Snapchat is an app for smartphones running either iOS or Android that allows you to send pictures and messages that last for a brief period of time. Once someone receives your photo or video through the app it disappears after a brief period of time. You can also create and share Snapchat stories (Snap Stories) which people can then click on and view snaps you’ve taken throughout the day. The world has been enjoying this app and the funny dog filter since September of 2011, but recently Snapchat has encountered a few bumps in the road. Recently, we have seen the creators of Snapchat attempting to hurtle these bumps but it seems Facebook and Instagram will be giving the once innovative app a run for its money (literally) in the next few years.
One thing that poses a problem for Snapchat is the lack of hard analytics and metrics data that make advertisers wary of investing in Snapchat’s advertising function. Instagram and Facebook both have access to a large amount of data when it comes to user analytics. Without this data to reference marketers and advertisers are walking into the blind hoping to find the needle in the haystack to determine if they’re actually getting the bang for their buck. This past year Snapchat made an attempt to fix this problem by creating Snap Audience Match which allows advertisers to upload their own user data to help with ad targeting. Granted this does help Snapchat some, but another important feature they’re missing is the ability to measure the effectiveness of these ads. This is something that Facebook and Instagram have had the ability to do for quite some time now. “It will have to turn up the dial on its analytics offerings and focus on data collection and measurement”, said Joel Wright, president and co-found of #HASHOFF, the micro-influencer marketing platform.
Influencer Marketing is also something social media platforms need to stay on top of. Advertisers look to this knowing that consumers look to family and friends for product recommendations. Social media plays a huge roll in this as many people share and post daily to these sites. In Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram people can search for “X” and “X” will show up in the search results; something Snapchat lacks. On Snapchat, users must know a person’s username which is something that isn’t always intuitive (unless the person is in your phone contacts). So when brands advertise on Snapchat, they know they’re reaching an existing fan base having little chance of a non-subscriber stumbling upon a user’s account and seeing their ad. This issue causes marketers to stray away from advertising on Snapchat and reduces their advertising revenue strategy when trying to compete against other social media platforms. A recent study by the website Bloglovin backs up this idea that marketers still aren’t on board with using Snapchat influencers with only 32% of respondents reporting they use the social network for influencer marketing. In Contrast, 91% reported using Instagram and 80% reported using Facebook influencers.
These days we hear from either friends or family that they’re sick of commercials or advertisements and often these social media platforms give you a loophole to skip these. The sad truth (for Snapchat) is that nearly 70% of Snapchat’s 150 million user base do! Snapchat advertising just doesn’t live up to its purpose for marketers. A survey of 3,000 Americans found that 69% of Snapchat users skip the ads “always” or “often”. This same number rises to 80% with the Millennial demographic which is Snapchat’s largest user base. How do Facebook and Instagram differ from this? They both force people to watch the ads that marketers pay for while Snapchat gives you a play button allowing you the option to skip the ad. Any normal person, as we have seen, will choose the option to skip an ad instead of watch a 30 second video they never intended on watching to begin with. Due to these ads being highly skippable brands are getting a lot less exposure on Snapchat than they could be if Snapchat were to make some minor adjustments to their ads platform. To attract more advertisers, Snapchat needs to find ways to improve ad viewing rates and get the amount of skipped ads down to an extremely low percentage. This may have to involve taking away a user’s’ ability to skip ads which may help Snapchat, but also hurt them with their current user base.
Along with a these few speed bumps we see for Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram are now beginning to roll out their own version of Snapchat. Recently we have seen both platforms integrate a “Stories” function along with custom filters, which were the one thing that Snapchat has prided itself on for being unique. Snapchat is a relative newcomer to the whole social network scene, but brought many new concepts to the table and have coasted on this success. However, it appears that Snapchat will need to start investigating a viable way to make money through its ads, otherwise it may just become a more advanced version of Snapseed.
Brett Brooks is a Partner of RedFox Creative. For more information or to leave a comment send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us at http://www.redfoxcreate.com. We’d love to hear from you!