Snapchat remains an enigma in the social media space, catching eyes with its quirky features and a younger-skewed audience. It’s an environment where digital natives feel at home but can leave brands scratching. Wondering if Snapchat should be a part of your social strategy? Here are 25 pros and cons of Snapchat. Compare the advantages and drawbacks, and decide if Snapchat is right for you.
Pros: The Green Lights: 13 Reasons to Dive In
Total Users: In 2023, the total number of Snapchat users worldwide is reported to be 525.7 million, up from 493.9 million in 20224.
1. Authenticity Takes Center Stage
The allure of authenticity is perhaps one of Snapchat’s most distinct advantages in the crowded social media landscape. Unlike platforms designed for carefully curated life highlights, Snapchat thrives on spontaneity. Its ephemeral nature—where messages and stories disappear after 24 hours—creates a digital playground where genuine, unfiltered exchanges are not only welcomed but celebrated. This naturalistic setting seems to resonate particularly well with Millennials and Gen Z, generations often skeptical of polished branding and artificial interactions.
Here, authenticity isn’t an afterthought; it’s the main event. Whether it’s a candid snap of a late-night study session or a quirky filter-enhanced selfie, the platform encourages users to share moments that might not make the ‘gram but are valuable in their own unique way. This casual atmosphere fosters genuine connections and ongoing conversations, making Snapchat not just a social media tool but also a space for authentic digital engagement. It’s a virtual room where you can let your guard down, which is quite refreshing in today’s filtered world.
2. Location-Aware Fun with Geofilters
About 34% of people use Snapchat more than any other social media platform while hanging out with their friends6.
Snapchat’s geofilters are more than just fun overlays for your snaps; they’re a creative and strategic tool that boosts user engagement while amplifying brand awareness. These intricate designs activate based on the user’s geographic location, allowing for highly targeted interactions. This can be particularly useful for brands or organizations looking to make a splash at specific events, venues, or even entire cities.
For example, if you’re a brand activating a booth at a major music festival, you can design a custom geofilter that becomes available only within the festival grounds. Attendees using Snapchat within this area can apply your geofilter to their snaps, effortlessly spreading brand awareness as they share these snaps with their network.
Moreover, because these geofilters often feature eye-catching designs and sometimes even incorporate AR (Augmented Reality) elements, they tend to be memorable and shareable. This results in higher levels of user-generated content, which raises brand visibility and fosters a sense of community and social proof around your brand or event.
3. Conversations Are a Two-Way Street
Around 26% of Snapchat’s daily active users are based in the US4.
Snapchat does more than allow for passive consumption of snaps and stories; it actively encourages users to participate in an ongoing dialogue. This ability for users to reply to your snaps or stories goes beyond just hitting a ‘like’ button or leaving a generic comment. In the world of Snapchat, conversations are dynamic and genuinely two-way.
When users can directly respond to your content, it invites a level of intimacy and engagement that is often missing from other social media platforms. These interactions can range from sending back a snap with a reaction to starting a longer conversation through the chat feature. Either way, this type of direct communication creates a bond between you and your audience, which is invaluable for both personal connections and brand-customer relationships.
This interactive approach has a ripple effect: it enhances user satisfaction and provides brands and content creators with immediate feedback. You can understand what resonates with your audience in real time, allowing you to adjust your strategy accordingly.
This can translate to higher customer loyalty and more effective marketing campaigns for brands. For individual users, it means deeper, more meaningful interactions that go beyond the surface level.
In a digital landscape where so much of our communication feels fleeting or superficial, Snapchat’s emphasis on two-way conversations stands out as a refreshing change. It rehumanizes digital interactions, fostering connections that are both direct and meaningful.
4. A Pulse on Your Popularity
Snapchat is a highly engaging platform with more than 2.4 million Snaps being shared every single minute5.
In summary, Snapchat’s analytics may offer just a pulse on your popularity, but sometimes, a pulse is all you need to make informed decisions and stay connected with your audience.
5. Live Stories Unite Communities
The platform is expected to have 525.7 million users worldwide in 2023, marking a growth from 493.9 million users in the previous year4.
Snapchat’s Live Stories feature is a groundbreaking innovation that enables the aggregation of snaps from various users attending the same event, creating a communal narrative. Imagine going to a music festival and being able to contribute your own video and photo snaps to a single, unified story alongside thousands of other festival-goers. It’s not just your experience; it’s a mosaic of multiple viewpoints that provides a comprehensive look at the event from numerous angles.
This feature capitalizes on the power of collective storytelling, transforming individual experiences into a shared narrative that can be more compelling than standalone content. By offering a mosaic of different perspectives, Live Stories invite users to see an event through a multifaceted lens, making the experience richer and more nuanced.
