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Just when you thought Snapchat was going to start fading into the background thanks to Instagram stealing their idea for Stories, the social app had some interesting news this week. A slew of changes coming that are aimed at gaining new users and having better growth in the coming year.
Snapchat’s newest update will allow users to post their Stories to their social media platforms just like Stories within the app. The difference is that non-users can watch these Stories on Snapchat’s site while being poked towards downloading the app on their mobile devices.
Brief History of Snapchat Stories
Snapchat was launched in 2011 as an “ephemeral photo messaging company” that quickly gained popularity, especially amongst a largely young, millennial audience. In 2014, they introduced a new feature they called “Stories” in addition to their existing direct messaging capabilities.
Rather than sending individual images or videos to followers, Stories served as a way to share content that all followers could view in succession. The difference here is that whenever an image or video is uploaded to a user’s Story, it is only available for twenty-four hours and can be rewatched within that window of time. After twenty-four hours, that part of the user’s Story is gone forever.
In the same year Stories launched, so did Snapchat’s advertising product in 2014. The idea now is that when users are in the app, they are served advertisements in between watching Stories from accounts they follow. Advertisements also are served as part of content found within the Discover tab from Snapchat’s selected publishers and content creators.
Just like the other major social platforms, ad revenue is essential to Snapchat’s bottom line. Advertising only works if there’s a large enough user-base to maximize that ad revenue.
Snapchat Growth in 2017
Historically, Snapchat’s user base was growing exponentially. However, in 2016, Instagram launched its Stories feature to their (permanent) photo sharing app. This came at a time when Instagram was also experiencing a large growth in users.
Instagram Stories functioned almost exactly like Snapchat’s version and optimized to drain less battery than Snapchat. When their biggest feature was copied by a direct competitor, Snapchat had little to differentiate itself from Instagram. Snapchat’s huge growth was the direct result of offering a truly unique experience compared to the other platforms.
As you can imagine, their IPO in early 2017 was not as impressive as investors were hoping. Not to mention that Snapchat’s top product executive, Tom Conrad, is leaving the company and the tech world at large come march of 2018. A lull in user growth and lackluster revenue are serious indicators that Snapchat need to step up their game.
A new feature that allows users to post their Stories to other social media networks.
Sharing Snapchat Stories On Other Platforms
This new opportunity for visibility increases their chances of finding new users to download their app. Since this feature will take viewers to Snapchat’s website to watch the Stories, they will be gaining awareness and potential for viewers to press the download button. Those eyeballs are more marketing and reach than what they were engaging in before.
Since Snapchat Stories can be posted to Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat is trying to tap into a large pool of users by which they can attract people to sign up. For example, the generally older Facebook crowd could be new buy-ins, especially with added desktop functionality.
One of the keys to this new sharing feature working is by allowing Stories to live and be viewed on Snapchat’s website — instantly making it accessible to desktop users. Although it should be noted that shared Stories will only be available for thirty days.
Snapchat’s filters are better quality, but Instagram, Facebook, and even Apple are getting better with this technology every day. The versatility of this update means that Snapchat has another way to distinguish itself from Instagram who likes to play copycat to Snapchat. However, Snapchat’s update will undercut Instagram’s shareability since users are limited to posting Stories within Instagram.
What This Feature Could Mean
This sharing feature could be a good way to reach new users, but there are a couple of implications as a result of this feature going live. Here are ways we could see Snapchat increasing revenue for themselves and others:
1) Cross-Platform Content Distribution for Influencers
We foresee this as a revenue generator for both the platform and influencers alike. Promoting things through Snap Stories is nothing new to social media influencers, however, now they can post to social media and tag the companies and brands that they are promoting in the post or link out to them.
2) Growth Generator from Downloads
It will also benefit Snapchat since non-users will be taken to their site to watch these Stories, thus increasing their chances of a download and account sign up.
3) Revenue Generator From New Users
Snapchat also plays advertisements after users watch each other’s Stories and being able to post Stories to social media means more reach for companies advertising on Snapchat. More visibility for Snap Stories means more visibility for companies looking to advertise.
The DOM Take
This could stimulate growth and perhaps break them out of the “ephemeral” stigma that draws young people in and drives everyone else away.
In all honesty, Snapchat is hoping for this to be a huge win, but that seems unlikely. Until Snapchat makes discovery easier and offers a truly unique experience that the other platforms can’t, there’s really no reason for users to give it a try. More importantly, they really should do something about the way it drains your battery.
No one really knows, so the DOM social team is interested to see how this update plays out.
Do you use Snapchat? Do you think this feature will be huge for attracting new users? Tweet at us and let us know!