Snapchat is a multimedia messaging app that has evolved into an entire social media platform. Over the past year, Snapchat began with 191 million daily average users, but this number declined by over a million. The online landscape is constantly changing, so platforms must keep up with the times or risk being forgotten. With its decline in users, Snapchat is starting to think outside of the box with the birth of its new revolutionary platform: Snapchat TV.
Although there was some initial skepticism surrounding Snapchat TV, it’s a hit that might be the next evolution of how users consume TV shows. And, since its introduction, Snapchat is experiencing a resurgence, hoping to stay relevant with these new rollouts.
Snapchat is an application designed to share photos, videos, text, and drawings. What initially set Snapchat apart from other platforms is that messages disappear right after being viewed. If someone takes a screenshot of one of these messages, the user on the other end receives a notification. This unique deletion feature appealed to users and put Snapchat on the map.
In November 2013, Snapchat did so well that Mark Zuckerberg tried to buy them for “$3 billion to boost its appeal with young users.” His offer was refused.
- By the end of August 2014, “40% of adults in the United States were using Snapchat on a daily basis.”
- In May of 2016, “Google offers to acquire Snapchat for a reported 30 billion dollars in May of 2016… but is rejected.”
Despite its recent decline in its active user base, Snapchat still holds a niche market of loyal users that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The application is continuously updated, Snapchat TV being the most recent addition.
What is Snapchat TV?
Snapchat now makes original content and mini TV shows that can be viewed vertically on your phone. These shows average about 5 minutes long, and you watch them on the Snapchat app. Episodes come out every day so that users can look forward to their regular clips, and TV shows are complete with scripts and storylines that build with each episode.
These daily incentives keep viewers returning to the platform.
Snapchat began its venture into television a few years ago with unscripted shows primarily focused on news. These caught on and became a daily habit for users. This preliminary triumph led Snapchat to take on more genres for its television shows. In April, Snapchat announced that it would introduce a new slate of shows because of its initial success with big networks like NBC, ESPN, and E!
Snapchat original titles include:
- Endless Summer
- The Dead Girls Detective Agency
- Deep Creek
- Two Sides
- Growing Up is a Drag
- Bringing Up Bhabie
- Class of Lies
These shows have a wide range of genres from drama to comedy to docuseries and appeal to a younger audience. Snapchat knows its audience, and the success of these new shows proves that it is doing something right.
Snapchat TV has been doing much better than initially projected.
- The app’s highest-performing originals got over 20 million viewers.
- Snapchat’s top-rated show ‘Endless Summer’ has approximately 28 million unique viewers, compared to the Game of Thrones finale, reaching 19.8 million viewers through HBO.
However, those metrics are difficult to compare. Twenty-eight million people watched ‘Endless Summer’ at some point in time, rather than scheduled viewing with premium cable TV like HBO. Snapchat is changing the way young people consume television shows, and despite its recent loss in average daily users, optimism for the platform is high. One way that Snapchat is reaching target audiences for its shows is through Snapchat Discover.
What is Snapchat Discover?
Snapchat Discover is an explore page designed to connect you with news stories, pop culture, current events, and more.
Snapchat Discover has:
- Your friends’ stories shown in bubbles at the top
- Public stories where users can send in videos
- Published stories by news outlets like the Wallstreet Journal and National Geographic
- Subscription content you can choose to follow
- Snapchat TV
Snapchat’s Discover programming and TV is serving niche audiences by creating a personalized offering for unique users. This personalization could be contributing to its high retention rate. Niche content might not increase the number of users but it could grow the app’s user loyalty and company longevity. Snapchat’s niche offerings make it difficult to compare user generation or growth to Instagram or Facebook.
Snapchat is proving that user count doesn’t compare to brand success. When people are logging into Snapchat every day, interacting with stories and watching their favorite daily TV shows, this leads to loyal users that give the platform longevity. In a world of continuously shifting technology and fickle consumers, stability and loyalty are most valuable.
Snapchat is taking the things that already make it successful and building on them. Snapchat sees the value in tailoring content to its audience, especially its daily users. When consumers enjoy using the app and engaging with content, they are also more open to advertising.
Snapchat’s loyal users are showing that with a similar platform to Instagram and Facebook, user retention and engagement could be even more valuable to advertisers. Advertisers could see more action on Snapchat Discover.
There are a variety of options when it comes to Snapchat advertising.
- Collection Ads – Collection ads show a series of products and give users a “tappable” ad that makes it simple to shop and buy. These will appear with a “Shop Now” function at the bottom that interested users can swipe up to get redirected to the full website.
- Story Ads – On the Discover screen, story ads will appear on a sponsored Discover tile, integrated alongside popular Discover content that is tailored to their preferences. They will pop up like any other story and show your advertisement.
- AR lenses – AR Lenses are augmented reality filters that advertisers can use to create memorable, interactive moments with Snapchat users. According to Snapchat, “This new ad format offers not just impressions, but “play time” — the time Snapchatters spend playing with your interactive ad.” Users enjoy using AR lenses, making them more likely to have a positive interaction with your ad.
- Filters – Filters are “artistic overlays” which appear as an option when you take a Snap and swipe left or right. They’re added to many Snaps a day, highlighting holidays, restaurants, shops and more. When you create a visually appealing filter that people love, your ad will get posted more and be sent out to all of their viewers.
- Commercials – Snapchat also offers commercials. These are six-second videos within their premium content that can take your advertisement to the next level. Commercials are shown between TV shows, and users cannot skip them.
The majority of Snapchat’s users are Gen Z. These young people have a lot of spending power, so advertising through Snapchat Discover and Snapchat TV has the potential to be very lucrative.
Snapchat is very popular with younger people because of its ‘cool factor.’ The app is highly visual with bright colors, simplistic icons, and a fast-paced design that appeals to a more youthful audience. Therefore, many of the stories, Discover tiles, and TV shows target a younger crowd.
Children are the future, and Gen Z is the first generation of kids to grow up completely immersed in social media culture. Social media is already transforming the way younger people interact and can heavily influence the way they are spending.
Gen Z Spending
Consumers aged 10-17 account for “$44 billion in discretionary spending each year.” According to Forbes, they’re poised to become the “largest generation of consumers by 2020, responsible for up to $143 billion of direct spending.” Gen Z has a massive amount of potential spending power, and Snapchat already has a foot in the door with that audience. Platforms used by teens can inspire consumer action within their audience.
According to Forbes, for Gen Zers age 16 to 21, spending most frequently falls into the following categories:
- Car (including gas, insurance, and taxes)
- Entertainment and Hobbies
- Studies (including textbooks, tuition, and school fees)
- Mobile Phone
- Appearance (hair appointments, clothes, cosmetics, etc.)
- Debt Payments
- Public Transportation
If Snapchat can prove that its Discover offerings generate a high consumer action rate and active engagement, it will be able to grow despite its losses. One good sign for Snapchat is that its numbers are improving. It saw $320 million in Q1 earnings (2019), which is a 39% increase year-on-year, but there is still a lot of work required to increase ad value. Snapchat could get there soon with Snapchat TV and their Discover offerings.
Snapchat is always revamping its platform to appeal to its audience, and their TV shows are doing well because of it. Yet, as new technology arises, there are always skeptics. The remodel of television is under the same doubtful microscope, but these early stages are promising. Snapchat may have the winning strategy to endure the test of time and maintain its audience.