For brands, organizations, and even individuals who are hosting events, Live Stories offers a remarkable promotional tool. Your audience is no longer just the people physically present at your event; it expands to all Snapchat users who can virtually attend by watching the aggregated snaps. This can be a potent way to amplify brand presence and engage a larger community. It’s also a great way to generate FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), encouraging more people to attend your future events.
Another interesting facet of Live Stories is the authenticity they bring. These aren’t carefully curated posts; they are raw, real-time contributions from attendees. This authentic vibe can resonate strongly with audiences, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, who value genuine experiences over polished presentations.
However, there are considerations to bear in mind. For instance, the feature relies on user contributions, meaning the narrative is largely out of your control. While this adds to the authenticity, it also means that the final story is unpredictable. This could be a potential issue for brands or organizations if the aggregated content doesn’t align with their messaging or image.
In summary, Live Stories on Snapchat serve as a unique medium for community engagement and shared experiences. They break the fourth wall by uniting users in a collective narrative, thereby taking the concept of user-generated content to a whole new level.
6. Unobtrusive Ad Experience
26% of Snapchat’s daily active users are based in the US3.
In a world where ad-blockers are the norm and users have developed a kind of ‘banner blindness,’ Snapchat has succeeded in creating a different kind of ad experience that is less intrusive and more integrated into the user’s content feed. Unlike the often disruptive ads we’re used to seeing on other social platforms, which pop up in your face or interrupt your video-watching experience, Snapchat’s ads are designed to feel more native to the platform. They blend smoothly into the user’s story and Discover feeds, creating a more seamless user experience.
This is particularly beneficial for brands that aim for a more organic reach and want to foster positive user experiences. Because Snapchat’s ads don’t jar the viewer out of their content consumption flow, there’s a higher chance that users will engage with the ad instead of immediately clicking the ‘skip’ button or scrolling past it. This offers advertisers a unique opportunity to catch users while they’re still in the ‘content consumption’ mindset, making them more receptive to brand messaging.
What’s more, Snapchat provides various ad formats like Snap Ads, Story Ads, Filters, and Lenses that allow for creative storytelling. Each of these formats can be seamlessly integrated into the platform, thereby offering multiple touchpoints for brands to engage with their target audience. Brands can use these formats to share short, engaging stories that don’t just advertise a product or service but also offer value—be it humor, information, or emotional resonance—to the user.
From the user’s perspective, this type of unobtrusive advertising can actually enhance their experience on the platform. If done correctly, Snapchat ads can provide additional content that is relevant, engaging, and enjoyable rather than being just another piece of marketing that they want to skip. This is crucial for the younger demographic of Snapchat users—Millennials and Gen Z—who are known for their disdain for traditional, disruptive advertising but are open to brand interactions that feel authentic and relevant.
However, it’s essential for advertisers to tread carefully. The line between ‘native’ and ‘intrusive’ can be thin, and the key is to create ads that offer real value without feeling forced or out of place. Brands need to put in the effort to understand Snapchat’s unique platform dynamics and user behavior to create ads that resonate rather than repel.
In summary, Snapchat’s approach to ads offers a refreshing take on digital advertising, favoring seamless integration over disruptive tactics. For both users and advertisers, this creates a win-win situation where ads can be as enjoyable as the content they’re nestled between.
- (https://www.datafeedwatch.com/blog/we-tested-snapchat-ads) ↩
- (https://www.mayple.com/blog/snapchat-ads) ↩ ↩2
7. Snap and It’s Gone
The value of Snapchat stock increased by over 350% from 2020 to 2021 but has since declined by 70%3.
Snapchat turned the concept of permanence in social media on its head by introducing snaps—short-lived photos or videos that disappear after being viewed. While initially counterintuitive, this feature has become one of Snapchat’s unique selling points and holds considerable value for users and marketers alike.
Firstly, the ephemeral nature of snaps cultivates a sense of urgency among viewers. In an age where we’re inundated with content, from articles to videos to social media posts, the idea that something will vanish adds an extra layer of importance to it. People don’t want to miss out. This “fear of missing out” (FOMO) is a powerful psychological trigger, and it prompts users to engage with content more quickly and attentively than they might with more permanent forms of content. For marketers, this means your target audience is likely to pay more attention to your snap simply because they know it will disappear.
This fleeting existence also promotes authentic and real-time sharing. Unlike other platforms where content is often meticulously crafted and designed to be evergreen, Snapchat’s disappearing snaps encourage spontaneity. Users are more likely to share in-the-moment experiences, knowing the content won’t stick around to haunt them. This can be a goldmine for marketers looking to create authentic connections with their audience. You can use this feature to share limited-time offers, behind-the-scenes looks, or exclusive previews, generating buzz and urgency around your brand.
