CommonSense Blog

Millennials Unplugged: Insights into the World of Snapchat (#2)

By Bob Pearson | Feb 25, 2015

More than 700 million photos and videos are shared each day on Snapchat, arguably the hottest service for millennials in social media.  We decided to look at Snapchat from the perspective of a millennial (Brittany) and a boomer (Bob) with the help of survey results from millennial friends, including the W2O Millennial Committee.   Here are our top 11 insights.

#1 – The Heirarchy of “Moments” – Snapchat is mainly used to show what you are doing in the moment.  The quick reveal.  If a photo is more historical, Instagram is the favorite and if you are sharing more than one photo for posterity, you go to Facebook.  There is a genuine hierarchy of moments that defines which social channel is used.

#2 – Entertainment Defined as How we Distract Ourselves – we have heard entertainment be defined as “how we choose to distract ourselves”.  Snapchat is most often used randomly, sometimes during school, often on the weekends, but less at work.  It’s becoming a way to entertain ourselves via a quick distraction.  We choose these seconds long time points to laugh, smile or just communicate.

#3 – Snapchats are Safer than Texting – most millennials believe their snapchats are kept and can be found in the future, but many don’t care.  With texting, however, you have to care, since a text doesn’t go away right away.  So millennials appear to feel more safety with Snapchat than texting, even though you can delete your texts.  That little bit of extra work makes texts feel very different in this regard.

#4 – Knowing Parents aren’t in Snapchat is a Gamechanger – millennials send messages on Snapchat they would not send on other channels.  And that’s because of a major bonus of Snapchat.  Most co-workers and almost all parents aren’t on Snapchat!  They are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.  You can also send a Snapchat directly to a friend or friends, so you have more control and far less oversight of “those people”, which includes parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and other potential snoopers.

#5 – Snap Stories is a rival to Facebook News – you can share stories that last 24 hours, everyone can see the story and once you watch it, it goes away.  Plus, you can see who has seen it so far.  This is competitive with Facebook’s news site and may even serve as a replacement for some.

#6 – Introduction to Mainstream News is Happening – Snapchat is sharing advertising videos from media outlets like CNN and Cosmopolitan where you can get the latest story and a couple of key facts.  A very smart way to introduce those on Snapchat to brands in a non-intimidating way.   And maybe news will get cool again.

#7 – Why We Snapchat – most reasons center around being funny, sharing an offbeat moment, sharing location or commiserating with friends.  Examples range from making a selfie with a doodle (drawing on face with your finger), making an odd face, showing a scenic scene, saying hi to a friend from a location or simply showing a picture of your face with the temperature on it and saying “ugh class”.

#8 – Stay Under 15 Seconds – any story over 15 seconds is considered to be annoying.  This actually makes sense, since the content is not all that serious.  No one really wants to see you drink a smoothie for 30 seconds.

#9 – Brand Loyalty is Low – 75% of those we talked with don’t care if Snapchat becomes available in a similar service or if it becomes old news.  This is showing us that millennials love Snapchat now, but they will also love what is next just as much.

#10 – Text is Favorite Way to Send a Quick Message – text still wins.  We think it is because with Snapchat, a message pops up with a person’s name, but a text pops up with a person’s name and the message.  Just like #3, making things a little bit easier makes a big difference in usage patterns.

#11 – Low Awareness of FTC Issue or Valuation – very few people were aware that Snapchat settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) due to privacy and compliance issues and even fewer knew what the valuation of Snapchat is (ranged from $100MM to $1bn to $2bn to $10bn).   Once again, what matters to GenX and Boomers for regulatory or financial issues is largely irrelevant and ignored by millennials for social media.  Millennials care about the channel and what it does, period.

Hope you enjoy.

 Brittany Pearson (millennial) and Bob Pearson (boomer)

  • I was not much familiar with the snap chat but after reading your article i will try it at least once, thanks for sharing your information learn a lot from you.