Since Snapchat famously turned down Facebooks $3 billion buyout offer in 2013, the picture messaging app has seen a steady climb of success in the social media market. It began as a very unique social experience but began to quickly add more and more features to compete with its would be owner and others. Now the biggest social media platforms are becoming more and more similar to one in another in an arms race for users and advertising revenue.
As Snapchat has evolved into a primary social media player they have gone from simple image messaging to extravagant features such as Live Stories (user-generated pictures of videos that disappear at 24 hours) and Live Events (collections of uploaded content that all relate to particular current events). This summer, Instagram took major steps to mimic success by instituting their own, nearly identical, versions of Snapchat’s Live Stories and Events. Instagram is taking it a step farther by making their event content curated to individual users, based on interest and activities (particularly who you follow). Instagram’s parent, Facebook, is also rushing to match Snapchat. Facebook will now offer vertical videos for advertisers on mobile news feeds. These new ads will more fully immerse users as they scroll through their newsfeeds. Vertical content has been integral to Snapchat’s 3V (Video, Vertical, Views) differentiation in recent years. Facebook will also soon be adding Snapchat style face filters and camera zoom to its Messenger app camera feature. The list doesn’t stop there, as various social messaging apps such as Kik and Line have continually emulated Snapchat’s various capabilities from filters to stickers.
As others seek to imitate Snapchat’s popular features, they have been busying taking advantage of their success. With the recent launch of their API, the platform has become much more accessible to brands looking to advertise, and will hopefully continue to see decreasing minimum spends, once ranging in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The homogenization of these platforms provide advantages for many. For users, this arms race of features has the potential to continually accelerate the improvement of all platforms. The competition may be providing advancements faster than they otherwise would develop. In addition, the competition may have a hand in forcing platforms to become more advertiser friendly. Recently with Snapchat following suit, third party advertising purchasing ability and lower minimums are becoming ubiquitous. Given the nature and high degree of personal information on social platforms, targeting abilities are more efficient than ever. While consumer information makes some people uneasy, the fact is it makes ads and content much more relevant to users which in turn makes it far less intrusive.
Image Source: http://www.brafton.com/blog/content-analytics-blog/build-your-buyer-personas-with-real-user-data-from-social-media/