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From Video-Messaging App To Advertisers' Darling: The Rise Of Snapchat

With roughly 10 billion video views each day, Snapchat has scaled meteoric heights of social media popularity. Despite so, it has taken a light hand on advertising, with sparse geofilters and lenses.

However, Snapchat has recently revealed that it is going to start showing you ads between your friends’ Stories. While the social media app did not mention how often the ads will be shown, it revealed that the ads will be skip-able and only appear between Stories. This means that they wont break up individual snaps that make one Story.

After all, Snapchat is serious about making big bucks now. According to Adweek, Snapchat made USD $59 million last year. Now the social media platform is set on making five times as much money this year.

Image Credit: Adweek

The Rise of Snapchat

Founded by three Stanford University students in 2011, Snapchat, is very simply, a video-messaging app that allows you to send pictures and videos to others. Your followers can ‘snap’ back too at you if they have something to say.

The catch is that these pictures and videos disappear after 24 hours. The whole point of Snapchat is to document life as it happens, so there are no ‘like’ buttons or hearts.

But more than just a disappearing photo app, Snapchat became a video platform in October 2013 with the introduction of Snapchat Stories. It was originally intended for one-to-one communication, but with the introduction of the Stories feature, Snapchat now allows users to share photos and videos to all their friends at once.

Snapchat circa 2013. Image Credit: CultofAndroid
Snapchat circa 2013. Image Credit: CultofAndroid

With the Stories feature, a user can put together a series of 10 second video clips together. These stories can be watched for 24 hours over and over again before they disappear, like everything else on Snapchat.

The ephemeral app’s eyeballs on videos have been steadily rising ever since.

In April this year, Bloomberg reported Snapchat users are watching 10 billion videos a day on the application, putting it on par with media giants like Facebook. Not bad for a platform that started out as a questionable sexting app.

Keeping It Real

Snapchat’s growth flies in the face of the dynamics of social media platforms where people vie for likes. The frames on these videos can be unflattering at times.

Image Credit: Phandroid

Here, users animate their eyes or distort their faces into animal faces, the sillier the filter, the more fun. The videos on Snapchat are rarely elaborate. They include snaps of people smiling, dancing or a couple of seconds of talking before the familiar faces fade and disappear. It goes against how people behave on Facebook or Instagram, waiting to be noticed. Yet, it is in going against the current, that Snapchat has become an intimate form of expression on social media.

The personalisation element is where Snapchat really shines against other social media platforms. Since each Snap only lasts 24 hours, it feels like you are let into a personal story.

Businesses thus come across as friends trying to share interesting finds rather than them trying to sell you something.

Big Businesses Are Snapping

Snapchat has since stepped out of its shadows from being a platform where kids misused the platform to share photos not meant for anyone’s eyes to a much broader space of 30 million active users. That is why brands from every industry are using Snapchat as an effective business tool.

Brands use Snapchat to promote upcoming events, show exclusive behind-the-scene footage or partner with social media influencers for marketing collaborations.

Asos1
Image Credit: Digital Examples Blogspot

 

High-street retailer Asos, uses Snapchat for outfit ideas, office tours, discount codes and behind-the-scenes footage of photoshoots. The retailer also has a Snapchat-related content on its blog.

Image Credit: ASOS Snapchat Archives
Image Credit: ASOS Snapchat Archives

Snapchat, A Means For Honest Communication?

Brands love Snapchat for more than a couple of reasons.

First, it is a gateway to the teen and millennial crowd, and the transient nature of Snaps make each message feel personal and exclusive. It also has yet to be diluted by too many brands…for now. However, as competition gets heated up on the platform, each brand is as good as its last snap.

The growth of Snapchat is fuelled amid a scarcity; so much of what we want to say today lies not just in the words that we use, but the way we animate our eyes and smiles.

In a world where so much of what we want to share is beyond text, Snapchat’s videos add the interactivity that we lost when we began digitising our interactions.

Perhaps it is this revival of the honest communication, that has withered since the growth of digital communication (one word text replies anyone?) that is the secret to Snapchat’s success.

Feature Image Credit: Variety.com

 

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