In 2011, SnapChat launched itself into the world. Just another social media platform? Nope. A Facebook clone? Hardly. Snap was different, radically different. The great differentiator was its messaging mechanism. Ordinary social platforms did their talking with text. Snap, however, was pure pictures. Nothing but snappy images zooming to waiting eyes. And the world, particularly the younger portion, grabbed hold and held tight.
But the Snap phenomenon was more than pictures. It was the gift of control it gave to all users. Unlike other platforms, Snappers could modify their images and videos, utilizing an impressive selection onboard editing tools for ultimate personalization. Imagination flourished, elevating pictorial posting to a digital fun-fest. Image creation was a new form of recreation. Long-term success was a lock.
So why the plummeting popularity in recent months? Subscribers have fled en masse, giving leadership a healthy dose of the jitters. In fact, some of that leadership has also beat a hasty retreat from the home base. Expectantly, ad revenue streams are drying up in none-too-pretty ways.
Wise observers have tried to explain the exodus. One explanation points the finger at application updates. Apparently, the updates often had complicated rather than improved. What was once a beautifully simple user experience became horrendously sludgy. This, of course, is only one of many possible reasons for the downtrend.
No matter what the cause, however, attrition rates climbed, while ad revenues did the opposite. Clearly, some game-changers were required. To its credit, Snap recently has implemented a few, pinning its hopes on a pair of promising innovations focused squarely on e-commerce.
The first presumed game-changer is an enhanced product catalog. Under the new, improved system, brand marketers easily can create and extract advertisements from their current catalogs.
The second focuses on users. Known as collection ads, the tool allows users to interact with not one, not two, not three, but up to four products showcased in a single ad. Unfettered, quadruple fun in one, frantic, screen-tapping session. Previously, interactions were limited to one product. One? How fun could that be?
Are the new tools performing? Early indications show sunny skies. Recently, Snap tested the waters with a group of e-commerce powerhouses, including the venerable eBay. Preliminary results reveal soaring engagement levels. But there’s still a ways-to-go. Only time will tell if the early success stories can endure.
If you have questions or comments about SnapChat marketing, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.