“I don’t think anyone saw coming what [Snapchat is] building. At worst, they are the next-generation MTV . At best, they are the next-generation Viacom,” stated Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive.
Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social platforms, with over 100 million daily active users and 400 million snaps per day. It’s made a huge splash with the Millennial crowd, as over 70% of U.S. users falling between the 18 – 34 age range.
Snapchat’s content is pretty unique – users produce “stories” to engage follower, with created content lasting only 24 hours and consisting of a string of snaps to create a video narrative. Users can incorporate a variety of features with their Snapchat stories: image filters, geofilters, text, emojis, music, and much more.
U.S. Snapchat users view more than 2 billion videos a day. That’s already about half the number of videos people watch on Facebook, a platform whose primary user demographic is seven years older and has 10 times as many members as Snapchat.
So why is Snapchat “all that” with Millennials?
Let’s look at three unique opportunities Snapchat provides to users:
Allows the user to be super “real” without fear of repercussions.
Unlike other popular platforms, Snapchat stories vanish after 24 hours, providing users an opportunity to “be themselves” without having to screen everything they post with the “how will I feel about this in 10 years?” or “what will my future boss think about this?” They can simply post what they feel like in the manner they feel like.
In an era where over half of recruiting professionals check out candidate’s social profiles (some even requesting to be “Friend” or connect with candidates online during the recruiting process), Millennials are constantly caught between expressing themselves online and long-term implications from posting controversial views, Friday night videos, or even a not-so-professional-looking selfie.
Snapchat’s unique time-lapse encourages users to post goofy, irreverent, original content and simply be themselves, filling user's need for uninhibited self-expression on social networks, without concerns of long-term consequence.
Not congested with commercial content.
Evan Spiegel, Snapchat CEO,’s made good on his pledge to keep the platform (almost) commercial free. Describing most kinds of online advertising as, “creepy”, Spiegel has ruled out many traditional advertising applications for his start-up. And Millennials love him for it.
Snapchat does allow full-screen video ads from big brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Samsung in various “stories” from cities and college campuses and are under 10 seconds long. Snapchat’s restrictive vertical orientation means that advertisers can’t repurpose their existing ads for Snapchat, requiring their Snapchat “ads” to be unique and specific to the platform. Another big win for Millennials, who are simply sick of swiping past the same ol’ minute and a half promotional videos posted everywhere (Facebook, Hulu, Google, YouTube, etc.).
Encourages real-time broadcasting.
Snapchat’s 24-hour content life encourages users (including big brands) to push out really relevant stuff and is extremely conducive to live broadcasting events. The NBA has used Snapchat in a variety of ways including at the Draft, All-Star Game and Finals. At the 2014 All-Star Game, the NBA launched their presence on Snapchat, and fans were able to watch videos from L.A. Clippers star Chris Paul, and up-close snaps of the Slam Dunk Contest – content that they couldn’t access in a similar manner on other platforms.
In case you’re new to the “live streaming” convo, Millennials are obsessed with the live stream; so much so, that they’re abandoning traditional cable options in favor of streaming options (including social content). From Periscope to Twitch to Facebook Live Video, live broadcasting is the total bomb with Gen Y crowd. Why, you may ask? Recent studies show that when consuming media, over 40% of Millennials actually value authenticity over content itself and there are few things more authentic that live, unedited, social streaming.
Snapchat, a garage band style startup founded by couple Stanford classmates over four years ago, has quickly transformed into one of the fastest growing social media platforms.
Predicted to be something between MTV and Viacom, Snapchat’s emerging as a serious contender in the highly competitive social space by scoring big with millennial consumers across the globe. Unique platform applications, limited commercial integration, and 24-hour content expiration make it a highly versatile platform that many predict will be here for years to come.
The next Facebook? Only time will tell…
Until then, if you’re seeking a social platform to score with the 35-under crowd, prioritize Snapchat as social options for your digital strategy.
About the Author:
Becker Digital is a full-service Marketing and Public Relations Agency dedicated to empowering mission-driven organizations to reach their goals. We apply our expertise in community development, social media strategy, and public relations to connect organizational clients with today’s always-scrolling online users.