Snapchat is a messenger, which works in a somewhat unusual for the user mode: the mobile application is focused primarily not on the exchange of text messages, but on the instant creation and distribution of photos and short videos. On them, the owner of the smartphone can record a small message, apply one of the many masks or take a standard selfie with the date or text superimposed.
I attended a panel discussion featuring Snapchat stars at Social Media Marketing World and here was an off-hand comment from that panel that should have sent a chill through the room: “My followers on Snapchat have been increasing a lot, but my engagement hasn’t.”
I don’t know who said this because the room was so full I was sitting on the floor and could not see anything. But it was stated by somebody undoubtedly important and influential in the Snapchat world.
Here’s why that comment is significant. What he is saying is that high engagement is not sustainable on a large scale, something we all know by now. The same “content shock” principle applies with Snapchat and every other attention-based platform — when the amount of content goes up, so does the competition for attention. If the amount of content skyrockets, and our attention span is finite, something has to give.
Even in my little Snapchat experimental world, I already have access to so many stories, that I’m ready for them to be over. OK, I see you with a clown nose. Great, I see you eating your hamburger today. Yippee, you’re drinking beer with friends. You’re walking through a mall. When can this be over please?
If I was following just five people, this might be manageable. But as more people climb aboard, I feel obligated to follow these people back, and that’s when it starts to get overwhelming. I can only take so many hamburger movies in a day. That’s what content shock is all about. To earn my sustained attention, you are going to have to provide content that is through the roof entertaining, every day … Just like Facebook, YouTube and every other saturated channel. And that’s not easy.
The platform was launched in 2011 as a messenger for quick photo sharing ("snap" - snapshot). Today, the service allows you to share photos and short videos, which automatically disappear after 24 hours.
Here are five relevant facts you need to know about Snapchat:
The social network has overtaken Twitter and Pinterest in popularity: 397 million people use the platform today, 238 million of whom are active every day.
The majority of Snapchat users are under 25 years old.
The largest audience (101.4 million) is in the U.S.. There, Snapchat reaches 90 percent of internet users ages 13 to 24 - more than Facebook, Instagram and Messenger combined.
American teens say Snapchat is the most important social network for them.
61% of the platform's users are women and 38% are men.
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