Snapchat – From Commodity to Necessity

Snapchat fills a lucrative niche that no other app currently holds over the millennial group. Millennials aren’t just using Snapchat because they want to, they’re using it because they need to. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all suffer from a growing need to convince users to stick around as more of us realize how valuable our time is – and how wasteful excessive time spent on social media is.

Stigma against rampant social media use is growing. Snapchat seems to have been left out of the conversations about “reducing your screen time” and the correlation between social media use and depression.

So, what is Snapchat doing differently than other Silicon Valley giants? It certainly isn’t freedom from advertising – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Snapchat’s 187 million users open the app an average of 25 times per day, and when they get there, they’re treated to an advertisement at almost every turn. Snapchat has managed to sneak 10-second ads in between nearly every type of content on the platform. And users couldn’t care less.

What, then, differentiates Snapchat? Its basic functionality as it relates to our every day lives. When Snap fans need to shoot a quick “picture message” off, they don’t need to embed it in their text conversation. Now, it’s … “Just snap me” or “I’ll snap you.” Meet someone new at a concert, on Tinder or at a bar? “Hey, what’s your Snapchat?”

Why Snapchat over Texting

It’s “safer” since you’re sharing only an anonymous profile, not your phone number.

It’s removed from your social circle; although Snapchat is a social media app, sharing is a one-way street. Only I know who I’m connected with and only you know who you’re connected with. You don’t have to worry about a crazy new connection Googling your phone number to find your address or to track you down on Facebook, and if things go south, it’s much easier to just block them.

And finally, it’s hip. Snapchat doesn’t provide any introduction or visual guide on how to use its app – it’s entirely up to the user to find all the options and put them to use. Think of Snapchat like a “communication club” for the young and “with it” crowd. Not on Snapchat? Be expected to be asked “How?” before you’re asked “Why?”

What Snapchat has done for cross-platform messaging is akin to the power of Apple’s iMessage – a seamless communication tool with a low barrier of entry and a high-use case. Once they conquered this hurdle and became less of a digital commodity and more of a digital necessity, Snapchat locked themselves into the homepage of Androids and iPhones everywhere.

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