snapchat feature that crowd sources user-generated content from people who are at the same event or specific location. The submitted content is then curated and weaved together into a Live Story video that can be viewed by everyone on the platform. Since it's debut last August, Live Stories has become a popular feature among users to share and view content based around live events. Snapchat confirmed that on average a Live Story is seen by 20 million people within a video's 24-hour lifespan. Popular events such as the music and art festival Coachella 2015 generated over 40 million unique views earlier this year.
Snapchat's Discover Feature (Source)
Why Live Stories Are Successful
In many cases, Live Stories are themselves branded content promoted by a Snapchat partner. Why are Live Stories more successful when compared to Discover? The feature aligns FOMO with storytelling seamlessly. Live Stories crowd source Millennials to share their voice and create a collaborative storytelling experience unlike any other platform. Millennials can now experience an event through the many unique perspectives of their peers and contribute their own perspective at the same time. Most importantly, Live Stories, similar to Snapchat Stories, only last for 24 hours after going live, thus giving Live Stories the lucrative FOMO factor.
This is Part One of a two-part piece on how brands can effectively use Snapchat. This month's edition of Social Millennial Today introduces Snapchat and its core functionalities. In September's edition, I'll discuss how brands can effectively leverage Snapchat to engage Millennials.
What are your thoughts on Snapchat as an emerging millennial social platform? Why do you think Millennials enjoy using Snapchat over other existing social networks? Join the conversation and tweet @taictran and @socialmedia2day.