Snapchat 101

94% of US 18-24 year olds and 92% of 12-17 year olds who use social media have Snapchat on their phones. Snapchat was also the most popular social media platform for British 18-24 year olds in 2018… Snap Inc’s rebranding as a Gen Z app has certainly been successful! With Snapchat users sending an average of 34 snaps a day, the daily video views averaging 10 billion, and 64 million daily active users in Europe alone, this platform more than earns its place in any influencer marketing strategy.

Snapchat began in 2011 as a disappearing photo-sharing platform, and the app still has 229 million active users worldwide despite the competition from rivals like Instagram Stories. It made its name by showing a more authentic and unpolished side of social media, earning the approval of and appealing to younger audiences. Millennials were among the early Snapchat adopters, and are still loyal users. As with TikTok, the key to success on Snapchat is authentic content that offers something users cannot find on any other platform. Share exclusive content on this platform and you could see some great results.

A number of new features have been added to complement the original USP: in 2018, Snapchat moved away from user-generated content for the first time. Snapchat Originals features original video content shot for Snapchat specifically. Names like NBCUniversal, A&E Networks, the BBC, ABC, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer have been associated with Snapchat Originals. 2019 saw Buzzfeed added as a contributor, and also heralded the arrival of Snap Games – a new social gaming platform within the app. Snapchat has also been a real pioneer in bringing augmented reality (AR) to the mainstream through its filters (BusinessOfApps, 2020).

Nor has Snapchat ceased innovating.

Within the last few days, Snap Inc confirmed it’s testing a new experience that allows users to move through Snapchat’s public content with a vertical swiping motion — a gesture that’s more familiar to TikTok users. The test is focused on content that’s published directly to Snapchat Discover, not your friends’ private Stories. In the new format, a horizontal swiping motion — either to the left or right — will exit the experience, instead of moving you between Stories, as before (TechCrunch, 2020).

Snapchat declined to offer specific details about the test, beyond clarifying it’s in the early stages and only viewable by a very small percentage of its user base. As with the launch of Instagram Reels, the timing of Snap Inc’s test is interesting. With TikTok experiencing some unfavourable headlines, its competitors are moving boldly into its territory.

Snap Inc has made a point of being very proactive about staying ahead of the curve. It was timely in developing tools to counter some of the critical attention that social media usage in young adults has incurred from mental health charities which tripped up some of its rivals, particularly Instagram. This year it launched the ‘Here for You’ tool to support its young demographic. Simply typing in flagged words and phrases such as ‘anxiety’, ‘depression’ or ‘bullying’ will cause the app to re-direct users to relevant self-help material including expert advice, anxiety-relieving videos, and third-party counselling.

Snapchat is a popular, established platform that is sometimes overlooked. However, with a loyal following among both Millennials and Gen Z, it is a great place to access a large core of social media users. Reach out to us to include Snapchat in your next influencer marketing campaign.