Actually, my first reaction was “Is it so?” As came across a few interesting reads with lots of data on the growing number of snapchat users, it made me revisit my initial reaction. I just couldn't deny the information in front of me – Snapchat is in a race with Twitter.
This four-year old messaging app has been especially popular with teens and millennials. As a matter of fact, I started using it purely out of curiosity, and now I find myself glued to it!
Although it is still a bit early to conclude anything, here are few interesting facts that prompt you to believe Snapchat’s increasing popularity when compared with Twitter.
Increase in Daily Active Users
A recent report by Bloomberg shows daily active users of Snapchat have crossed 150 million users. This has already surpassed Twitter’s daily active users, which stand at 140 million users (According to Twitter, 44% of their active users ( 310 million) are using Twitter on a daily basis).
While Twitter has been around for a decade, the popularity of Snapchat, especially among teenagers and millennials, seems to be creating a significant buzz. Although, these two social media channels are on different paths, the basic premise is to create user engagement. Twitter had great initial success; however, it now appears as if Snapchat has hit the bulls-eye.
Increased Engagement Levels
This could be attributed to the fact that this messaging app has made messaging more of an experience, more fun for it's users. You just don't communicate with each other on Snapchat.
Take a look; you could use their imaging software and come up with very interesting transformations to your otherwise simple photo. You could swap faces with someone else, make yourself look like a puppy or, even better, send across short videos or annotated selfies.
That's much more interesting than a 140 character tweet, right? Who on earth would not like to communicate with friends and family in such interesting and funny ways?
Perhaps a better way to look at it could be if you're looking to check on an interesting part of someone’s personal life, then you could get their story on the Snapchat app.
In case of Twitter, you go out all loud and Tweet to the world about your opinions, ideas or stance on a particular thing, event, issue of something trending. You may undoubtedly have more followers on Twitter than any other social platform. However, it may not necessarily create a higher level of engagement among your followers.
The introduction of the feature ‘Story Explorer’ is in direct competition with the ‘Moments’ feature on Twitter. Now, ‘Story Explorer’ helps you to look at news bits or any other popular media from various angles.
What is so different? Well, imagine you are watching a sporting event in a stadium or a concert in a venue and you record a short video which you let Snapchat distribute it across their users.
But what is really interesting is that you are not the only one watching the event. There are scores of other people watching, recording and wanting it to be distributed through Snapchat.
The best part is these videos are the ones recorded in the last 24 hours. Wouldn’t it be amazing to watch different angles of the same news bit? You bet!
Attract More Advertisers
One of the reasons why social media marketing is gaining importance in the recent years is marketers are able to do personalized marketing, and establish that engagement with their current and future customers. More so, from an advertising perspective, social media channels are proving to the best platforms for companies to advertise their products as they are able to track their audience likes, dislikes and preferences and accordingly make their ad spends work for them with real time data.
Twitter is struggling with decreasing user engagement levels which are directly hitting its advertisement revenues. Twitter’s year-on-year advertising revenue has declined from 111% in FY 2014 to 59% in FY 2015, making it extremely difficult for them.
On the other hand, Snapchat is going aggressive in terms of advertisement revenues. With the recent hiring of an executive from Facebook to putting in a dedicated sales team, Snapchat is focused to attract more advertisers in the coming days.
Although Twitter is taking measures to increase its stagnant user base as well as attract more advertisers, the growing popularity of Snapchat seems to be one of their greatest impediments to overcome.
Unique Engagement Strategy
Perhaps one of the important reasons for Snapchat’s popularity could be their unique feature where your posts get automatically deleted within 24 hours or once they are viewed. This is in fact an innovative way to keep the user engagement not only intact but increasing too.
According to Snapchat, their users spend nearly 25 to 30 minutes on their platform and there is a fast increase in these figures. In addition, the video views have witnessed a huge increase in the number of daily views from 2 billion in May 2015 to 7 million recently.
As an active social platform user, I’m always bogged down by the increasing number of videos that eat into my data storage. The automatic deleting of content can come as great relief to users who send interesting videos but don't have to be worried about storage problems
No wonder it has hit off well with the teenagers. Indeed a smart way, to up user engagement!
An ardent Twitter fan may be of the opinion that Snapchat is just good enough for teenagers or millennials. But the simple fact that it's creating significant user engagement is worth taking notice. While Twitter is slowly making way for its competitor, Snapchat with its rapid growth seems be giving a tough fight.
I personally would not vouch for any particular social channel as I understand the strengths of both. But at the end of the day, everything boils down to how well you can keep the user engagement interesting and interactive.
Bottom line is, the days, weeks and months ahead should be interesting to watch these two players.
Clare Hardin is an expert digital marketing strategist associated with ‘The Digital Vibes‘. She has years of experience in writing articles, blog posts, ebooks, and creating digital marketing strategy, running social media campaigns, helping in SEO activities for large businesses and professionals.