Evan Spiegel created Snapchat for me specifically. So why are all of you using it?

Everyone’s on Snapchat now, but the closest anyone can come to defining its ROI is “It’s fun.” Is there more?

I know why I downloaded Snapchat. I had a great Matthew McConaughey impression and the world needed to know. What I don’t understand is why you downloaded Snapchat.

Every motive is built on some expectation of end results. Sometimes, that end result is as simple as “Because I thought it would be fun,” but in the case of businesses and industry influencers, there’s usually more data behind it.

Right now, I’m working on an article about Snapchat, engagement, and quantifying “Fun Factor.” Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked with some of the most eminent brands and influencers who decide to live on Snapchat. I’m trying get a feel for one thing: How do you know this is working for you?

Yeah, Evan, we know. We saw the slides.

It seems to be working for the company itself. In Snapchat’s most recent round of funding, it raised $1.8B in venture. As Tom Dotan reports for The Information, a select club is paying an exorbitant amount to get their content on Discover and in front of the 100 million “young people” at the app’s disposal.

People, like me:

Smile for once, guy.

But most of us aren’t featured on Discover. Your Snapchat channel is essentially a black box. You know when someone opens your Snap, but little about his behavior beyond that. Sure, KDorff29 “watched” my Story, but did he watch it all the way through?

Okay, but are you engaged?

Did KDorff29 watch it with the sound on? Does he like me at all or is he just tapping through?

This is what I’m used to:

Ah, that sweet, sweet data.

When my editor asks me to do cool stuff, I can justify the cool stuff I did with those dashboards.

As a consequence, this is an interesting change of pace:

Eyeballs and screenshots, folks.

In my conversations so far, I’m finding something of a divide. Some brands see the app’s limited metrics as an invitation to invent creative, hack-like workarounds. Others see it as a liberation from analysis paralysis, a chance to create something truly resonant.

Regardless of what you think, this next part will hurt to hear.

You are not DJ Khaled. Neither am I. HubSpot isn’t either. Nope, not even The First Lady. She’s not Khaled.

So, why is the World Wildlife Fund making a bet on Snapchat? Why Everlane? Why people like Alexis Ohanian or Casey Neistat? What told these entities to invest in a Snapchat presence?

As I’m writing this article, I keep returning to something one of my interviewees said to me. Last week, I spoke with venture capitalist and marketing antihero Jay Acunzo. He’s big on Snapchat, but issued a cautionary warning: “It’s never been easier to reach people. It’s also never been harder to resonate with people.”

So I want to start a conversation. In the war for Snapchat’s soul, do the optimizers or the class clowns prevail? Can we make data-driven decisions while still having fun?

Give me something to argue with.