Companies May Gain Facebook Alternative: Snapchat

Snapchat, the social media app once beloved of the younger set and the marketers who loved them, has not had a great year. Once hailed as an innovative competitor to Facebook, it went public last year only to see its share price slip and market share seemingly contract.

Both user growth and revenue have been lackluster, disappointing those who once championed the company as the Next Big Thing in technology news.

Moving Online

Snap Inc., the parent of Snapchat, is rethinking its business strategy — and the shift may offer corporations a new opportunity to reach young consumers via a channel that companies have struggled to monetize. Snap recently announced that it is reversing the direction of many platforms, which start out as online sites and migrate to the popularity of mobile.

Snapchat has always been an app, and only an app. But now, some of its features are going to be available for desktop viewing to computer and tablet users as well. Specifically, its Official Stories, Our Stories, and Search Stories, organizational, celebrity, and user creations comprised of video and images, will be shareable. Users will be e-mailed or texted a web link that will enable viewership of the stories within 24 hours, according to The Verge

Official Stories are developed by large corporations, organizations or (of course) celebrities. Media, entertainment, and sports companies create Snapchat Official Stories to comport with their brand.

Making Snapchat available on more platforms is a move to increase usage and revenues.

Competing with Facebook?

Importantly for corporate marketing arms, Snapchat is also redesigning its app to divide content made by users from content made by publishers.

Industry observers pointed out that the Stories feature may be a Snapchat’s attempt to appeal to a broader audience and to make its stories more visible vis-à-vis Facebook’s Instagram Stories.

Another important shift for companies to consider: The Stories feature, as Marketing Dive points out, also positions Snapchat as a curated, personal alternative to Facebook and Google’s more algorithm-dominated approach, even with Facebook’s recent pullback to a focus on family and friends.

As well, It is expected that online users might find the user experience of Snapchat’s desktop version less daunting, especially for consumers who are older than the usual target market.

Will Snapchat’s attempt to grow its app beyond traditional boundaries work in terms of user and revenue growth? Stay tuned.

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