At the beginning of the 2016, nobody was taking Snapchat seriously - “another app trying to compete with Facebook”; “sexting app”, “the app for kids” - was how Snapchat was called. Snapchat’s ephemeral nature deceived many that it is, in its nature, just another ephemeral fad.
But, here we are, in 2017. - having Instagram stories, having Facebook My Day and having Snapchat beating all social networks when it comes to a daily number of views. Not so trivial anymore, right?
How it all happened and more importantly why? How and when did Snapchat change the way digital marketing works?
Who’s the King?
I think we all know the answer to this one. Content still rules and will be ruling in the following years. What Snapchat changed through its Stories is - how we tell them.
Firstly, Facebook, and Instagram recently, created its algorithm in a way that users are primarily served with the most recent posts and then the older ones. Meaning, people were consuming content in reverse chronological order - the latest news firstly, while older ones were left behind, and in most cases left to your own will of pursuit for them.
Snapchat introduced chronology which established so much order - stories and Snaps were played in a chronological order, which feels so much more natural to its users. The things now finally have the beginning and the end which, by nature, makes one’s story more meaningful, as well as changes the way the audience perceives it. In that lays one of the greatest potentials when it comes to advertising because now brands have the chance to captivate their costumers with an innovative and creative way of telling stories, what was immediately recognized by Facebook and Instagram.
No kidding, just real-time!
Many marketers found real-time stories challenging, but only because, in order to make a really good real-time story, one has to be a really good real-time listener. And guess what, for that, you need a lot of resources and time. It means one should answer to a real-time happening and challenges and react - quickly in a real, raw, overthinking-free manner. Therefore, real-time content creating and consumption made communication more personal - it became rawer and imitating face-to-face communication, again, seems more natural to users and does not look like advertising we used to see.
Should I stay or should I go?
In 2016. content turned out to be all about letting go, disappearing and appearing again.
By making content (stories) disappear, Snapchat created a new user mindset which manifested as hungry for more and more. Users are anticipating a new story and promptly reacting to existing one, since disappearing content started making a feeling of missing out something, in case you don’t react in the same moment. Following that, users started to pay more attention to the stories - in fear of missing out, they reached out more instantaneously for their phones, closely following the development in the story.
Lastly, disappearing content made users feel more safe about the amount of content they’re posting daily and less concerned about the photos and videos they’re putting out, which resulted in featuring more daily content, more views, more users and 24/7 activities of everyone addicted to stories. :)
Vertical - new in
Although horizontal videos were more popular al the time - stories changed that, too! And although it may seem that it requires a new approach, vertical videos actually felt more natural because users didn’t have to turn their phones in order to record something and turn them again later in order to see the video or show to someone else.
Moreover, the battle between the vertical-horizontal way of recording videos is going to be soon over, since Snapchat introduced Spectacles - that circular video that can be viewed in landscape and portrait. Just a matter of time when Mark will copy that, too! :’D
In the end...
I'll finish as I' ve started this blog post - in the beginning of 2016th everything seemed different. Many doubted in Snapchat’s success, although it has, at that time, already reached its peak concerning success in the USA and started spreading throughout the world. The one who immediately recognized its value was, of course, one of the greatest game-changers of a new age - Mark Zuckerberg, who tried to buy Snapchat several times - unsuccessfully.
As one of the few, Mark knew that stories and disappearing content significantly change the future of social media, not only technically, but also concerning the kinds of content we post as private users, as well the ones we post as brands. The way we approach our audience and followers will be different, the way we communicate with them will be different, as well as what we’ll get back in return from them. And actually - it already is.
As one can see, things have changed pretty rapidly, while we can only guess what awaits us in the new 2017. Maybe, that is the most interesting part in the end, as Andy Warhol said: “The idea of waiting for something, makes it more exciting.” :)