Moreover, the short lifespan of snaps makes them ideal for promoting time-sensitive events or offers. Whether it’s a 24-hour sale, a special event, or an exclusive announcement, the temporary nature of the snap serves as a built-in countdown clock. It’s a digital version of a “limited time only” banner that you might see in a store, creating a compelling call to action for viewers to act swiftly.
However, this benefit comes with a caveat. The content you share needs to be compelling enough to merit immediate action. Poorly designed or irrelevant snaps may be ignored, regardless of their ephemeral nature, wasting both the user’s and the marketer’s time. So, it’s crucial to strike a balance between creating a sense of urgency and delivering value.
In essence, Snapchat’s model of ephemeral content is a double-edged sword that can either engage or alienate. It’s not just a gimmick; it’s a feature that demands a rethinking of how we approach social media marketing and user engagement. The temporary nature of snaps can serve as a catalyst for immediate, meaningful interactions, but only when leveraged wisely.
8. Quick and Painless Sign-Up
Approximately 23.2% of Snapchat users are on the platform to follow or research brands and products1
Let’s talk about how Snapchat has done something rather brilliant with its editing features: it’s made everyone feel a little bit like an artist. Unlike some platforms that emphasize capturing a moment as authentically as possible, Snapchat encourages users—and brands—to get creative with their snaps. This isn’t just a photo-sharing app; it’s a canvas for your creativity.
Snapchat provides a suite of editing tools that go beyond the basic filters and frames. From doodling to adding text, emojis, and even Bitmojis, the platform gives you multiple avenues to make each snap a unique work of art. These tools not only make snaps more interesting, but they also help in expressing individuality. This is a big deal for a generation that values originality and uniqueness. It turns everyday moments into something more, adding a layer of fun and creativity to the conversations.
For brands, this creative freedom is not just playful but powerful. It offers the chance to connect with audiences more personalized and engagingly. Imagine launching a product and using Snapchat’s editing tools to create a series of unique snaps that offer different angles or fun facts about it. Or consider using the doodle tool to add a handwritten “limited offer” or “exclusive” sticker, which can boost urgency and engagement.
But what’s truly exciting for brands is the potential to engage users in co-creation. Many brands have leveraged Snapchat’s editing features to launch interactive campaigns inviting users to creatively modify or add to a snap. This strategy creates buzz and provides brands with valuable user-generated content that can be repurposed for other platforms or marketing strategies.
However, while the creative options may be plenty, they also demand different planning and design thinking levels. Brands need to be careful not to go overboard with the editing tools, as an over-designed snap may come across as inauthentic or overly promotional. The key is finding the right balance between creativity and simplicity, ensuring the message isn’t lost amidst the flair.
Moreover, Snapchat’s user base is predominantly younger, meaning that the creative, playful tone might not resonate as well with older demographics. Marketers should consider this when planning Snapchat campaigns to ensure they’re reaching their target audience effectively.
In essence, Snapchat’s editing features serve as a conduit for creativity for individual users and brands. It’s a powerful element that enriches the storytelling aspect of the platform. It allows everyone to add a personal touch, transforming simple snaps into unique pieces of art, and offers brands a whole new playground for creative marketing.
9. Perfect for Bite-Sized Content
Snapchat is a highly active platform, with the average user opening the app more than 30 times a day1.
Snapchat’s array of editing features does more than allow for basic photo and video touch-ups; it unlocks a realm of creative possibilities. It’s like handing users a mini creative studio right in their pockets. This creative latitude is especially engaging for Millennials and Gen Z, who are always on the lookout for platforms that let their imaginations run wild.
Imagine transforming a simple selfie into a work of art with Snapchat’s palette of filters, stickers, text options, and drawing tools. You can add a vintage hue, plaster it with emojis, or even sketch your own doodles. The customization is so rich and intuitive that each snap becomes a unique expression of individual creativity.
This is an unparalleled opportunity for brands to ‘speak the same language’ as their audience. When you consider that creativity is one of the most highly valued traits in the modern digital landscape, it’s clear that brands that adapt to this artistic vernacular have a distinct advantage. For example, a coffee shop could use Snapchat’s drawing tools to doodle steaming cups of coffee around a snap of their newest brew, inviting users to do the same and share it. This interactive layer amplifies user engagement and contributes to a brand’s image as fun, modern, and relatable.
Another aspect to consider is that the creative possibilities encourage users to spend more time on each snap, either refining their masterpiece or interacting with the nuanced layers of a brand’s artistic endeavor. More time spent means deeper engagement, which in turn can lead to a stronger emotional connection to the brand.
This culture of creativity also paves the way for user-generated content, which is a goldmine for marketers. When users get artsy with their snaps, they’re more likely to share their creations, which serves as organic promotion for the brand. The Snapchat community becomes a collaborative space, bringing users and brands together to celebrate creativity.
