Snapchat is taking the world by storm. It’s drawing in social media users by the millions through its quirky filters and unfiltered approach to online interactions. Consequently, it has become a useful tool for businesses that want to reach their target audience and communicate with existing customers. Furthermore, it is also used as a platform for politics and the dissemination of COVID-19-related information. However, merely having a Snapchat account isn’t enough to reap its many benefits. If you truly want to use the platform to your advantage, it pays to keep tabs on emerging Snapchat trends.
To help you out, we have compiled some of these trends in this article — from the advertising techniques used on the channel to the increasing AR and VR features of the platform. This way, you can gain insights into how you can incorporate it into your current business operations to improve lead generation and customer retention. In case you’d like to learn more about the topic, you can also take a look at this list of recent Snapchat statistics.
Snapchat made a huge splash when it entered the social media landscape in 2011. Advertised as the “new type of camera,” the platform was intended for video and photo sharing. What makes it unique, however, is that it came with built-in filters and visual effects that users can utilize to make their “snaps” more interesting. To top it all off, the platform allows you to send each snap to anyone you want or to add them to your “Story,” which is content that’s viewable only for 24 hours.
With these fun and interesting features, the platform instantly became a hit. And as of the fourth quarter of 2020, more than 5 billion snaps were being sent daily (Snapchat, 2021). It was so innovative that more prominent social media platforms created similar features. Take Facebook and Instagram, for instance, when they rolled out the “My Day” and “Story” functions.
Despite this competition with other networks, Snapchat remains one of the most popular social media platforms today, particularly for younger users. In fact, the number of daily active users jumped from 218 million in 2019 to 265 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 (Statista, 2021). It has even become the most popular social media app among US teens (CNBC, 2020).
Source: Snap Inc. 2021
Based on Snapchat’s annual report, more than 200 million active users engage with augmented reality (AR) daily (Snap Inc., 2021). With this amount of engagement, Snap—the company behind Snapchat—recorded revenues of $911 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, representing a $232 million increase from the previous quarter.
With these said, we can expect that Snapchat will continue to play an important role in individuals and businesses in 2021 and beyond. The app has also adopted other worthwhile uses such as the dissemination of COVID-19 information and being a platform for politics (CNN, 2021). So, it pays to know the emerging Snapchat trends to see how you can use them to your advantage. If you want more details on this topic, you can also take a look at this compilation of social media trends
Social media is a viable sales and marketing platform right now. Brands are actively putting effort into advertising and selling on social media.
To cater to this huge demand for social selling, Snapchat rolled out different advertising features for businesses. For example, they have the AR Lens, which allows brands to equip their snaps with animations and interactive triggers. This way, their ads are made more engaging and memorable. The “Cartoon” Lens has been such a big hit with users that it wound up generating a billion impressions three days after its launch (Snap Inc., 2021).
Another promising feature is the Snapchat Story Ads. These are ephemeral advertisements that show up in the Discover feed. Through this, brands can tap their consumers’ innate Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and get them to click on the ads as soon as possible. What’s more, because the Discover feed is curated for each user, you can easily reach the right people if you set your target audience properly.
With these said, it is noteworthy that Snapchat marketing trends are leaning towards the expansion of the platform as a space where businesses can thrive. In fact, the company has partnered with big brands like Ralph Lauren, the New York Times, and NYX Professional Makeup to launch AR advertising experiences targeted at their markets (Snap Inc., 2021), especially with the growing online shopping market due to COVID-19. Even the likes of Neil Patel have a Snapchat marketing guide.
So, we can expect that in the coming years, more and more businesses will start maximizing their use of Snapchat and other social media networks for advertising, marketing, and sales.
Snapchat is driving a lot of traffic. So much so that 2,083,333 snaps are sent per minute on a global scale (Omnicore, 2021), according to Snapchat statistics. In a similar report by Snap, Inc., it was revealed that more than 90% of the US Gen Z demographic watched shows and publisher content on the app in the last quarter of 2020 (Snap Inc., 2021). In addition, 34% of US teens named Snapchat as their favorite social media platform and garnered an engagement rate of 80% from that age group (CNBC, 2020).
The social media network may have drawn users with its quirky features. However, the reason why users stick around is that it continually evolves to provide them with appealing features.
For example, they recently deployed Snap Games. These games were made just for Snapchat users by Zynga and other big names in the mobile game industry, attracting over 100 million by 2020 (Snap Inc., 2020). They are accessible in-app, and users can chat with each other during gameplay.
Snap Originals is another big development for the company in 2019. In fact, it has attracted older users to the platform. As of the last quarter of 2020, users aged 35 and above increased by more than 30% year-on-year (Snap Inc., 2021).
Other remarkable developments include Snap Minis, the Camera Kit for brands, and the expanded Snap Kit, now integrating over 800 apps and receiving engagement from almost 150 million users monthly (Snap Inc., 2020).
With these new offerings, Snapchat is set to draw in more Gen Zers and Millennials. So, if your business shares the same target audience as this platform, it would be wise to study how you can use the app to your advantage. To reinforce your efforts, you can also invest in tools for social media management.
Source: AudienceProject 2020
As we mentioned earlier, Snapchat had a surge in new users this year because of their new filters and continuing efforts to develop the platform’s AR options. For instance, they released Snap 3D so that users can take multi-dimensional selfies and added an action bar for easier navigation (Snap Inc., 2020).
