Snapchat – apples, oranges and marketers
As marketers, we’re obsessed with numbers. The biggest one of the moment is the 400 million photos that Snapchat users are currently sharing per day, easily surpassing the number of images shared on Facebook and Instagram put together.
Which is irrelevant.
Snapchat is almost exclusively a messaging tool (we’ll ignore Snapchat Stories for the moment); a user’s objective is almost always to create a quick, simple message to share with friends. Facebook, and even more so Instagram, are sophisticated tools for carefully crafting a public-facing, aspirational online persona. These are completely different objectives and uses, deserving of a completely separate frame of reference. So why do we, as marketers, feel the need to compare them? As an industry we’ve said for years that numbers mean nothing without context (or if we haven’t, we should have) so I can’t understand why we’re now back to simply stating numbers with a touch of added hyperbole.
Don’t get me wrong, 400 million Snaps is a huge number and the implications for, e.g. data usage etc are potentially far-reaching, but WhatsApp for instance recently handled 27 billion messages in just 24 hours, and this seems a far more sensible frame of reference – at least users view this platform in the same way.
As marketers, we need to live what we preach and put the consumer first, whether we’re trying to sell to them or trying to make sense of the way they use platforms like Snapchat. Otherwise we’re in danger of succumbing to our own bullshit.