In a nutshell, Snapchat’s rich editing options aren’t merely features but instruments of creative empowerment. By providing these tools, Snapchat allows individual personalities to shine through each snap, simultaneously granting brands the opportunity to jump into the artistic fray and connect with their audience in a vibrant, impactful way.
10. Discover a World of Content
Snapchat’s Discover feature is like your daily magazine, packed with curated, high-quality content ranging from news stories to viral videos to lifestyle tips. But this isn’t just a typical content feed; it’s an experiential voyage that transcends typical user engagement, offering users more than just a platform to consume information.
While social media platforms usually display content based on an algorithm, Discover’s curated approach takes things to the next level. Here, you’ll find handpicked stories, features, and brand campaigns carefully selected by Snapchat’s editorial team and partners. This method encourages diversity in the content, giving you a taste of different perspectives, trends, and cultural flavors. It’s like walking through a global digital marketplace where each stall offers something unique.
This is a coveted spot for brands, the equivalent of prime real estate in the digital world. Being featured on Discover implies a seal of quality and guarantees visibility among a wider audience. Brands get a stage to showcase their most compelling narratives, whether breaking news, a makeup tutorial, or a peek behind the scenes of a major event. Its storytelling is elevated to an art form designed to captivate viewers and invite them into a deeper, richer relationship with the brand.
But it’s not just about passive consumption. Discover is interactive, allowing users to swipe, tap, and share content with friends. This adds a social layer to the experience, transforming content from mere information to a conversation starter. A funny video clip or a poignant article becomes a shared experience, something to discuss, debate, or laugh about with your circle. In the age of social distancing, these virtual communal experiences have become invaluable.
Moreover, brands can analyze user engagement metrics on Discover to understand what resonates with their audience. This data-driven insight is a potent tool for refining content strategy, ensuring that what’s put out aligns perfectly with what the audience wants to see.
In summary, Snapchat’s Discover feature is not just an aggregator of high-quality content; it’s a dynamic playground that enriches user engagement and offers brands an unparalleled opportunity to connect and captivate. It’s not just about finding content; it’s about discovering a world of interaction, engagement, and storytelling.
11. Get Artsy with Snaps
Snapchat isn’t just a platform for quick snapshots or casual chats; it’s a canvas for creativity, offering many editing options that let users express themselves inventively. And it’s not just for individuals—the wide-ranging tools open a whole new world of possibilities for brands, allowing them to stretch their creative muscles and engage audiences in ways traditional advertising mediums can’t.
One of the most exciting things about Snapchat is the ability to customize snaps with filters, stickers, text, and even hand-drawn doodles. Filters can dramatically alter the mood of a photo, changing it from a simple selfie to a sun-kissed portrait or a vintage-themed snapshot. The geofilters are location-specific, making it easy for users to add a local flair to their snaps, something that’s fun and useful for brands looking to tap into specific markets or create buzz around an event.
Stickers are another creative feature that adds a playful element to snaps. From cute emojis to clever GIFs, they offer an easy way to add personality and context to a picture. Brands can use these to embellish their promotional snaps, making them more relatable and engaging to the audience.
The real game-changer, however, might be the drawing tool. This feature lets users unleash their inner Picasso, adding hand-drawn elements to photos or videos. It’s a straightforward but powerful way to make a snap uniquely yours. Brands can use this feature to add a personal touch to their snaps, whether a quick doodle or a detailed sketch related to a new product launch.
The text tool provides an opportunity for those who prefer to express themselves in words. You can add captions, annotations, or even just a quick “Hello!” to give context to your snaps. Brands often use this tool to include calls to action or additional information, making the snap a visual and holistic piece of content.
In a digital world where brands are fighting for attention, these editing features offer a way to stand out. By adopting a creative, personalized approach, brands can forge a deeper connection with their audience. The sky’s the limit regarding how these tools can be used, offering an unparalleled opportunity for brands to let their creativity soar and create visually arresting and emotionally engaging snaps. So next time you’re on Snapchat, don’t just snap—create.
12. The Scarcity Factor
In the age of information overload, Snapchat’s 24-hour content expiration feature serves as a powerful ally in capturing and maintaining user engagement. Unlike other platforms where content can linger indefinitely, Snapchat’s fleeting nature gives it a unique edge. This transience grabs attention and injects a sense of urgency and “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) into the user experience.
The notion that a snap will disappear in 24 hours plays into our psychological tendency to value things that are scarce. Behavioral economists have long discussed the concept of scarcity as a major driver in decision-making processes. When we know that we have limited time to view something, we’re more likely to engage with it right away rather than putting it off for later.
