The latest news from Snapchat, regarding the company’s plan to improve its UX, as well as fight clickbait and fake news, demonstrate once again how quickly it adapts to changes in the tech and media industries. With 150 million users and a projected revenue of nearly $1Billion dollars for 2017, Snapchat proves that while its videos may disappear within seconds - the company is here to stay.
Content marketers who want to keep up with today’s audience, should not only join the platform and utilize it as part of their brand’s marketing creation and distribution process, but also study the logic behind some of the company's brilliant moves, and implement it within their own marketing strategy. Here are 4 lessons to get you started:
Marketers often complain about their audience’s short attention span, and how difficult it is to engage customers for longer than a few seconds. But while many content platforms do their best to fight the new order of things, Snapchat listened to users and created a platform that caters to their needs.
There are two different lessons to learn here:
Go with your audience, not against it. Instead of fighting the statistic, Snapchat created a product that is tailored to it, and turns users’ short attention spans into an asset. The lesson for content marketers who feel lost in this everchanging environment is to treat challenges as opportunities in order to win readers over.
Get to the point. The same needs that spurred Snapchat are very much relevant to every other content platform around. Publishers, brands and individual content creators need to move a whole lot faster and refrain from wasting readers’ valuable time. Be in the moment, and create short and dynamic content items.
When Snapchat was first launched, many dismissed the new network, treating it as a gimmick. Years, and many, many millions of users later, tech giants realize that just because users have fun using a product, does not mean that the product, or the values it promotes, are to be taken lightly.
In fact, creating a playful user experience for content consumers should absolutely be part of every content marketer’s plan when appropriate. This is true not only for lighter topics such as lifestyle and entertainment, but also for hard news and finance. The information you have to share may not always be fun, but the reading process should still be enjoyable and smooth.
Snapchat joined the publishing and advertising ecosystem with the launch of its discover section and a set of tools for advertisers. But starting out, the platform was all about user generated content (UGC), which remains a big part of its offering and success to this day. Individual users perceive themselves as content creators, journalists and critics, and enjoy the exposure, fame and perks that are sometimes part of the deal.
Content marketers should seek opportunities to make their audience part of the process as much as possible. There are different avenues that enable you to do so. For example, try incorporating interactive formats into your content - such as polls, quizzes and more - to ask readers for their point of view and/or to give them a more personalized content experience.
Snapchat’s launch of Spectacles, the company’s video-recording sunglasses, is one for the books. The very successful PR stunt included pop-up vending machines that appeared in different locations and disappeared almost immediately, having sold out to devoted users. This maneuver managed to encompass the Snapchat spirit and bring it to life, translating the virtual sense of urgency into a physical experience and tangible product. The app also allows prospective buyers to use Snapchat’s famous filters and “try on” the different shades of glasses before buying.
Content marketers don’t need a physical product in order to adopt this state of mind. A great way of incorporating this logic would be in creating a content experience that users can feel more a part of. Think of readers’ scrolling or clicking movements, for example, and come up with additional creative ways to make the reading process more interesting. You can use a variety of content formats to achieve this enhanced interactivity and spice things up to find the path that most embodies your brand’s spirit and values.
Time will tell if Snapchat’s latest moves are indeed wise, as their own user base matures along with its content needs and habits. But whatever the results may be in the long run, marketers of all kinds can learn quite a bit from this daring, innovative player.
Shachar Orren is the VP Content at Playbuzz, an authoring platform that empowers publishers, marketers, and brands to create engaging, interactive content for editorial and commercial use.