Snapchat – can 30 year olds use it?

I decided to jump on the Snapchat bandwagon (@ATXLeslie – if you want to find me).  snapchat-logoI know, I know… I’m late to the game, being that Snapchat was created in 2011, but better late than never, right?

There are several motivations that fueled my interest in this app.

1) Popularity

It has become very popular over the last few years.   Many of my friends and colleagues have used it in the past, but I have been hesitant to try it out due to the fact that I am older and don’t feel I fit into the company’s intended user base.  Also, the purpose of Snapchat is to send “Snaps” to friends/other users in which they can view for only a few seconds before being erased from the company’s server.  I prefer a more ‘semi-permanent’ photo, as my schedule doesn’t allow for me to view all messages/photos instantaneously.  I also prefer to ‘save’ photos (especially funny or flattering ones!) so that I can relive the memory at a later point in time.  In my opinion, this almost contradicts what Snapchat is all about.

2) Understanding

This theme somewhat relates to popularity but concentrates more on trying to identify the ‘why’ behind the boom in membership and their journey to mainstream status.  By evaluating the forces that drive the popularity, we can understand much more about demographics as a whole, in addition to try to accurately predict future trends.  This is very important, especially in the realm of marketing.  Being that Snapchat is very popular among the younger millennial crowd, we can use the data, facts, and information to better understand 13 to 23 year old consumer behavior.

3) Reach

The number of users of Snapchat has grown exponentially, and currently exceeds 60 million total installs.  Over half are active monthly users.  In relation to marketing, especially if your target market falls into the 13 to 23 year old range, it is essential to stay up-to-date with current trends and use various ways to interact with one’s customers.  I have recently seen many businesses advertise their Snapchat accounts and encourage their customers to share “Snaps” with them.  In addition to the US markets, Snapchat is gaining ground in countries around the world.  This statistic shows that Ireland was the top country for Snapchat users in Q1 2015.  The data has probably changed over the last year, but the global reach of this new app is definitely present and is an important aspect to consider.

How long will it last?  Trying to understand if an app is just a fad, or if it’s in it for the long haul, is hard to determine, especially in the ever-changing world we live in today. Technology has accelerated the ‘latest-and-greatest’ trends out there.  Snapchat has seen success, particularly in the younger crowd, but I don’t think it will attract the masses as its social media sisters- Facebook or Twitter.  However, I wouldn’t consider it a ‘short term trend’ either.  They began in early 2011 and have seen tremendous growth since then. They have a niche, and will continue to grow its user base, but the question is if they can gain traction in other target markets, especially within the older demographic.  I would bet that they do not, unfortunately.

IMG_8507I believe the first step in trying to attract more users is to improve the usability of the app.  I consider myself to be fairly technologically competent, but the app seemed a little ‘wonky’ when I first downloaded and tried to use.   I did enjoy the ease of adding contacts that I already had in my phone, but I did not want to include everyone.  I am not sure if those I did add received a notification or had to approve my connection.

I am still playing with the settings and checking out what features are available.  One area I came across in my initial download, was an ‘Discover’ section.  This is handy because there are many different organizations and IMG_8510brands in which one can share already created “Snaps” with their friends and connections.  This is also helpful from a marketing perspective since I would assume those companies and brands would have access to statistics such as how many shares a “Snap” receives, what content is more popular than others, and how many views each piece has.  I am curious to understand how often companies change different “Snaps” and if they can actually share with their fan base directly.

There are many different aspects of Snapchat that I am interested in learning more about.  I wonder what the process is for these companies to be included in this ‘Discover’ list.  Also, what are options for other (perhaps smaller companies/organizations) to utilize the Snapchat service to gain customers?  Over the next week, I will be evaluating different techniques other companies have explored through the Snapchat platform and hope to gain and understanding of what works and what doesn’t.  I also will dive deeper into each of the companies listed (in ‘Discover’) to see if I can pinpoint any specific trends and maybe a few areas in which the platform or current vendors are lacking.

It will be an interesting experiment to try a new social media platform and explore the marketing aspects and potential.  Overall, I feel I may be a little ‘too old’ to truly fit into the Snapchat crowd, but I don’t see the harm in trying.  And besides, their logo and the little ghost guy is super cute!

Be sure to add me as a friend on Snapchat by searching for @ATXLeslie!





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