This scarcity factor doesn’t just benefit individual users looking to get quick responses from friends; it’s a goldmine for brands seeking to foster regular engagement. Companies can use this to their advantage by creating “limited-time-only” content that encourages users to tune in regularly or risk missing out on something exclusive or valuable. Whether it’s a 24-hour discount, a sneak peek of an upcoming product, or exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, the ticking clock adds an exciting layer of urgency.
Furthermore, the ephemeral nature of Snapchat content can help build a stronger, more dedicated community. Because snaps don’t stick around forever, users are encouraged to check in more frequently, ensuring they are up-to-date with their connections and favored brands. This frequent checking creates a habit loop, which can be incredibly beneficial for brands aiming to keep their audience engaged over the long term.
Snapchat’s 24-hour content expiration isn’t just a feature; it’s a strategic play. It leverages psychological triggers like scarcity and FOMO to keep users coming back for more, creating a dynamic and engaging environment that’s hard to replicate on platforms where content has a longer shelf life. So, whether you’re an individual looking to keep your friends engaged or a brand aiming to build a loyal following, the ticking Snapchat clock is your friend.
13. Multi-Medium Mastery
One of the standout features of Snapchat is its ability to offer a multi-faceted, rich multimedia experience. Unlike platforms that primarily focus on one type of content—be it text, photos, or videos—Snapchat embraces them all. You can send a quick text chat, follow it up with a series of snaps, and then jump into a video call, all within the same app. This robust set of interaction options makes Snapchat a Swiss Army knife of social media tools.
By providing chat, video, and photo options, Snapchat ensures that communication feels fluid and authentic. You can adapt your interaction style depending on your mood, the context, or even the person you’re communicating with. This makes the platform exceptionally versatile, catering to a broad range of use cases and scenarios. For instance, while a picture may be worth a thousand words, sometimes those words must be spoken or shown in a short video clip.
This multi-medium approach also lends itself well to storytelling. Brands, influencers, and everyday users can create layered narratives that engage their audience in a more comprehensive way. You can start with a text post that sets the context, add photos to provide a visual element, and then include a video for the crescendo. The result? A storytelling arc that captures the full spectrum of human expression.
Moreover, the integrated nature of these multimedia options enhances user engagement. No need to switch apps or platforms to move from text to video; it’s all integrated into one seamless experience. This fluidity keeps users engaged within the Snapchat ecosystem for longer periods, providing more opportunities for interaction and discovery.
In a digital world where attention spans are shrinking and competition for eyeballs is fierce, Snapchat’s multi-medium mastery stands out as a compelling feature. It offers something for everyone, whether you’re a text aficionado, a visual storyteller, or a video maven. By catering to a wide array of communication styles and preferences, Snapchat has become not just a social media platform but a comprehensive tool for human expression.
The Red Flags: 12 Points for Caution
1. Narrow Demographics
Snapchat’s user base is notoriously youthful, with a significant concentration among Millennials and Gen Z. While this generational skew can be advantageous for brands or content creators targeting a younger audience, it simultaneously acts as a limiting factor for those looking to reach a broader or older demographic.
Having a young, digitally savvy user base is often seen as a boon. These are the individuals more likely to be early adopters of new features, more willing to engage with innovative forms of content, and often more attuned to social media trends. They bring an energy and vibrancy to the platform that is hard to replicate. This demographic concentration is ideal for sectors like fashion, entertainment, and technology—which often skew younger anyway.
However, this strength is also Snapchat’s weakness. If your brand or message aims for a more diverse age range, or if you’re in industries that traditionally appeal to an older demographic—such as luxury goods, financial services, or healthcare—the platform’s youthful tilt can be a significant drawback. In such scenarios, you’re essentially preaching to the choir while missing out on a more varied congregation.
This generational bias also poses long-term questions for Snapchat. As its core user base matures, will the platform adapt to serve an aging demographic, or will it continually rejuvenate itself to appeal to the next generation? And if it opts for the latter, will it be able to sustain user engagement as older users potentially outgrow the platform?
This narrow demographic scope goes beyond age; it can extend to other factors like geography, as Snapchat is particularly popular in certain countries and less so in others. It’s a critical consideration for any global brand looking to leverage the platform’s capabilities.
In summary, while Snapchat’s youthful demographic is a double-edged sword, its current skew towards younger users can limit the platform’s utility for those seeking a more diverse audience. Brands, content creators, and everyday users must weigh these limitations against the platform’s many strengths to determine if it’s the right fit for their social media strategy.
