Snapchat can be considered to be one of the top apps that are used by millennials; being launched in 2011 and setting the way for new, creative and innovative ideas. This app has raced to the top when it comes to sharing photos and being able to capture the imaginations of the millennial market. Snapchat was able to become such a success because it created a way for the millennial market to share photos freely without the aftermath of other social media like Instagram or Facebook. The freedom of having the ability to post your picture or video and the content self-destruct in the matter of seconds, gave the freedom of making the app engaging and a new way of social nature sharing of being “in the moment”.
“It seems odd that at the being of the internet everyone decided everything should stick around forever. I think our application makes communication a lot more human and natural.” – Spiegel
Put it into perspective, think of the world Snapchat entered, at a time where people had the ability of posting a picture that was taken weeks ago and uploading it to media platforms like Instagram or Facebook posing as just being recently taken. Snapchat was a way out of that, because of the aspect of being live and capturing that moment you are experiencing at that very second, took away the idea of posting content at a later date. Being easy to use, also a new way to communicate with your friends made people want to adopt this app. Snapchat help foster the sense of privacy and security, creating less inhibition for users and an overall a more care-free and fun experience.
The founders of Snapchat, first spread the word about the app to college friends at Stanford University. Unfortunately, the app’s popularity did not really start to take off until it made its way into the high school ranks and became popular amongst teenagers. It gave the ability to young teens to exchange messages quickly leaving no trace of evidence for others to see. According to GrowthHackers, Spiegel’s mother told their cousin about the app who in turn showed his friends at a high school in Southern California, and from there the app spread like wildfire. Snapchat’s popularity began in early 2012, grabbing the attention teens and mainstream press such as TechCrunch and New York Times. Although, the mainstream press framed the app around sexting, 80% of Snaps are sent during the day, meaning school day specially because of the audience that mainly used it at the time —suggesting that it was less about sex and more about the freedom of expression.
After getting press from the New York Times and being popular for teenagers, Snapchat has not only been one of the top downloads for photo and video but has consistently been one of the top overall apps downloaded in the app store. Snapchat was able to trail blaze and attract the attention of the 20 plus crowd making the app even more successful. Snapchat’s diffusion of innovation started off with a narrow audience, a small engaged group of people (high school students) were useful at Snapchat’s start. By picking the right early adopters and targeting the young audience help influence why others should adopt the app. These two factors were a foundation of why so many people adopted the app. Although, it is still not determine if the technology has reached the critical masses point there is still research being conducted on the app every year due to the rapid growth of success.
Snapchat has definitely enjoyed a fast rise to frame in the digital world, starting off as an obscure mobile network, has gone mainstream and being on the radar of some of the largest digital firms. Stats from DMR help to show how successful the app as become. As of September 14, 2016 the active number of Snapchat users daily is 150 million. In addition, the percentage of all US social media users that use Snapchat is around 18%, while the percentage of Snapchat daily users that contribute content are 60%. These stats help see the widely use of Snapchat whether that may be for an average users or companies that use Snapchat to deliver information to their target audience.
Although, Americans still prefer Facebook, Snapchat is slowly climbing up to being the preferred app among ages 12-24 years. According to Edison Research, they asked Americans who were 12+ to tell them which social sites and services they use, but also which ones they use the most. The winner of course was Facebook when taking the sample in 2015, by 2016 Facebook was still dominant but went down by 4% and by surprise Snapchat doubled from 4% to 8%. Now looking at Americans who were ages 12-24 years old, this was considered to be the biggest shift. In 2015, 43 % of people in this age group rather use Facebook than Snapchat at 15% but as of 2016 Facebook declined significantly with this particularly age group, while Snapchat grew from 15% to 26%. More people within this age group use Snapchat than they use Facebook. Overall, one is able to see how Snapchat has a strong hold on that particular age group and is slowly challenging Facebook.
Many tend to forget that the features, help grasp and keep the attention of the users, and having others adopt the technology. The main key factors that may play a role on how Snapchat became successful so quickly is the feature, such as Discover.
A year ago Snapchat launched its network of media partners known as the feature Discover, over that time publishers have built more mobile audiences, and some have found a new revenue source. Snapchat’s media partners, range from 128 year old National Geographic to two year old Fusion; Snapchat’s media partners found this to be the best way to reach millennials, and in return with video counts that compete with Facebook. The Discover feature is a prominent Snapchat feature because of allowing users to peruse and watch multimedia content from different media companies. Snapchat was able to give the best of both worlds to their users and media partners. The feature has been successful enough for Snapchat, to the point where more companies want to be apart of the Discover feature. Convincing a number of media companies to enter into agreements to have their content shown in Discover, because of the lucrative advertising to the main target being the teenage demographic. Snapchat was able to make this partnership between media companies, but that also meant for the media companies to maintain a high demand for content. The Discover feature was something that wasn’t popular but as the media companies added more interesting content and even featured celebrities it became more popular and is still continuing to grow.
With Snapchat redesigning Discover, users now have the choice of subscribing to their favorite publisher also known as the “media company”. Snapchat story page was redesign in the effort to boost views of publishers’ content, and help build the advertising business. The new design allows publishers to include an image and a headline to promote each day’s story. While, Live Stories that consist of users contributing from events around the world and are often more popular than publishers’ stories, will be alongside one another, instead of having separate locations on the app. For the first time users will be able to “subscribe” to the publishers channels, also even if you do not subscribe to the publishers page it will still appear on the Discover page. By redesigning shows Snapchat’s efforts to drive users to Discover content, and it actually helping many of the media partners. For example, Cosmopolitan says it gets 20 million view a month from the Discover feature, being a significant number, but also far from being popular. With having subscriptions will help give Snapchat another metric for evaluating a channel’s success. By merging the more popular Live Stories with Discover should in theory help more users find the editorial channels. One of Snapchat’s major challenge is to bring more views to everyday stories produced by their media partners.
Snapchat is still a company that is on its way up, having features such as Discover and Live Stories and the use of geofilters, facial recognition features have all play some role on why the technology was so rapidly adopted by users. This app was able to focus on a particular audience and build from those users adding more engaging and creative ways to use the app. Many people fail to realize but Snapchat is an influential with all of the different abilities it offers their users and getting to view other parts of the world other than just you. Having the ability to be so instant and affective, can be one of the reason way people want to use the app. Understanding the evolution of Snapchat and the continued growth can lead it to be just as popular as Facebook.