snapchat me if it’s cool
When Snapchat was first launched in 2011, it was a rather spammy, teen-infested selfie app. The idea of temporary photos seemed weird, when most users wanted to render a Kodak moment that they could upload. Soon enough, however, there was a craze over the spontaneity and realness that only snaps could offer. There was no time or need for Photoshop when people were basically texting back and forth with images, which made Snapchat a burden-free fun experience. Shortly after Snapchat’s first birthday, the app had more than 20 million daily contents and a billion snaps overall. The high traffic on the app also ensued in fighting spam and cyber bullying as well as incessant updates to keep the community entertained.
Snapchat has experimented a lot with changes, and this trial-and-error method looks like it’s working pretty well for them. They remove features that prove to be more harm than good, and further develop those with positive feedback. Gradually and without scaring users, Snapchat has introduced video sharing, messaging, Snapchat stories, Snapcodes, Snapcash (which is still kind of sketchy), geofilters, stickers, discover, and so on. The app has evolved into a multimedia platform where advertising takes place incessantly yet not intrusively. The tidiness of the app is much more than mere aesthetics, since it gives users the illusion of ad-free space as opposed to the “scroll through and try to spot things you want to see” look of Facebook feed.
Snapchat is a big deal now. It’s no longer reserved for teens and hip young adults. In 2013, only 5 percent of 25–34 year old mobile users were active on Snapchat; three years later, that number multiplied and multiplied to 38 percent. The app also serves as a hub for digital marketing, where companies and individuals come to communicate their brand instantly and personably. The app is expected to reach $1 billion in global advertising and $935.5 million in revenue by next year. eMarketer analyst Cathy Boyle remarked, “advertisers are attracted to Snapchat for its broad reach among young millennials and those in Generation Z, which are valuable demographic groups for many businesses… [to] engage those often hard-to-reach consumers, Snapchat has expanded its advertising portfolio over the past year to include a wider array of video ads, and more sponsored geofilters and sponsored lenses.” The value of the app is expected to rise as regional sections like Snapchat London infiltrate networks of global users.
Snapchat started out as a class project at Stanford, and evolved into a mega-platform that influences how we consume media contents. We’ve been spoiled by Snapchat’s quick and entertaining content distribution to the extent where everything else seems tedious by comparison. What the company has in store, we don’t know, but it is surely going to be a differentiation attempt from Facebook and Instagram, or any other apps that have been ctrl+c, ctrl+v’ing Snapchat’s features.