Snapchat, the new kid on the social networking scene, has upped its game.

Last week the popular app implemented its biggest changes yet to its communication services; introducing the new video call and message chat features.

When first released in 2011, Snapchat initially offered users the ability to send and receive fleeting picture and video messages – that could be added to with a text box or drawn upon with a Microsoft Paint-like feature. All snaps lasted a maximum of 10 seconds before being permanently deleted from servers.

Their recent additional features allow for greater dimensions of communication but stay consistent with the trademark transient social experience. The chat feature allows users to send written messages, that – yes, you guessed it – disappear once you’ve read them. The video feature lets users video call each other instantaneously – think Skype but without the hassle of scheduled calling. Again, no communication is logged or saved.

Whilst it might take time to determine how successful these latest features are, the original attributes look likely to hold engagement – Snapchat is experiencing an all time high of images sent per day, and is currently more popular with users than ever. This has not gone unnoticed in the corporate world, where social media marketing is gaining substantial weight.

If you are at all savvy with social media marketing, you might know that towards the end of 2013, Snapchat began gaining recognition with businesses and brands as a means of marketing. Unconventional as it might seem, the mobile app proved to be innovative as a means of communicating on a personal level with consumers.

Some big companies began jumping on the Snapchat wagon, with some notable names including McDonald’s and Taco Bell. The app proved to be the perfect social media platform for such brands whose young target audience is not dissimilar to Snapchat’s core age demographic of 13-23 year olds. The question is, however, how do you engage with this audience through the medium of Snapchat?

The answer lies in Snapchat’s attributes. Snaps only last 10 seconds, and this is appealing simply because once they’re gone, they’re gone. You know you only have a few seconds to see an image or video, and because you can’t save it and treasure it (unless you’re the screenshotting type) – it makes you want to. You automatically pay attention.

The 10 second rule is also attractive simply because media can be shared at a quicker pace, perfect for today’s busy lifestyle. A 10 second Snapchat advert is much more appealing than a standard 30 second television ad.

And just in the fact that audiences are choosing to open these snaps, brands have created an interactive experience where the consumer has opted in. This is almost unlike any other method of advertising, where audiences are often targeted without their permission (TV ads, YouTube ads, etc.). This level of engagement is something not to be missed out on.

It will be interesting to see how such companies react to the new Snapchat features, with video calling and instant messaging bringing even more possibilities to the social media plate. Though in this digital world, one thing is for certain, and that is the fact that an all new level of social media marketing is on the horizon. Watch this space.


Snapchat: the facts

  • Established in 2011, Snapchat has only been around a short while in comparison to some of its established social networking peers Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), Whatsapp (2009)
  • The app rose to popularity in 2012; the year it was announced over a billion snaps had been sent out on iOS devices alone. That same year, the application launched a version for Android
  • In November 2013 Snapchat boasted 400 million photo messages sent per day, and only a few months later in 2014 Snapchat reported this increasing to 700 million
  • Around that same time, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg put in a multi-billion dollar bid for Snapchat. This was rejected
  • CEO and Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel has been honoured by Time as one of the world’s 100 most influential individuals

Polaris are a social media agency based in London and the UK, and we offer a range of measurable Social Media Management services, that cover all social media platforms. We specialise in producing strategic social media marketing campaigns that can help drive traffic and revenue, create a brand image and ‘voice’, strengthen brand awareness, and promote services. We also offer a variety of Social Media Training packages for those who would like to try managing social media marketing themselves. For more information about our social media services, please call 0203 475 6799.

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