Disappearing? Snapchat isn’t but its messages do…and is Twitter?

by Paul Slack
  |  April 27, 2016  |  
April 27, 2016

Snapchat is now the biggest social media platform amongst teens.

So, your first thought is probably, “So?” because teens may not be your biggest demographic – or even one of your targets. It may matter though, because just like the millennials (under 34) will be part of the “establishment” in the not too distant future – the teens will age too.

In addition to aging teens, younger people tend to adopt newer technology first – but it spreads. Whether it is because parents have to monitor what the kiddos are doing – or organically, like a vining plant, the greater a social media platform penetrates a younger demographic, the more it spreads to an older crowd. So, yes, it does matter.

Snapchat is not yet one of the big 3…or 4…or even 5 – notice we said yet. The biggest players overall are still Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. But Instagram and Pinterest have already hopped over Twitter, and LinkedIn and Snapchat’s growth rate tops that of Instagram. It hasn’t gotten the best of Instagram yet but it is only a few percentage points away and it is already the biggest amongst teens.

Bad news and good news depending on your point of view. Good news for teens (and politicians) who like disappearing messages. The bad news is a problem for parents – Snapchat’s attraction is that it is quick and easy – like text messaging with pictures and videos that can be broadcast and those messages disappear in 24 hours. If you are monitoring a teen – you have to look. Every. Day.

Snapchat’s main demographic group is the 13 to 23-year group – but as we know, uptake is increasing amongst the older crowd. A lot of people use snapchat to post selfies (what else would you expect from teens) but 30% of Snapchat messages are sent to groups and though surveys show that 14% of users may have sent sexual content at some time…most do not – and some businesses are catching on, bit-time.

Good news too for business – because ad campaigns have been pretty successful. As we also know, the biggest spending power is in the 18 to 34 group so Snapchat fits – almost as well as Instagram.

Snapchat’s first ad was shown in October of 2014 but it is growing fast. The platform has added the ability to purchase geofilters (to create localized content), snapcodes (a shortcut way to get contact info from someone you meet or a business you frequent), purchased “Bitstrips” (a cartoon creation tool), and introduced “Discover” which features paid advertising on or embedded in live story content.

It came into being in a similar way to Facebook….college fraternity guys developed it, got venture funding in a few rounds…and hasn’t gone public yet but Google offered to buy the company in late 2013 for $3 billion…which was declined.

Snapchat features like snapcodes, geofilters and snapchat itself are attractive enough that another company is developing similar features.

We’ll give you two guesses – but you should only need one.

Catch the snapshot on Snapchat at CNN Money.

What’s the point?

The answer to the silly question above is….Facebook, of course.  

In addition to everything else FB is doing, they are working on snapcode and geofilter-type stuff – and a snapchat-like imaging messenger app.

When the company that controls search has already been turned down and the monster that is eating the internet takes notice, you should too.

Snapchat accounted for 29% of video views in 2015. How’s that for a number – and Snapchat’s video format is vertical rather than horizontal. Vertical videos are watched in entirety NINE times more than horizontal videos….that trends with things we know about other visual ads. Different is interesting, interesting catches more attention, more attention means….more attention!

It may not be first on your list of things to do…but it probably needs to make its way onto that list. Even if you aren’t marketing to teens – or even millennials, keep an eye on snapchat.

…and if you are a parent, remind those kids that you will be watching.

Bottom line – visual advertising works, interesting images and videos are best, you need to keep up with trends, but Facebook is on top of it.

 

On the Horizon for Twitter

We all know, and may be sick of hearing of Twitter’s woes, but just to recap:

Twitter was, in the not-too-distant past, one of the big 3. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Just as we know that Facebook is everything, we know that LinkedIn is a niche social media platform – really important but limited in appeal. Initially, Twitter was fun…cute…interesting – and without much competition. Since Instagram took over (it IS owned by Facebook so…) and Pinterest captured our short attention spans, Twitter has taken a 5th row seat. This led to the dismissal of a couple of CEOs, the return of creator Jack Dorsey, and the dismissal of most of the top level of execs.

Nonetheless, though Twitter stopped the downhill slide of active user numbers – revenue is falling flat.

Does this mean Twitter is dead? No, it doesn’t even mean Twitter is dying but there are a few things to take note of – and really, they are partly conjecture.

Twitter growth ground to a halt sometime last year, and actually fell in Q4 of 2015. Q1 2016 revenues, just announced, have fallen short – even though the number of users was on a slight uptick. Stock, which had begun to recover, is down again, up, down, up, down. So…why?

The user growth was predictably affected by Instagram and Twitters twitter-y behavior. Introducing new stuff, controversial practices, word of its inability to roust terrorists…inflaming its users with the idea of unlimited characters (an idea that was finally squashed). Stockholders get nervous…advertisers go away, stockholders get nervous again….

It may be a stretch here but – Twitter’s user rebound may have something to do with the hotbed of politics and world events. Twitter is a fairly anonymous platform. Users can Tweet about anything that is on their mind – which makes it a perfect venue…for politics, racy content, gossip and news.

Many Twitter users get a good portion of their news from Twitter and get into a lot of debates, expressing outrageous opinions. This contentious political season and horrifying world events may have contributed to Twitter’s slight growth – but the advertisers jumped off at the last quarterly report. With political strife expected to continue until at least November – there may be a good opportunity for businesses because there is room in ad space. Even though the recent user-boost may be due to politics, world-wide strife isn’t going away before winter and – people who are in the habit of going on Twitter will keep that habit, at least for a while.

Twitter’s fairly new algorithm makes it a little harder for businesses to have a wide reach on their own but they can maximize the reach they do have. They also have another tool. Promoted tweets. Promoted tweets are pretty clearly marked as advertising but they are always better looking and more noticeable – and more engaging.

Mimicking promoted Tweets is a cheap strategy (by cheap, we mean inexpensive – not cheesy) and actually using Tweet promotion can be cost-effective.

See the latest Twitter stock twitter on NBC and note that Apple lost out too.

What’s the point?

While Twitter continues to flop around in the stock market – it isn’t dead. Even if November rolls around and the political shouting stops, it still reaches about one-third of internet users and that hasn’t changed. To be frank, Facebook itself isn’t growing that much either – it already has everyone here and growth is mainly in new products and expanding markets (i.e. not in the U.S.)

What can you do as a business?

Take advantage of every, single thing that makes a Tweet more attractive.

  • First – images. You have to include images with every Tweet.
  • Second – content. A good portion of your Tweets should be “awareness” – not sales. This means articles that aren’t selling your business – but are about your industry.
  • Third – hashtags. Learn to use them – especially when they match up with “trending” hashtags about current events.
  • Fourth – surveys. Surveys increase engagement. Check them out – for real.
  • Fifth – videos. Well-made videos improve everything.
  • Sixth – seriously consider using promoted Tweets.

Stock prices, slight changes in revenue or user numbers don’t mean that much to you. Until you hear actual funeral music for Twitter – keep on keepin’ on.

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