2. Analytics Could Be Better
When it comes to understanding user engagement and measuring the success of your campaigns, in-depth analytics are crucial. However, Snapchat’s analytics platform leaves a lot to be desired. It offers some basic metrics, like views and screenshot counts, but the offerings are noticeably less comprehensive compared to analytics giants like Google Analytics or even other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
The limited analytics on Snapchat can hinder brands or content creators from relying on data-driven strategies. For instance, while you can see who viewed your snap or story, the metrics don’t necessarily delve into granular details like user demographics, location, or how long someone engaged with your content. These are vital data points for optimizing content, understanding audience behavior, and proving ROI (Return on Investment).
The lack of in-depth analytics can make it challenging to A/B test different types of content effectively. Without robust analytics, you’re essentially flying blind, relying more on intuition than data to guide your content strategy. While gut feeling and creativity shouldn’t be discounted, hard data should ideally complement them.
This shortfall doesn’t just impact big brands or professional content creators; even everyday users who are keen to understand their engagement levels are left wanting. For those looking to grow their audience or even understand their current one better, the limitations in Snapchat’s analytics can be frustrating.
Some users turn to third-party analytics tools designed to work with Snapchat to mitigate this. While these can fill in some gaps, they’re often not as seamless or intuitive as having a robust analytics suite built into the platform itself.
In a world increasingly driven by data, the absence of detailed analytics on Snapchat is a significant drawback that users must consider when choosing this platform. Despite its many pros, this particular con could be a deal-breaker for those who heavily rely on metrics to inform their social media strategy.
3. Your Snaps Are Ephemeral
One of Snapchat’s defining features is its ephemeral nature: snaps disappear after a set period, and stories only last for 24 hours. While this sense of urgency can drive engagement and keep users coming back for more, it also presents a unique challenge—your content has a short shelf life, requiring frequent updates to keep your audience interested.
For brands and individual creators alike, this necessity for fresh content means you’ll need a robust and agile content strategy. Gone are the days when you could craft a handful of evergreen posts and let them drive engagement for weeks or months. You’re always in “real-time” mode on Snapchat, necessitating a faster turnaround of relevant and captivating content.
Not only does this keep your creative team on their toes, but it also can be resource-intensive. Constant updates mean more time spent brainstorming, creating, editing, and publishing new content. For smaller brands or individual creators, this could mean a substantial investment of time and effort that might not be sustainable in the long run.
This rapid content cycle can also lead to “content fatigue” for both the creator and the audience. For the creator, constantly brainstorming fresh ideas while maintaining quality can become exhausting. Too much content for the audience can overwhelm and potentially dilute your brand message, making each snap less impactful.
However, there are strategies to make this challenge work for you. Some brands effectively use this as an opportunity for time-sensitive promotions or flash sales, creating an atmosphere of exclusivity and urgency. Tools like content calendars and social media management platforms can also help streamline the process, making it more manageable to keep your Snapchat vibrant and updated.
In summary, while the ephemeral nature of Snapchat creates a dynamic and engaging environment, it also demands a higher level of commitment to content creation. It’s a facet that anyone looking to engage with the platform seriously should not underestimate.
4. Signal Amidst the Noise
Snapchat is a bustling marketplace of ideas, creativity, and sometimes clutter. Every day, users send billions of snaps, making it a remarkably active platform for both personal and brand communication. However, with that much content buzzing around, making your snaps rise above the din can be challenging.
While a high level of activity on Snapchat represents a fertile ground for engagement, it also creates a paradox: the more content there is, the harder it is for any single piece to capture and hold attention. Think of it as being a single star in a galaxy, bright in its own right but easily lost amidst the multitude.
Brands and creators often find themselves in a constant battle to be noticed, and the problem is exacerbated when every other brand is also pulling out all the stops. Even if your content is compelling and creative, it could still easily be drowned out by the sheer volume of snaps floating through users’ feeds.
The user interface, though unique, can be confusing for first-timers.
6. Friend-Searching Woes
Despite its youth-centric allure and interactive features, Snapchat presents a somewhat complicated landscape when it comes to friend-adding. Unlike platforms like Facebook or Instagram, where the process is generally intuitive and seamless, Snapchat’s friend-adding mechanism can feel like an obstacle course.
Firstly, the app relies heavily on unique Snapcodes or exact usernames for adding friends. There’s no easy way to browse for friends or discover new people based on interests, location, or mutual connections. This makes expanding your network organically or stumbling upon interesting profiles more challenging.
Secondly, the absence of a robust recommendation system further amplifies the problem. Most platforms provide ‘People you may know’ or similar features to help you grow your network, but Snapchat lacks this, or at least makes it less prominent. Thus, unless you’ve met someone in real life and scanned their Snapcode or got their exact username, making a new connection can become a treasure hunt.
Furthermore, let’s not forget that the app initially gained traction as a more ‘private’ social media alternative. While this is excellent for preserving privacy, it comes at the cost of ease of discoverability. You don’t have the option to send friend requests to people who are friends of your friends, which is a standard feature on other platforms. This privacy-centric approach, though commendable, hinders the process of community-building for new users and brands alike.
