#WednesdayWisdom is a new series from Way To Blue where each week we profile a specific platform to help you understand what it is, why you should care, and how you could use it in your own strategy.
Snapchat‘s parent company Snap, Inc just filed for IPO and over the next few minutes, we’re going to look at how the messaging app has transformed from a simple disappearing messaging app into a digital video phenomenon with an estimated value of $25 billion dollars, making it the third most valuable tech company at the time of its market debut after Alibaba and Facebook.
Snapchat, founded in a Stanford dorm room in 2011 began as a simple way to send friends photos, has grown to allow users to send and receive video and text messages that can last up to a maximum of 10 seconds. Since 2013 Snapchat has introduced new features like Stories (including Discover & Live channels), geofilters, stickers, lenses, and Snap Ads that have become essential for brands to advertise on the platform.
Why should I care?
Snapchat in only 5 short years has a daily active user base of 150 million users, of which 60% live outside the US and Canada (Twitter, founded in 2005, only has 140 million daily active users).
A survey conducted by Piper Jaffray, released earlier this year, found that 80% of teens say they used Snapchat at least once per month and 35% said it was their favorite platform making Snapchat the most popular social platform among teens (52% of teens say they log into Facebook monthly and only 13% said it was their favorite platform).
What is also impressive is that Snapchat is seeing 10 billion daily video views, 2 billion more daily video views than Facebook.
What else should I know?
In September of this year Snapchat rebranded itself as Snap, Inc – a camera company, as it moved to release more products outside of its flagship product, Snapchat. Snap, Inc’s first announcement following the rebranding was that it would be releasing a new line of wearable-tech sunglasses called Spectacles, that are designed to capture raw content and live moments to upload directly to your Snapchat Story.
Spectacles are currently only available to consumers through a traveling vending machine that appears at a random location across the United States every 48-72 hours. You can find the location of the current vending machine at the Spectacle website.
How are brands engaging on the platform?
Stories – A feed of all your videos and photos that you’ve selected to be included in your story. Stories exist for 24 hours and can be viewed by you and all your friends and can be replayed as many times as you want (a third of Snapchat users use Stories).
- Discover Channels – Open to select publishers and media brands, who regularly curate editorial content to push the boundaries of Snapchat’s storytelling capacities (advertising opportunities available)
- Live Channels – Compilations of user-generated content from Snapchatters at events and locations around the world (advertising opportunities available)
Geofilters – photo and video filters that are constricted to a pre-designated area (which can be anything from an entire country or narrowed down to specific neighborhood in a city)
- Brands can purchase custom filters for events (e.g. create a filter around the release of a film, festival, public holiday, etc)
- Stickers can be added to any Snap to further personalize content (not open to advertisers)
Lenses – facial recognition/augmented reality software to change the appearance to change the appearance of a user’s face or incorporate fictional elements into Snapchat content
- Movie studios often purchase lenses to advertising coming theatrical and home entertainment release (e.g. Taco Bell is often widely associated as one the first brands to design a Lense that turned users into tacos)
Snap Ads – ads that appear between Snapchat Stories