Snapchat is making inroads as a disruptor in the world of social media. At the end of 2017, the company came close to its first year of $1 billion in revenues. Despite these impressive numbers, just 1% of marketers are actually using the platform to reach consumers. That is quite surprising, considering how engaged the platform users happen to be.
There are millions of people who use Snapchat every day. They are viewing billions of snaps which are shared as stories. Although the users tend to be younger, older adults have begun to embrace the platform as well.
What makes Snapchat stand out from the other social media platforms is the ability to be creative. You have editing and filtering options which allow for a lot of fun. Swapping faces is a popular option, but you can add hats, change your head size, and reverse your videos. Doodles, texts, and other overlays are possible too.
If you’re thinking about hopping onto this platform for the first time, then here are some of the pros and cons of Snapchat to think about before you do.
List of the Pros of Snapchat
1. It’s an easy way to provide an experience.
Every social media option allows people to interact with one another or experience the pros and cons of a product they’re wanting to purchase. When Snapchat is used, the environment is more casual compared to what Facebook or Twitter provides. It’s a chance to give someone a quick glance that feels intimate, which makes it easier to build relationships between individuals and brands. For Millennials, it is one of the easiest ways to build credibility.
2. You can use geofilters with the app.
Snapchat offers users area-specific filters, which are called “geofilters,” for the places they visit. When you’re within a specific area, the filter becomes active, which makes it possible to add fun designs to each image. Companies can even turn their logo into a filter for people to let people know when they’ve entered an authorized area for your geofilter. When people share their experiences, then companies have the opportunity to spread their brand awareness even further.
3. Consumers can communicate directly with companies.
The Snapchat app allows customers to communicate with businesses by replying to stories or snapping them personally. Companies can snap their companies as well. Many organizations run promotions where a customer must snap themselves with a company product to be included. That makes it easier for customers to become brand ambassadors while you’re providing them with something in return.
4. You get to see who is watching your snaps.
Snapchat is the first social media platform which allows you to see everyone who views your snaps. That means the “lurkers” which are out there online are unable to stay in the shadows when they view your images. From a personal perspective, that lets you know if there is someone out there which you need to be concerned about. And from a business perspective, it gives you some information about your outreach because actions aren’t required on the other end for you to see post interactions.
5. Snapchat collects the snaps from specific events to create singular stories.
This feature might be the most loved option that Snapchat offers people. When you attend an event with a lot of people, the platform will collect the snaps from users who participate in the event. All the snaps are then built into a single story which everyone can access. It’s like searching a hashtag on Instagram, except you get to see live pictures or video from the point of view of others. It creates a way for everyone to feel more connected with each other, even if you’re strangers in real life.
6. Commercial content on Snapchat feels less interruptive.
When you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, there’s a post which seems out of place. You look up to the corner to see “sponsored content.” You’re likely receiving that advertisement because you searched for something similar online or on your mobile device. On Snapchat, it feels natural for people to seek out the advertisements. Pictures, videos, and trailers all feel like a normal part of the user experience through the app.
7. You can post content on Snapchat that you wouldn’t post anywhere else.
If snaps are not associated with a story, then they have a 10-second lifespan before “disappearing” from the app after being opened. This limits consumer access to images that you may not want to have shared with the world at large. Even when the images are saved to Snapchat’s servers, the content disappears from access after 30 days. Although users can take screenshots of the app, even story-associated snaps disappear after 24 hours. That means everything on this platform is temporary.
8. It is easy to connect with the platform to get started.
Creating your Snapchat ID is as easy as signing up for a Twitter account or any other social media profile. Because of the privacy issues involved with this platform, no personal details are shared – including your actual name. You then connect to other people by sharing your ID through other mediums and platforms. The privacy settings cannot be bypassed either.
9. Content length is short and easy to consume on Snapchat.
The videos which are shared on Snapchat are only 10 seconds long. Like the stories, they are removed from consumer access 24 hours after being shared. To save your videos, you must also save the content to your phone if you want to use it later on. That means your content won’t take up a lot of space on your phone or tablet, while the content you view is short enough that the average consumer stays engaged, even if they are distracted in other ways.
10. There is a useful Discover feature included with Snapchat.
With the Discover feature, users can explore premium content from outside publishers. The team of journalists working with the app have their content included with this feature a swell. Posting content here quickly improves reach and awareness, especially since the average user access the app about 20 times per day, spending almost as much time on this platform as people do on Facebook.