Lastly, the limited search functionalities can make reconnecting with old friends, classmates, or colleagues difficult unless you have their precise contact details. This is cumbersome and counterintuitive for a platform built around social interactions.
So, while Snapchat offers various engaging ways to connect once friends are made, the initial step of adding friends is less straightforward than one might hope. This poses a challenge for users who are looking to build their community or for brands trying to grow their audience from scratch.
7. Portrait-Mode Videos Only
Video content has been one of the most effective ways to capture attention and engage audiences in the digital age. From YouTube vlogs to TikTok skits, the landscape has been versatile, offering creators freedom in terms of format and orientation. Enter Snapchat, which insists on breaking from the norm by focusing exclusively on portrait-mode, or vertical videos.
At first glance, this might not seem like a significant issue. After all, the vertical format is optimized for mobile viewing and fits naturally in your hand when you’re scrolling through the app. However, this forced verticality becomes a problem when you consider a few essential points.
Firstly, it presents a roadblock for brands or content creators who have a backlog of horizontal videos that they wish to repurpose. Traditional formats like 16:9 have been the industry standard for so long that reformatting these for Snapchat can be time-consuming and often leads to compromises in visual composition.
Secondly, for those who are fans of cinematic storytelling or have gotten used to the horizontal videos on platforms like YouTube, Snapchat’s forced vertical format can be jarring. It changes how a story can be framed and limits the types of shots that can be used effectively. The widescreen format has always allowed for a richer narrative experience, and this can feel stifled in Snapchat’s portrait-mode environment.
Thirdly, the vertical format can be somewhat limiting when it comes to certain types of content. Think about sports highlights or panoramic landscapes; these types of content naturally fit a wider screen and lose some of their impact when forced into a narrow vertical frame.
Lastly, creators have to bear in mind that their content will be primarily consumed in a format that is not easily adaptable to other platforms. If you want to cross-post your Snapchat video to YouTube or another site that favors horizontal videos, it’s going to look out of place.
In summary, while Snapchat’s vertical video format aligns well with its quick, mobile-first approach, it’s not for everyone. It presents logistical and creative challenges that users, particularly those accustomed to more traditional video formats, may find off-putting. This limitation could deter potential users or brands from investing time and resources into the platform.
8. Regular Content Demands
The platform encourages regular posting to Stories and Spotlight and requires creators to have a Public Profile and a grown audience to be eligible for a Creator Account1.
When it comes to content creation, one of the unwritten rules of the digital landscape is that consistency is king. Regular updates are vital to maintaining audience interest and engagement, whether you’re a YouTuber, Instagrammer, or Twitterati. But even within this paradigm, Snapchat’s requirements stand apart, and they’re not for the faint of heart—or the resource-strapped.
The fleeting nature of Snapchat’s content—photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours—creates an environment where freshness is not just encouraged but practically mandated. This ephemeral quality is a double-edged sword: On one hand, it can make your content feel more immediate, authentic, and engaging. On the other, it constantly demands creators and brands to pump out new material regularly, almost as if you’re constantly racing against the clock.
So, what does this mean for individuals or brands using Snapchat as a marketing tool? Let’s delve into the implications.
Firstly, the need for constant updates can be taxing on your creative resources. The workload is near-constant, whether brainstorming ideas, shooting photos and videos, or engaging in post-production editing. For smaller teams or solo creators, this could lead to burnout and a decrease in the quality of content.
Secondly, there’s the financial aspect to consider. Regular content creation is not just time-intensive; it can also be costly. From hiring graphic designers to videographers or even investing in ads, the expenses can quickly add up. And because the content is short-lived, the ROI (Return on Investment) needs to be evaluated more critically and frequently.
Thirdly, the continual demand for new content can lead to a certain kind of ‘creativity fatigue.’ When you’re always in the mode of creating, the pressure can sometimes stifle creativity rather than foster it, leading to content that feels forced or uninspiring.
Finally, this constant churn can also affect audience engagement. While the goal is to keep your audience interested, the sheer volume of content might have the opposite effect, causing follower fatigue.
In conclusion, while innovative and engaging in many ways, Snapchat’s model of ephemeral content comes with its own set of challenges. The platform’s incessant demand for fresh, regular content can put a strain on your time, creativity, and budget. For brands and individuals considering Snapchat as a medium for their messages, it’s essential to weigh these factors carefully. The commitment is not just to create but to keep creating—constantly.
9. Branding Dilemmas
Snapchat’s unique selling point is the temporary nature of its content. Snaps disappear after they are viewed, and stories are only available for 24 hours. This ephemeral nature of content can pose challenges for brands trying to create a lasting impression.
