Published on Julio 19th, 2017 | by GAby Menta0
Finding Snapchat’s Path To Success [Survey]
Snapchat appears to be in a world of trouble right now.
In the past two quarters, their user growth has slowed considerably, their stock has been downgraded and is still falling, and countless articles have been written predicting the app’s impending doom.
This failure is thanks in large part to Instagram’s wildly successful cloning of Snapchat’s Stories and augmented reality features – if merely being more fun was Snapchat’s social competitive advantage, they’re losing their edge.
But there is a way forward for Snapchat – and it’s not by producing more original content or partnering with James Corden (seriously, this is something they’re doing).
I recently surveyed 100 young Americans, ages 18 to 26, on how they view and use Instagram and Snapchat Stories and discovered there’s general agreement between users on the differences.
Here’s what these Millennials and Generation Zers told me:
Snapchat is Private
Users appreciate Snapchat’s privacy and see it as the fundamental distinction between Instagram and Snapchat Stories.
If the responses didn’t directly mention privacy, they usually referenced Snaps having a “smaller” or more “limited” audience, a similar observation.
- “I can be more open and silly on Snapchat.”
- “Privacy on Snapchat rules”
- “My Snapchat friends list is highly curated, so I post funny/embarrassing sh*t that only my friends will see.”
- “Snapchat is a lot more private — only for people I allow, and Instagram is more public since anyone can see my account.”
- “Is it NSFW? Then it’s for the Snapchat otherwise my regional manager can peep it no thanks.”
The Content is Different
Users see Instagram as a place to focus on beautiful, aesthetically pleasing images, while Snapchat is for being fun, silly, or risque.
This content distinction is also seen in the survey results, where only 9% said they regularly post the same story on both platforms. A sizeable majority (61%) never post the same story twice.
- “If it’s more aesthetically pleasing, I post it to Instagram. If it’s funny/personal, it goes on Snapchat.”
- “If it’s not appropriate for Instagram, it goes to Snapchat.”
- “Snapchat for everyday use. Instagram for what makes my image look better/good quality photos.”
- “If I’m drinking or doing drugs it goes on Snapchat.”
- “Instagram is maybe more socially acceptable stories where as snapchat is more risqué!”
- “Chic, cool, showing off, want to use the neat geotag thing, pretty = Instagram story. Funny, embarrassing, making fun of people, talking shit = Snapchat story”
Snapchat is About Narrowcasting
Some users decide to post a Story on Snapchat simply because there’s a single person (“my boo”) who may see it, but many others said they used Snapchat more because of the limited audience and ability to send direct, private messages. Of course, Instagram has direct messages too, but they’re not as fundamental to the process as they are on Snapchat.
That said, nearly 60% of respondents stated they had more views on their Instagram Stories, which had led them to post more public-facing content.
- “Who I want to see the story makes a difference. Different people follow me on each app.”
- “Snapchat is more for a selected audience, Instagram more people can see.”
- “I primarily use Snap to look at myself in filters and send dumb pictures to my sister.”
- “Insta is stuff my family can find. And I use Snap more for direct messages.”
- “Personal things go on Snapchat, pictures and topical things go on Insta.”
- “I mostly post to Snapchat bc less people will see it and i feel like i can post whatever i want.”
What Does This All Mean for Snapchat?
Snapchat needs to focus on narrowcasting, making it as simple and engaging as possible for users to send specific content privately to select groups of friends and family.
Snapchat’s new Group Stories feature is a step in the right direction – it plays to users’ desire for narrowcasting and privacy – and you can already create specific Groups from your connections to share both direct messages and Snaps.
Based on this survey data, my experiences with the app, and speaking to many users, Snapchat would be smart to focus on building on those elements, instead of looking to off-brand content partnerships. Nobody’s going to Snapchat for their featured content, it’s all about talking to their friends.
*Survey results from May 2017 survey of 100 American social media users between the ages of 18 and 26.