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The Lowdown on Snapchat

Snapchat is not what everyone thinks: it is neither an app nor a service. You read that right! It vehemently declares itself a camera company. In an effort to allow users to upload hands-free, first-person photos and videos, Snapchat developed Spectacles, those hip sunglasses that takes photos and uploads them to your Snapchat profile. Recent industry reports claim the company is also considering drones, phones, and even 360-degree cameras. Snapchat’s future goal is to one day free itself from Apple’s and Android’s limitations.

The meme above sums up the market perfectly. Facebook is currently expanding Facebook Stories, which is just like Snapchat stories, that allows users to post a photo or video on your personal feed viewable by all of your friends.

Before that, Instagram rolled out its story feature, while a similar feature called Messenger Day is available now on Facebook Messenger—which is also exactly like Snapchat’s stories feature. I legit had a "serious" 45 minute video chat with my mom like this:

Facebook is still testing this offering to see if it will be embraced by its users. Time will tell if Facebook users will take to Messenger Day as much as they have to Instagram and Snapchat. In the beginning, Instagram was criticized for copying Snapchat, but as of late, the Instagram stories feature is more and more popular.

I personally have never been a fan of Snapchat. It’s hard to navigate at times. All the teenagers use it, so it reminds me too much of my Myspace days (yikes). Most importantly, I’m a data freak – Snapchat just doesn’t allow me to monitor analytics the same way Instagram or Facebook does. From a business perspective, the analytics are really all that matter to me. I do hope that Snapchat does reach its long-term goal of evolving into an independent “exclusive products” camera company because right now, all the social networks are copying the bits and pieces that are most popular, and Snapchat is left with little exclusivity.

If I were a betting woman – which I am, sometimes – I wouldn’t invest too much time learning Snapchat or applying a significant amount of my valuable ad dollars to it. Chances are, the bulk of your customers are already using platforms such as Facebook and Instagram that have similar capabilities. Stick with a social media strategy that is quantifiable and provides strong analytics—which is extremely limited in Snapchat. It might be worth your time to add an on-demand Geofilter if you’re hosting an event, but I wouldn’t put all my long-term eggs in this Snapbasket.

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