- Consistency: Brands often rely on repeated exposure to their logos, taglines, and brand colors to build recognition. On Snapchat, where content disappears quickly, maintaining this consistent exposure can be challenging.
- Storytelling: Brands often tell stories to connect with their audience. The fleeting nature of Snapchat content can make it difficult to build a narrative over time.
- Brand Recall: The temporary nature of content can make it harder for users to remember a brand. If a user sees a great piece of content but can’t remember who posted it, it’s a missed opportunity for the brand.
- Investment vs. Return: Creating high-quality content takes resources. On Snapchat, this content is ephemeral, which means brands may not feel they are getting a good return on their investment.
So, while Snapchat offers unique opportunities for real-time engagement and reaching a young demographic, its temporary content can pose challenges for brands looking to build a lasting image.
10. Not All Publicity is Good Publicity
While it can create a sense of urgency and exclusivity, Snapchat’s ephemeral content can also lead to potential pitfalls for brands.
- Risky Behavior: The temporary nature of content on Snapchat may encourage some brands to take risks they wouldn’t on other platforms, under the assumption that any negative impact would be short-lived. However, even temporary content can quickly be screenshot or recorded, leading to potential long-term damage if the content is viewed as inappropriate or offensive.
- Brand Image: Brands need to be mindful of the content they post. While edgy or controversial content might get attention in the short term, it could harm the brand’s reputation in the long run. Remember, what goes online stays online, even if it’s temporary on Snapchat.
- Quality Control: The pressure to constantly produce new content for Snapchat can sometimes lead to a compromise in quality. Poor quality or off-brand content can negatively impact a brand’s image.
- Audience Impact: Brands need to consider their audience. Content that may seem fun or daring might actually alienate or offend some users, leading to a loss of followers or damage to the brand’s reputation.
Therefore, while Snapchat’s temporary content can be a unique way to engage with audiences, it’s important for brands to remember that not all publicity is good publicity. They need to carefully consider the potential impact of their content on their brand’s reputation.
11. Geofilters Aren’t Free
Snapchat’s geofilters are location-based overlays that users can apply to their snaps. They are a popular way for brands to engage with users, particularly during events or in specific locations. However, there are some potential downsides:
- Cost: Creating custom geofilters, especially ones that are well-designed and attractive to users, can be expensive. Brands need to factor in the cost of design and the cost to Snapchat for hosting the geofilter. These costs can add up depending on the duration and the geographical area covered.
- Limited Reach: Geofilters are location-specific, meaning they only reach users who are in a particular place at a particular time. While this can be great for targeting a specific event or location, it does limit the overall reach of the geofilter. Brands with a broader or more dispersed audience may find this limiting.
- User Engagement: Even if a user is in the right location at the right time, there’s no guarantee they will use the geofilter. It’s dependent on users choosing to apply the geofilter to their snap, which they may not do if it’s not relevant or appealing to them.
- Measurement: It can be challenging to measure the success of a geofilter. While Snapchat provides some analytics, like views and uses, it’s hard to know if the geofilter led to any meaningful engagement or action.
Overall, while geofilters can be a fun and creative way for brands to engage with users on Snapchat, they need to consider the potential costs and limitations.
12. Limited Search Capabilities
Snapchat is not a platform for discovery; most connections are pre-established, affecting organic growth.
Snapchat differs from platforms like Instagram and Twitter, where users can easily discover new accounts to follow based on their interests. On Snapchat, connections are usually pre-established, meaning users have to know your Snapchat username or scan your Snapcode to add you. This presents a few challenges for brands:
- Limited Discovery: Unlike other platforms, Snapchat doesn’t have a public ‘Explore’ feature or a recommendation algorithm to suggest new accounts to follow. This makes it harder for brands to be discovered by new audiences.
- Organic Growth: Due to the lack of discovery features, organic growth can be slower on Snapchat. Brands often rely on cross-promotion on other social media platforms to drive followers to their Snapchat accounts.
- User Engagement: Because most Snap connections are pre-established, users often have a stronger connection with the accounts they follow. This means they might be less likely to engage with brand content, which can feel less personal.
- Content Visibility: Snapchat’s interface doesn’t allow for easy browsing of different users’ content. Users have to actively choose to view a brand’s story, which can limit content visibility compared to platforms where content is displayed in a feed.
In conclusion, while Snapchat can be a great tool for engaging with an existing audience, its lack of discovery features can limit a brand’s ability to reach new audiences and achieve organic growth.
Snapchat is a platform of contrasts: the real-time engagement and authenticity are game-changers, but its limitations are not to be overlooked. The platform serves as an exciting playground for creative marketing but demands constant upkeep and clear targeting. Understanding these 25 points should equip you to decide whether Snapchat is right for you.