Snapchat, the New TV

Remember the good old days when watching TV was like eating off a set menu; you just pick and choose what you want? Or how catching an episode of your favourite soap meant being in front of the television in time, lest you miss an unexpectedly delicious twist in the tale?

Well, now there’s Snapchat. The video messaging application has managed to bring back the primitive television-watching experience onto today’s smartphones, and feed it to a thirsty throng of millennials (13 – 34 year olds account for 86% of today’s Snapchat audience). Its ‘Discover’ feature even has a tab that features a list of channels with the content refreshing itself daily ensuring there’s absolutely no way for you to catch a re-run of a video you may have missed out.

What you have, is a couple of channels and exclusive content that is essentially available for ‘appointment-viewing‘ – if you don’t catch it, you miss it. This is not new though; we already experienced this back when television sets began to enter households. So, what is it that makes Snapchat so refreshing to use?

Simply that it creates the illusion of urgency. Danielle Mullin, VP of Marketing at ABC Family, sums it up perfectly in an interview to Fast Company, “If your email inbox was going to disappear in 24 hours, you would feel the need to actually read every single mail. That’s the genius of Snapchat.”

Loved by users and advertisers alike

With statistics showing an impressive 100 million users every day and audiences coming back to a single channel five out of seven days, it’s no wonder advertisers are quickly gaining interest in this social media platform. The success of the 2014 broadcast of MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs), receiving 25 million views as compared to MTV’s own 5 million viewers on its Snapchat account, makes it no surprise that brands like Verizon and Taco Bell grabbed the narrow advertisement slots made available by Snapchat for the show despite the steep rate of $200,000 per sponsor. Advertisers love Snapchat because they know for sure whether users actually saw their advertisement given that these users have to hold a finger down on the screen the entire time they are watching an ad.

Viacom sales chief, Jeff Lucas, claims that Snapchat is ‘targeted television on mobile’. The trend has shifted such that users are turning to mobile applications for news and updates, potentially making applications like Snapchat become big players in the video business. While Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and most other social-media platforms rely largely on user-generated content, Snapchat offers a smorgasbord of highly rich content curated by a smattering of media partners like Vice or CNN.

Still, the underlying concept and rising success of Snapchat’s workings have continued to remain a mystery to many experienced marketers. Earlier this year, co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel released a video titled, ‘What is Snapchat’ that left viewers all over the world scratching their heads. Even big brands that use its advertising platform call it ‘confusing’ and a ‘conundrum’. Snapchat is simply an ode to throwback TV-viewing where you don’t have to make the effort to search for entertainment; you just have to sit back and watch.

Will Snapchat, in all its rebranded television glory, offer something unexpected to A-list advertisers that television has not been able to? Clearly, the company has faith in itself. Snapchat turned down a $3 million acquisition offer from Facebook and Bloomberg, and recently estimated its valuation at $19 billion. Will it live up to user expectations and be as great as TV was? If you’re a business owner, we think it could work well for you. You’ll get to show behind the scene shots to show your audiences, enabling you to engage and create conversations with them.

Take note though, Snapchat is not the only of its kind to exist within the video industry. Up and coming apps such as Periscope, similar to Snapchat, are already trying to build and break their way into the market. What is most important is keeping an open mind to trying new apps and use the one that works best in helping you best engage with your audience. We think it’s definitely worth a shot, given that mobile apps and video ads are set to be the trend this year, what about you?

Social Trends Marketers Won’t Be Able To Ignore in 2016

The advent of the New Year means one thing for those in the digital realm – newer trends to keep track of! The year 2016 is poised to be one of the best years on social media and we’ve rounded up some of the trends to keep a watch on:

1) Time for brands to go social

There has been a shift in the behaviour of consumers looking to buy new products or signing up for new services. Instead of researching about a product or service on a search engine, consumers are now turning to social media. Think about the last time you checked out a review of that gadget you were thinking of buying, or that restaurant you were thinking of going to. Was it a post by a friend or perhaps you read reviews from a blogger you’re following?

The advantages social media offer cannot be ignored – it allows consumers to get a visual representation of the product, user reviews by existing customers and visual media instead of text heavy information.

2) Go mobile with apps

Until recently, a mobile app came as an afterthought of a desktop site. With the increase in mobile users over the last year however, several companies are shifting to the mobile-first approach. In fact, several e-commerce portals have decided to bypass the desktop site altogether and focus on building a user friendly app. Studies have shown that 85% of today’s consumers prefer mobile apps to mobile websites as apps are conceived as faster, easier to browse and more convenient.

3) Video ads are the new fad

Given the expectation of online ad revenue to touch $5 billion in 2016, nearly double that of 2013, it comes next that marketers would want to know the digital ad formats that produce the best results. According to a report by BI Intelligence, video ads receive three times more clicks than other digital formats, and with a click-through rate of 1.84%, makes it the highest and most successful digital ad format among others like mobile, display and flash.

Source: BI Intelligence – Video ads have the highest click-through rate when compared to other digital ad formats

Source: BI Intelligence – Video ads have the highest click-through rate when compared to other digital ad formats

4) Living in the moment updates

While social media in general is pretty dynamic in nature, the popularity of apps like Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram now allows a user to post live video or photo updates. Compared to other platforms that require you to post already recorded videos or photos, this new trend gives a whole new facet to the term ‘immediacy in social media’. What this means for brands is the shift away from marketing predictability to marketing in a personalized manner as if living in the present, just like how the individual consumer like you and I use social media.

5) Buy on demand

Over the last year, Facebook and Pinterest have introduced the buy features for their advertisers and users alike. This means a user can buy any product they like from a sponsored link without leaving the mobile app. It is expected that this year, all other social media platforms will follow suit and naturally integrate the buy option as a part of their advertising campaign. This buying process becomes a breeze for consumers, leading to more expenditure, which translates into substantial benefits for companies.

6) Scaling down aggressive advertising

After high profile security breaches like that of Ashley Madison, there is a rising concern over secure lines of communication and stronger privacy measures. Apps like Snapchat allow for total privacy for its users and platforms like Facebook and Twitter constantly update their privacy settings to ensure all data is well protected. For companies, this means scaling back aggressive or intrusive forms of advertising.

Social media marketing has come a long way since the early days when seasoned marketers were on the fence about its ability to be able to sell ideas to customers. Today, it is constantly evolving alongside new technologies that never cease to amaze. 2016 could very well be the year that shapes the importance of social media in a marketer’s blueprint.