List of the Cons of Snapchat
1. The audience of Snapchat is rather limited.
Even though Snapchat is on pace to break the $1 billion barrier in 2018 or 2019, there is a limited audience demographic using this social media platform. The average person on Snapchat is between the ages of 12 to 34. Most social media platforms start out this way, including Facebook, which was originally used by college students, but is now used by 62% of adults.
2. Snapchat doesn’t provide much in the way of analytics.
You can interact with this social platform by seeing views or screenshots of images that are shared. Information about who sees clips or portions of your story is available, along with the accounts who took pictures. These are referred to as ratings, which is the only source of feedback that is currently available from a marketing standpoint on this platform.
3. Stories on Snapchat are available for a limited time.
You have the option to save your videos or snaps. People who follow your stories are able to see the shared content for a maximum of 24 hours. That means your content disappears every day. If you want to stay relevant from a marketing standpoint, you’re forced into a position where you must create new content every day for those who follow your stories. That means you can run limited-time promotions in a natural way, but it also means your content might soon be forgotten.
4. Most of the content shared on Snapchat is useless.
What is shared on Snapchat would be best classified as “Internet pollution.” You’ll find snaps and videos of people trying on new clothes, singing while taking a road trip, or selfies upon more selfies. Most of the people who use the app share content that helps them connect to family and friends in a way that allows everyone to see elements of common, everyday life. If you’re not interested in that type of content, then Snapchat might feel like an enormous waste of time.
5. The Snapchat interface can be temperamental.
Unlike other apps or social media platforms, using Snapchat means you swipe a lot. There aren’t many buttons to click. Just swipe in one direction or the other until you reach the features or menus that are desired. Because it interacts with your hand movements, you may find Snapchat sending you to a place you don’t want to be. Then you’re forced to swipe back, then swipe again until you reach your intended destination.
6. It isn’t as easy to add friends on Snapchat compared to other social media platforms.
On Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, you connect with your friends by searching for their real name. When you want to add friends through Snapchat, you have three options. You must know their Snapchat ID, have their Snapcode (which is a QR code), or have their contact information plugged into your phone. That’s because your snaps go directly to them, sort of like how you need someone’s phone number to send them a text. Without that information, you’re not going to connect.
From a business standpoint, that means you must promote yourself on other social media platforms with your QR code to promote your Snapchat account. That means you’re duplicating your following, so it feels like a pointless investment in many ways.
7. Snapchat videos are intended for vertical viewing.
Although this issue doesn’t affect the younger generations as much, watching vertical videos feels unnatural to people who are used to the horizontal experience. The videos on Snapchat are permanently affixed to be vertical, however, which means they stay that way if you shift your phone to a horizontal position. That might just be the worst way to watch a video that has ever been invented so far. You can also use horizontal formats, but if your story is filled with different formats, it becomes challenging to stay engaged from a user perspective.
8. It encourages bad behavior.
There are a lot of snaps shared on this social media platform which show people driving. In Washington State, getting caught doing this is the equivalent of a DUI charge. Driving under the influence of electronics slows your reaction time, distracts you from the road, and puts lives at risk. If you’re caught snapping while driving in Washington, the fines begin around $130. Your car insurance rates will also go up because of the associated stigma.
9. There is no official resharing option.
The only way to reshare content shared through Snapchat is to take a screenshot of the content shared. The app does not allow you to share content with others like other social media platforms. Even when you take a screenshot, your only option for content sharing is to use other apps or platforms. That makes it difficult to plan activities, build networks, or engage a community – especially if you’re trying to build your business profile on this platform.
10. Many users find Snapchat to be addictive.
Although not everyone is attracted to the type of content that is shared on Snapchat, those who are find the content sharing options to be very addictive. You can spend lots of time using the different filters to create unique looks that can be shared with others. Just like instant messaging and texting took over the attention of people when those technologies were first introduced, Snapchat creates a similar outcome.
11. The pictures shared on Snapchat don’t always disappear.
To restrict consumer access to the images shared on the app, the filename extension is changed to prevent access. If you get into the image to change the file extension back to how it is originally shared, you’re able to gain access to the image once again. The files also stay on the server for a minimum of 30 days. Although there are restrictions in place, to say that the images are “deleted” is technically incorrect and could be a security concern for some people.
The pros and cons of Snapchat offer a fun way to interact with others and organizations using an image-based platform that is similar to Instagram. Like other new social media platforms, it is still growing and developing its identity, which means the demographic access is somewhat limited. Snapchat also creates a modern vibe with unique outreach potential that everyone should consider, whether their use is for personal or commercial reasons.