February 14, 2017
I spoke at a middle school recently about marketing and publishing and asked the kids (aged 12-14) which social media channels they used the most. "Who uses Snapchat?" All hands went up. "Who uses Instagram?" 95% of the kids put up their hands. "Who uses Facebook?" Out of a hundred people, ten hands went into the air, and five of them belonged to teachers. The general consensus when asked about the lack of faith in Facebook was that the social media giant is "for old people."
As a company, if you're looking to market to a broad spectrum of people, Facebook is quickly losing ground as a social media behemoth. While it's variety of targeting options are undeniable and the ability to create custom audiences is something that hasn't been duplicated by anyone (other than maybe Google's in-market audiences), Facebook is failing to grab the attention of younger generations. Instead those consumers of tomorrow are turning to the instantly gratified, fast-growing, and undeniably popular Snapchat and Instagram social media channels. But which one is better for your business?
"Somewhere along the way, when we were building social media products, we forgot the reason we like to communicate with our friends is because it's fun." - Evan Spiegel, Founder and CEO of Snap Inc.
SNAPCHAT was launched in 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy. It started as a class project at Stanford University and was quickly developed into a social media sharing platform with the unique feature that images you shared would only last for a short amount of time before disappearing forever. Most recently, Snapchat added chat features, and uses a variety of fun filters to alter user's appearance. Ever wanted to look like a sparkly talking deer? Now you can! For many content marketers, the concept is an absolute nightmare because why create content that can't be repurposed or that has a lifespan of only a few seconds? Regardless, the popularity of the platform is impossible to ignore:
Current Snapchat Users Stats:
INSTAGRAM was initially released in October 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger as a photo sharing application. The system gained popularity quickly, reaching 100 million active users in just under two years. In 2012, Instagram was purchased by Facebook for $1 Billion and continues to be integrated into the platform while also remaining as a standalone app. Allowing you to not only share images but also add filters, build friend lists, and most recently, broadcast live videos, share 24 hour stories, and send private DMs, the app continues to grow. Many people argue that Instagram is simply stealing the best pieces of other apps. Most notably the ‘Stories' feature on Instagram is just Snapchat without the funny filters and a slightly longer lifespan. However, it remains more popular than its competitor:
Current Instagram User Stats:
"What's awesome about social media is you curate your own experience. That leads to the rise of niche celebrities, who are actually just as popular as mass celebrities, but because there's no incentive for traditional media to invest in them as celebrities, they find a home where people can follow them on Instagram." - Kevin Systrom, Founder of Instagram
The similarities between the two products are impossible to ignore, but it's the small differences that marketers need to pay attention to. Let's break it down . . .
In the end it really depends upon you and the needs of your company. In our opinion, Snapchat has promise and it's heavy use by the upcoming generations that will become our future clients and customers means we can't ignore or dismiss it. At the same token, it's lack of analytics and it's more ‘fun' slant on the market means it's better used for short campaigns that provide instant results. For example, if you wanted to draw someone out to your poutine restaurant at 11pm, running a Snapchat promo or ad within a targeted location would likely work extremely well. Or if you have a product targeted to a younger age demographic, particularly females, you could well make use of Snapchat's advertising and Geo Filter features.
In our opinion, Instagram still offers the best bang for your marketing buck. Instagram is used by 48.8% of brands in the US. This number is expected to rise to 70% by late 2017. 75% of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website, after viewing an instagram post. 56% of Instagram users' annual income is over $50,000 per year. The fact that these stats even exist gives them an immediate edge over Snapchat. Instagram has already made steps to work with brands and offer targeted advertising. It's user-friendly nature allowing multiple accounts while providing analytics means you can easily manage accounts and measure results. The content is also archivable and shareable across multiple other channels giving you a far wider reach than any other competitor.
However, every business is different and it's up to you to determine which social media platforms will work best with your business. And who knows what other social media giant is lurking just around the corner?