Why Should Your Business Care About Snapchat?

Author: Gina Hall | January 26, 2016

You’re not 13, so why should you care about Snapchat? Well, if that’s all you know about this red-hot app that’s all the rage among the younger Millennial set, let’s begin with a briefing.

Launched in 2011 by a pair of frat brothers from Stanford — Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown — Snapchat is a text-messaging app with photo and video capabilities. Messages disappear within 10 seconds after the receiver opens them. The company’s logo of a ghost on a yellow backdrop haunts the boardwalk of Venice Beach.

But here’s the kicker: The company was recently valued in the $19 billion neighborhood. That’s billion with a “b.” The app boasts more than 200 million active monthly users and is still growing. More importantly, about seven out of 10 of those users are reportedly under the age of 25. And seven out of 10 are female.

If your target demographic is young and/or female, now you know where to find them. Furthermore, this is an actively engaged audience, with users sharing some 8,796 photos per second (and not all of them are of genitalia).

The app differs from traditional texting-apps by ditching features like online status, typing indicators, photo attachments and read receipts — you’ll know a message was read because it will disappear from the conversation. The idea is to create a conversation as though you’re in the same room as a person rather than conversing by mail correspondence.

“We’re trying to get rid of those weird boxes that we put media into,” Spiegel told The Verge last year, “and get to the essence of conversation — that we’re both here.” The essential thing, he says, “is not which media format we choose to talk to each other with … it’s just someone wanting to talk to you.”

Young audiences are ostensibly drawn to the app because it has yet to be infiltrated by parents and grandparents, many of whom find the interface confusing or downright user-unfriendly, and that’s if they’re aware of it at all. This is a generation that has seen older demographics make life mistakes concerning their digital footprint, and so privacy is probably another favorable factor. Finally, the space has yet to be bogged down with advertisers — for now.

If your concern in marketing on Snapchat is that the message will go poof and disappear, that’s a fair observation but consider the way your message is probably getting lost in the barrage of posts on Facebook or among countless similar tweets on Twitter. While both sites boast huge numbers of users, their median age skews much higher. In fact, many young people have grown up without even acquiring a Facebook account, eschewing it the way their older siblings did with MySpace.

Facebook understands this. Last year, its founder, Mark Zuckerberg reportedly offered Spiegel $3 billion for the company, an offer that Snapchat’s CEO rejected.

There’s a market out there waiting to be tapped. But you’d better tap it quick because the more marketers descend upon the space, the sooner users will depart for more ad-free pastures.

Image source: focal point / Shutterstock.com

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