As the tech world braces for Snapchat's impending IPO, the popular photo sharing app has number of challenges to face, whether from their ever-unpredictable consumer base, or competitors like Instagram.
It’s a very interesting time as the Snap IPO gears up. This will most likely be the largest tech IPO to date and with CEO Evan Spiegel’s ambition to be a new Mark Zuckerberg, I am betting that there will be a huge rise in Snapchat’s relevance again.
Still Snapchat certainly has its challenges. Instagram cut into their numbers and attention. These two platforms can co-exist. You’ve got to play to both of their strengths. I’ve got a different audience on both and to be honest, I like Snapchat better to story tell. I find it easier to create video content. Snapchat’s brand is hipper and focused on innovation. Their geo-fenced filters, lenses, local stories and the culture all push people to do a better job on Snapchat than they do on Instagram Stories. It’s just more real and fun.
Then there are The Spectacles. Unquestionably they are still one of the coolest gadgets in the streets. Major props to the way Snapchat rolled this out. The vending machine release was genius. But the product and functionally needs work to say the least. Beyond the shock-sticker value, they aren’t that useful. With Spectacles there is an intermediary step where each story needs to still be uploaded to the phone and then to Snap. It would definitely be better if you could use them more seamlessly.
A clear way for Snapchat to win again is to help figure out how to quantify the impact of their platform. How many views are people getting on stories? As I’ve reported before, we know more people watched Coachella last year on Snapchat than there were people who tuned into the Super Bowl, but without transparency in those numbers, it’s hard to justify spends.
I know when I’ve done artists' campaigns, and the artists are solely posting on Snapchat, it’s hard to show the long-term ROI on that impact because it’s literally gone the next day with no proof of numbers. We actually had to take screen shots of DJ Khaled’s numbers when we did a campaign with him last year. He broke a million per story which was awesome but without us physically taking the picture, there would be no way to prove that.
We know Snapchat needs to address this. Facebook has dominated digital marketing due to an industry wide acceptance of its metrics. Aside from brand stories, Snapchat will need to follow suit in how to apply value in all of its native advertising to win the long game.
At 25 billion this IPO is going to set the tone for the year, and my money is on Snapchat to succeed at least in the short-term game of being hot and relevant. The opportunity is here to capitalize again on that growing attention and engage a fan base. We're starting to see it a bit in real estate but there are also opportunities arising in music. So time get back to snapping and follow my stories here.