Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but for Snapchat, imitation could be putting a dent in its business.
Snapchat Stories allow users to create a feed of videos and photos they’ve taken over a period of 24 hours and to share them publicly. Launched in 2013, Stories quickly became an important part of the Snapchat platform and by June 2014, one billion Stories per day were being viewed, surpassing the number of Snaps shared privately between users.
But in August of last year, Snapchat rival Instagram, which is owned by social media giant Facebook, launched its own Stories feature that functioned almost identically to Snapchat’s feature that shares the same name.
According to Nick Cicero, who runs a creative studio and social analytics platform Delmondo, across the more than 21,000 Snapchat Stories his firm looked at, “from August to November 2016, the average unique viewers per Snapchat Story has decreased about 40%.”
Charlie Buffin, a social talent agent, says that “It is clear to us that regular users’ Snapchat usage/engagement have gone down significantly since the release of Instagram Stories.” As a result, some users appear to be throwing in the towel on Snapchat Stories. The CEO of a social content production studio who didn’t want to go on record told TechCrunch, “Everyone is posting way less. Some are not posting at all anymore.”
While the launch of Instagram Stories seems to correlate to a decline in Snapchat Stories usage, some suggest that Snapchat’s removal of auto-advance functionality from Stories didn’t help. As Buffin explained, “Snapchat removing the Auto-Advance feature has affected the natural ‘binge-watching experience’ for consumers, which is really cutting into views for creators.”
The nature of the market
If Snapchat Stories is in decline, the timing couldn’t be worse for Snapchat, which is reportedly planning to file for an IPO as early as this week.
But it might not be so bad for marketers, publishers and influencers, who all seem increasingly comfortable dealing with changes in the marketplace. More importantly, they seem to be adept at identifying where the best opportunities lie and moving from platform to platform as they spot those opportunities.
As one social media talent executive told TechCrunch, “Marketers are dedicating more resources to Instagram because you can’t grow on Snapchat. Now there’s a lot of campaigns we don’t even need to do on Snapchat.”
In other words, marketers, publishers and influencers may have finally cracked the code of how to build valuable presences on social media platforms without being as dependent on those platforms as one might assume them to be.
As social media marketing becomes more challenging and time-consuming, it’s time to get more organised when managing your brand’s social presence.
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In May 2015, Facebook launched Instant Articles, “a new way for any publisher to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook.” High-profile publishers like the New York Times, The Guardian, National Geographic and NBC were early adopters.