At first it was a revolution: a faster social network, which could keep users online for hours. Snapchat boasts 150 million active users, ten billion views and over ten billion Snaps (pictures or short videos) sent every day. Since its early days in 2011, Snapchat has been a success story, climbing to the astounding value of 20 billion dollars.
For those who don’t belong to the “millennial tribe” and don’t know what I am talking about, Snapchat is a so called ‘instant’ social network. This means it is something in between a social network and a messenger service. There are no profiles to be personalized and all content uploaded by users disappear within 24 hours.
This is a fascinating mechanism that is starting to show some flaws. Its competitors have indeed been causing Snapchat views to drop by between 15 and 40% (Instagram Stories is stealing Snapchat’s users).
Notably, Instagram has taken Snapchat’s best ideas and has used them to create a system that allows you to view an endless stream of content (Instagram Clones Snapchat Again With Messaging Update). Plus, both Whatsapp and Facebook now have Story features, which are a direct clone of Snapchat.
Facebook, which counts nearly two billion users, revealed at their annual developers’ conference, F8, that they’ve invested in Augmented Reality. This hits Snapchat hard as it’s the area in which, thanks to its filters and drawing options, Snapchat has managed to stand out in.
Menlo Park is also about to launch a beta allowing users to apply dozens of different AR effects to the Facebook app’s camera. Plus, it will allow users to create notes and drawings which can be viewed in AR: they will be displayed on walls and boards if viewed through the camera lenses. This is something which may be used to create advertisements, slogans and invitations, to the benefit of shops and stores. (The 4 Most Important Things That Facebook Just Announced).
From AR to VR, we get to Facebook Spaces. This app allows to chat with contacts inside a Virtual Reality environment: you can create an avatar starting from a selfie, personalize it and, once you have put on your brand new virtual visor (in 2014 Facebook purchased 2 billion dollars of Oculus Rift), you will be able to invite your friends and watch videos in 360° with them. Basically, this is a totally new market which is ripe for digital advertising.
And coming to Messenger, Mr Zuckerberg has been adding extensions enabling more people to interact simultaneously with third parties’ apps. For instance, in the near future bots will allow people to share and listen to music taken from Spotify, directly inside their chats. Facebook also intends to add a new tab tab, named Discover, accessible from its homepage, allowing users to view the most popular, newest and trending bots.
But that’s note all: M virtual assistant will soon be coming to Messenger. This bot will recommend products related to conversations which can be ordered through Delivery.com (M will be coming to Messenger)
It is obvious that, as it is now, Snapchat is doomed. Let’s wait and see what it will do to survive.
Do you use ‘visual socials’? Tweet me @agostinellialdo.
If you liked this post, you should read: “What European marketers should know about the digital world in 2017”