Back at the start of this year I woke up one morning and decided that Snapchat was really important. No gradual turning feeling, not a case of me slowly coming around to the idea of using it. Quite literally a case of just waking up one morning and saying, “Snapchat is going to be really big this year. Time to go all in to that.”
I haven’t made a secret about how I have felt regarding Snapchat over the past number of years. I have written articles in the past about how Snapchat was not important for any brand and blasting it for having privacy issues and concerns, not to mention a big leak of data some time ago.
I don’t feel that I was misguided as such, when they first started out and launched the app a lot of people saw it as an app for teens sexting. It didn’t have the stories feature and it was somewhat rough around the edges. At the time, one or two social media managers tried to tell me how big it could be, but they couldn’t tell me why or how it would end up being big. So I disregarded it.
Then, a number of social media influencers started getting loud about Snapchat towards the tail end of last year, people in the industry who I really respect in a high regard. Gary Vee, Amy Schmittauer, Brian Fanzo, Ted Rubin. Just some of the people who started creating content on Snapchat at scale.
So I decided that there had to be something there and I spent around a month or so watching how they used it for themselves. Since that moment, I have started getting loud about Snapchat because now I get it, now I understand it and I understand why attention is shifting.
Soon after I had started my Snapchat journey at the start of the year, a lot of other Irish content creators and global creators also started jumping on board – maybe we all felt the same thing around the same time!
So it is no surprise when I heard the other day that Snapchat has now passed Twitter in daily usage. According to a Bloomberg report, 150 million people use Snapchat every day. 140 million people use Twitter every day and that is significant.
It is a real indication of how big Snapchat is going to be and how much trouble Twitter is actually in. Snapchat is only 5 years old, Twitter has just turned 10. Though Twitter is hugely influential, particularly for business and online publications, it has been struggling to grow over the past number of years.
In fact, even more concerning, is that Twitters monthly user base actually shrank at the end of the last quarter. Snapchat on the other hand is growing quickly, it has 150 million daily users today compared to having 110 daily users back in December of last year.
Snapchat is winning and catching up to others fast because it is all about engagement. Twitter has a noise problem and is mainly used to yell and try to get noticed above the rest. Where Snapchat is really making a killing though is their ability to adapt and add new features and functions fast and on the fly.
New fun stickers, geo-filters and filters to commemorate events. For example, there was a filter put up on Snapchat just the other day in memory of Muhammad Ali. Snapchat keeps it fun, laid back, easy to communicate and just fun to engage with others.
Evan Spiegel, Snapchat of CEO, explains it perfectly.
“Somewhere along the way, when we were building social media products, we forgot the reason we like to communicate with our friends is because it’s fun.”
When it comes to content consumption, Snapchat is in a league of its own right now. Content consumption on Snapchat is through the roof and you know that it is more than an impression. People are actually watching, they are actually listening, they are actually engaging.
Daily users on Snapchat spend approximately 30-40 minutes on the app every day consuming content. I have more people engaging with me and seeing my content on Snapchat than I do on Twitter and I have nearly 10 times the number of people following me on Twitter than I do on Snapchat.
If you don’t understand how important the latest numbers are, then you are not understanding how people want to use social media. They want it to be fun, thats it. I love Twitter, but when I compare it to Snapchat it feels like a chore.
Yes, businesses can and must leverage on social platforms. However that doesn’t mean a business has to behave like a corporate robot and my big concern at the moment over Twitter is that the ratio of people to businesses and online publications on the current monthly active user numbers is so unbalanced that it is potentially starting to dilute the platform itself.
Snapchat of course has a lot of catching up to do if they want to get near Facebook who currently have over 1 billion daily users. However, if Twitter wants to make the significant gains that they really need then they need to find a way of making the platform fun again – I’m not so sure that will happen and if they can’t figure it out the gap is only going to get bigger and bigger between them and the competition.