Is Snapchat here to stay?

Recently, I was asked which of the many social networks out there is my personal favorite. Without hesitation, and a bit to my own surprise, I answered “Snapchat.” When asked why this was my choice, at first my reasoning was simple:

  • I use it more than any other network.
  • It’s the first notification I open on my phone (ahead of less exciting things like email).
  • I love being able to share with friends and family (I send photos of my son to his great-grandmother every day).
  • It’s fun!

But upon reflection, there is more to my choice. I believe that Snapchat has staying power and a ton of potential in the social landscape, and will continue to move up the ranks. The point of the app is to be ephemeral and in the moment — no need for the elevated, editorial feel that your Instagram posts require. No concern about how many likes your photo will get. No comments. This may seem silly and obvious but shouldn’t be underestimated in the current landscape; perhaps Snapchat is serving as an outlet that the digital generation didn’t know they were seeking.

I’ve seen the argument that Snapchat may not have a place with brands. I disagree. Snapchat is a great platform for original content — brands can post stories on a regular basis that provide exclusive content, information, tips & tricks, etc. to their followers. Instagram stories is comparable in this regard, but serialized content is adapting to the transient new format that these apps provide.

Snapchat’s “world lenses” allow users to change the reality in front of them.

Another huge (and more unique) area of opportunity for Snapchat lives in the augmented reality world. Those fun face filters now have outward facing counterparts — “world lenses.” This is only the beginning of where the app can go with augmented reality. For now, it is adding a hot dog or a forest to your coffee table, but imagine a partnership with a furniture company that lets you see how an actual coffee table would look in your living room. Snapchat is just scratching the surface of what they can do with this functionality, and there is plenty of partnership and revenue potential there.

This is not to say that Snapchat will not be up against obstacles in the coming months and years; Facebook is in the business of copying any successful feature from a competitor, and Snapchat’s user base has a very short attention span. The Instagram stories feature is a great platform for brands who may in turn feel they do not need Snapchat. Add to that that Snapchat has been posting massive losses. However, Snapchat continues to see fantastic engagement rates and live solely on everyone’s most important screen, so I don’t think they’ve lost the war.