In recent years, social media companies like Twitter and Instagram have seen their once-exponentially growing numbers stall or dwindle. One Los Angeles-based tech company has been capturing the collective mind and, more importantly, the attention of millennials across the world.
Founded in 2011 by Stanford University students Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown (in part as a class project of Spiegel’s), Snapchat was invented with the simple premise of sharing photos that would be destroyed shortly after they were viewed. The idea was meant to ease the mind of users who might have been fearful that embarrassing pictures of themselves would be shared online.
Building on that idea, Snapchat has added a number of additional services that directly appeal to its users. Additions, like Stories, which aggregates a collection of photos and videos into a daily journal of sorts, and Discover, which facilitates partnerships between advertisers and companies to create stories specific to their brand, have bolstered Snapchat’s importance in the market and endeared the app to its user base.
With the combination of how users consume and produce content on Snapchat, many have noted that it is patterned more like reality TV than social media. Of the 150 million daily users of the app, 60% of them are creating new content. Viewers are responding positively to the abundance of content, as well. For example, take the family-turned-media-conglomerate known as The Kardashians. Their show on the E! Network enjoys an audience of about two million viewers, which is a metric that a family member like Kim or Caitlyn regularly enjoys per Story.
This revelation has television advertisers happily taking their initiatives and their dollars directly to Snapchat’s users. In a study conducted by MediaScience Lab, Snapchat far exceeded other social media platforms and television in visual attention, purchase intent and emotional response toward advertisements. This doesn’t mean that Snapchat has crossed into the targeting elements of their advertising either; they have been noted for eschewing the tracking of their users’ web visits and have modeled their approach as if their ads were made for television.
Now that Viacom (who has been enduring less than stellar returns on their television advertising in recent years) has signed a deal with Snapchat to sell advertising on the app, there are more opportunities for a wider swath of companies to engage their potential consumers.
The reason that Snapchat has seemingly surpassed its competition in these areas is the incredible impact the app has had with 18–34-year-olds, who are often seen as the Holy Grail of consumer demographics. In a study performed by Nielsen (and commissioned by Snapchat), it was shown that Snapchat is able to reach 41% of all 18–34-year-olds in the United States.
In comparison, the best television networks in the country only have sway with 6% of that same demographic. In addition to having about 26 million users here in the US, 70% percent of Snapchat users are women and 77% of college students use Snapchat daily. In this regard, the application proves to be of great use to companies looking to communicate more effectively with millennials.
While Snapchat doesn’t perform well with older markets, who generally consider the application’s user-interface to be “unfriendly,” the great asset that Snapchat is able to wield is the fact that it has created its foundation and taken up a stronghold with the creators and consumers of the future. Daily users are spending 25–30 minutes per day on Snapchat and getting eight billion daily views on videos, which places it in direct competition with current social media head honcho, Facebook.
In fact, since Facebook famously tried to acquire Snapchat for three billion dollars (there was also a less-reported offer of four billion dollars by Google), the company has gone on to a valuation of $15 billion. Now that they are (albeit, covertly) expanding into new elements, like wearable technology, it has become clear that Snapchat has grown far beyond sharing and erasing photos and has become the newest and most respected player in the media market today