Snapchat (Pending:CHAT) has become one of the most compelling Unicorns of 2015. The app has been growing significant momentum ever since the company’s introduction of several new features, including Live Story and Explore. Users are recognizing Snapchat’s unique value in showing a more accurate representation of social interaction and experience, opposed to Instagram and Facebook where users posts are often carefully crafted to portray a calculated representation of themselves.
Businesses are now getting in on the action because Snapchat is fulfilling a void that cannot be reached through the other social media platforms. We have seen several companies cross promote their brand by displaying a snap code logo as their Twitter/Instagram/Facebook profile avatars.
Snapchat has been an effective outlet for businesses to advertise in a non-invasive and organic fashion, which is a problem for the other Social Media giants. Snapchat has found an unique way to appeal to advertisers though sponsored Geo-filter tags that don’t interfere with the user experience or content but can rather enhance it. Snapchat has been charging companies upwards of $750,000 per day for a sponsored Geotag.
Snapchat has been a new avenue for celebrities and influencers to connect with their following and even reinvent their careers. We have seen this with the resurging popularity of DJ Khaled, now hailed as the biggest Snapchat star in the world. Khaled has found new ways to use the app while showing other influencers how they can benefit from the platform. DJ Khaled is receiving millions of view per snap providing great product placement opportunities. The app has elevated DJ Khaled’s career to a new level while seeing plenty of news coverage on his newfound success.
2016: The Year of Snapchat
By showing offline events live on Snapchat through its Story function, it brings new sponsorship and other event specific advertising opportunities. The NFL has partnered with Snapchat, the first sports member to do so in their Explorer service, showing live look ins of top highlights. Snapchat is a natural fit for sports and as it can give quick highlights in an ESPN like style. Expect other top sports leagues and media outlets to follow suit in 2016.
2016 has been deemed the year of the Snapchat Election. Previous Republican and Democratic debates have already been featured on the live story function. Expect candidates to utilize Snapchat to reach a critical voter demographic during the upcoming election cycle. How potential candidates use social media trends can make or break a campaign, much like how Barrack Obama leveraged Twitter and Facebook to build a following in the past two elections.
The unique element of Snapchat is that it combines transparency with privacy, which has become a trend in social media user engagement. Snapchat has great versatility with its combination of 1:1 and 1:many sharing functions. Snapchat has also become an innovator by providing curated live event coverage on its platform. You can see that Twitter (with Moments) and Instagram are playing catch-up in this arena with attempts that have not hit a critical mass. Twitter and Instagram have not entered this space successfully without bombarding its users with advertising. Their platforms have not been set up with these new additions in mind so they have been unable to accomodate them appropriately.
Snapchat is also beginning to grow its demographic, it started out popular with the youth and is now expanding to all ages, much like Instagram did year’s prior. The company has emerged as one of the most viable candidates to disrupt the social media empire of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). While both have inherently different uses and values, Snapchat cannot be ignored as a major player in social media moving forward.
In 2015, alone Snapchat has experienced immense growth in its user base and the amount of content shared on the platform. Snaps and videos in the app are now viewed over 6 billion times a day, a 300% increase since May. To put this in perspective, Facebook currently handles 8 billion video views daily, twice the amount the company received in April. Much more content is shared per user on Snapchat than on Facebook. Snapchat’s 2015 revenue is expected to reach $100 Million with a estimated valuation ranging from $15-20 Billion. With the rapid growth and significant potential, 2016 is poised to be the biggest year yet for Snapchat.
As with every Social Media outlet, there are a few drawbacks to Snapchats platform. It is difficult to build a following without cross promotion on other social media networks. The focus is also much narrower than other networks and there is not as much interaction and engagement with other users. Many feel that disappearing content is antithetical to advertising. These challenges however, can be solved in innovative ways and Snapchat has demonstrated that they can break through these barriers and extend their growth.
The Amazing part of Snapchat is that the company has only just scratched the surface of what the platform is capable of and how it can evolve. A new study has shown that it is becoming a useful tool for prospective employers to reach out to millennials. While 2015 has been a year of significant growth for the company; expect 2016 to be the year of Snapchat.