Why Snapchat Will Make it Through the Year
Or “My Thoughts on Why Snapchat Won’t Make it Through the Year”
- Addressing Snapchat’s IPO
Snapchat actually had a pretty good IPO. It’s shares increased 44% (compare that to Alibaba’s 10% drop), and Snapchat’s market cap was $9,000,000,000 more at the end of the day than the beginning of the day. We’ll have to see how the stocks do over the next 6 months.
2. Addressing Vine and Yik Yak
I don’t know what Yik Yak is, but I can tell you why Vine failed and why Snapchat won’t follow the same path.
Vine essentially failed because all of their big Vine stars left, and people stopped using the app. But why did this happen? To answer that, we have to look at the structure of Vine.
Vine’s structure goes like this: Big creators make content for watchers to see. Watchers can become creators, but, let’s be honest, they aren’t going to be as big as the big creators. There is a hierarchy. Does this structure seem familiar to you? Well, it should, because it’s YouTube’s structure. YouTube has the upper hand when it comes to online video, so much so no one can even come close. Vine is just YouTube, but for 6 seconds and for your phone.
Snapchat is different; sure there are a couple big Snapchaters, but the majority of Snapchats happen between friends. We are all Story creators and communicators via personal Snaps. There is no hierarchy.
Vine shouldn’t be compared to Snapchat, it should be compared to YouTube, and all YouTube competitors will fail (unless you’re Facebook).
You can’t compare apples and oranges (if that’s how you use that saying), so how you like them apples?
3. Addressing User History
Ultimately, the argument here is “if someone rolled out a better platform tomorrow, there would be very little holding you to Snapchat.” To respond to this argument, we have to look at what is holding us (or me, at least) to Snapchat and not completely and exclusively using Instagram Stories or any other competitor:
Let’s break these down:
First, following. Currently, my Snapchat Stories get somewhere between 155-170 views. Instagram Stories (the only real competitor so far) also get about the same amount of views, so this point is null. The only real reason why I bring this up is because completely new competitors (e.g. a startup and not Facebook) would not give me the same following instantly.
Second, tech. Snapchat has 2 features that distinguish it from its competitors: filters and tracking. Instagram doesn’t have any of the face filters like those dog face thingies. This is a huge selling point for Snapchat; lots of people use it. Instagram also doesn’t have point tracking for video. When you take a video on Snapchat, if you press and hold text or an emoji, the text/emoji will be tracked and stay at the same point, no matter where you move the camera, like this:
As a YouTuber with ~13,500 subscribers (check it out here: YouTube.com/TechnicalityStudios; this is how I can get a ROI for my time writing this haha), I know how demanding something like point tracking is. Snapchat being able to do this easily, fast, on a phone, and for free blows my mind.
Granted, the tech as a whole isn’t great (see the “Goodwill” section), but these 2 features sets Snapchat apart.
One final quick tech disclaimer: I personally don’t use the filters to often, but I do use the tracking, and I love that.
And third, stigma. I will address this in the “Reason Why Snapchat Will Stick Around” section.
4. Addressing Goodwill:
I have 5 responses:
First, addressing technical shortcomings. This is all completely true. As an Android user, I wish they did prioritize both Operating Systems equally. I also hope they fix these technical mixups in the future. Snapchat has crashed more times than I can count, and the video/audio sync constantly doesn’t match up. The problem: Snapchat doesn’t have enough competition. Sure, they have Facebook, whose tech is pretty good, but that’s it. With competition comes improvement, but hopefully Snapchat will be competent enough to improve their product without competition.
Second, addressing monetization. Cross-apply what I just said in the technical shortcomings paragraph. I do want to add, however, Snapchat has to make money somehow, so, while I don’t like the ads, it’s understandable. Also, am I the only one who would pay $20 to never see ads on Snapchat again?
Third, addressing Snapchat trying to sell their filters. I think they still do this! At least, there was a filter for the Oscars, which I’m pretty sure was paid for.
Fourth, addressing Snapcash. I actually really liked this! I was sad when they canceled it. Not all of my friends are on Venmo (or anything else like it), but they are all on Snapchat. I was at Chipotle the other day, and I thought Chipotle takes Android Pay. They don’t. So, I had to borrow $10 from my friend, and I really wanted to just pay him back on Snapchat. Anywho, /<Random Tangent>
Fifth, addressing Record indefinitely but only send the last 10 seconds. Something like that would be awesome if Snapchat implemented it! Maybe also a setting where you can hit record and it will capture the previous 5 seconds and the next 5 seconds. That’s how Planet Earth & the BBC captured shots like this:
5. Addressing Facebook:
This entire point is completely true, but I do have 2 responses.
First, while Facebook is a legitimate concern, I will only get scared when Snapchat either has negative quarterly growth and not positive quarterly growth, or when their daily active users significantly decreases.
Second, and this is more of an anecdote than a counter-argument, Facebook is literally the only big company that’s seriously after Snapchat. That doesn’t mean that Facebook is incapable of doing that (they totally are), but Snapchat really only has 1 competitor.
Also, I love this quote: “In 2013, Facebook offered $3 billion to buy Snapchat. In 2017, Facebook’s takeover of Snapchat won’t be so cordial.”
6. Addressing the Reason Why Snapchat Will Stick Around:
Yes! This is exactly the reason why Snapchat will stick around! With literally every other social media, you’re not sharing you’re life, you’re curating an online persona. This forces you to be significantly more selective in what you post, and restricts your organic storytelling and sharing of natural moments.
You’ve proven this in your article, but I want to prove an example: Instagram Announcements vs. Snapchat Announcements.
Whenever Instagram sends out an update and makes an announcement, they post it to their story. The problem: what they post to their story is very formal. It’s perfectly crafted with just the right pen marks and text. Heck, they probably storyboard it. This sets a crazy high standard for other Instagram story posters. Instagram makes it look like you could make a high-quality story, and if Instagram can make it using the Stories feature, you can too! Compare this to Snapchat; anytime they unveil a new feature or want to say “Happy [Insert Holiday here],” they make an animation and send it to all users. Snapchat doesn’t touch the formalness standard at all simply because a user can’t make an animation in Snapchat. Snapchat still wants you to be casual, and people still are.
Here’s an example of the animation, if you’re curious:
See? The average user can’t make this. Snapchat doesn’t set a high standard for formalness, and users still feel like they can be casual.
Now that Beme is gone (and it never really was huge anyways), there is no other app with the same informalness as Snapchat, giving Snapchat a valuable niche which they will hang on to.
Anywho, those are my thoughts. I would like to apologize for being quite Hobbesian in my writing. I like to be very systematic and address everything.
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask. I loved this article so much; it was really fascinating! Cool! Bye!
-alex ulysses nickel.
For more of my thoughts on things: YouTube.com/TechnicalityStudios