Despite these efforts, however, we expect the platform to face a lot of competition in the ephemeral market game. The disappearing content format was what made Snapchat a colossal hit. The problem is since Instagram copied that format, Snapchat’s hype died down. So much so that, according to Sproutsocial, the number of daily Instagram Story users has drastically outpaced the number of Snaps created (Sproutsocial, 2020). Putting this into numbers, Instagram’s 500 million Story users is far above Snapchat’s 265 million daily active users (Snapchat, 2021). Since the latest figure released by Instagram is two years old, the gap has certainly widened even further in 2020 given the platform’s 186.3 million new users (eMarketer, 2020).
Of course, that is not to say that Snapchat is completely falling behind. While this platform may no longer be as widely used as other networks, it is still one of the go-to’s for young social media users in the US. Plus, with recent reports saying Instagram is thinking of hiding “likes” from public profiles (MacPaw, 2020), it would be interesting to see how the platform will fare in the coming years. This can be huge for Snapchat; “likes” are used as a guide for a brand’s campaign success. If Instagram removes or hides “likes” completely, Snapchat might have a bigger user surge in 2021. If you’d like more information on this topic, check out our collection of Instagram trends.
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Snapchat Discover brings curated content to its users. Frequently, these are trendy and quirky content coming from popular producers such as Buzzfeed. However, in 2020, we saw Snapchat do something more socially aware. For starters, it formed a dedicated channel for the upcoming American presidential debates within the platform (Adweek, 2020).
They are working towards higher visibility for politicians on the platform. Recently, top-level candidates developed a Snapchat presence. The candidates use the app to engage the young audience. They can even use AR technology to raise money. As such, the platform turned into a high-tech battleground between former US President Donald Trump and current president Joe Biden (Bloomberg, 2020).
Partnering with Snapchat is a smart idea considering that a large percentage of its users in the US are of voting age (Statista, 2021). The platform was able to help over 400,000 users to register to vote in 2018 (New York Times, 2018), with the majority of these users aged 24 and under. Furthermore, Snapchat’s election coverage in 2020 drew nearly 30 million viewers (Snap Inc., 2021). Slowly but surely, politics is embracing modern technology. Developers can create apps to help engage more digital natives.
It seems putting more visibility on presidential candidates on Snapchat is but part of a bigger initiative. In 2020, Snapchat was aiming to host more news and political content. Snapchat has been investing in more political programming. That said, we can expect more of this type of content on the platform in the coming years.
An indicator of this is its political news show ‘Good Luck America.” The show was moved from a weekly to a daily schedule. The move came after they saw that their users are developing a regular habit of political news viewing. This is part of a steady change in its users’ tastes. A couple of years ago, Good Luck America grew its audience (Axios, 2017) by 45% in just two seasons. The following year, 10 million viewers tuned in to the show for its midterm election coverage.
With nearly 30 million Snapchatters who watched the app’s election coverage in 2020 (Snap Inc., 2021), Snap would likely bank on this trend further in the coming years.
Times may have changed, but Snapchat is still focusing on what brought it attention in the first place. When Snapchat came on to the scene a few years back, they did two things to make a mark. The first one is to introduce the ephemeral format or disappearing content. The other is a focus on AR filters, a precursor to today’s AR statistics. In a way, Snapchat revolutionized the way people create content and share them online — and it is doing it again.
To start with, Snapchat Lenses have been souped up with machine learning capabilities, allowing it to tailor its offerings in accordance with a Snapchatter’s usage history. It also tailored visual searches to accommodate the products sold by brand creators. The developments, along with 3D filters and other immersive content, led to more than 200 million users interacting with AR daily on the platform (Snap Inc., 2021).
What’s more, Snapchat continued to apply advancements to its Lens Studio to attract more AR creators. As such, there are now more than 1.5 million lenses developed by the app’s AR creator community (Snap Inc., 2021), with 90% of the Gen Z demographic engaging with AR in 2020.
With these said, Snapchat users can expect a lot of new content and filters in the near future. Consequently, businesses should learn how to make these new content if they want to stand out from their competition in 2021 and beyond.
Snapchat is poised to have a fantastic 2021. Despite many parties saying it is dead, it might just be finding its way back. After all, its growth over the past year has been pretty impressive, with a bit of help from the COVID-19 lockdowns.
However, only time will tell if it can maintain its hold on its current users. This demographic stronghold is what makes Snapchat valuable. Even with competitors like Instagram, Snapchat was still able to thrive.
Overall, the platform seems to be adjusting well. The integration of games and innovative filters really helped in 2020. The middle of the year saw a massive spike in new users given that most people were on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, we will see how the company’s efforts in political content and original programming will fare. The platform is moving with caution, but also with certainty.
The interesting thing with Snapchat is that it is the first “cool” application its core users have. That kind of sentiment can be a powerful asset. The challenge is to stay valuable or likable even as its target audience’s preferences change. This is especially true, considering that the young people of today drive the cultural trends of tomorrow. You can take a look at our list of Gen Z trends to see where it is headed in 2020. If the app can grow with the ever-changing demands of its audience, it has a good and steady future ahead.
In line with this, businesses should also make it a point to see how the platform is adapting to its target audience. By doing so, they can also improve the way they interact with their leads and existing customers on the network. Moreover, they can ensure a higher success rate for their marketing, advertising, and sales campaigns.
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