By - Aaron
In early August Instagram introduced their newest feature Instagram Stories which as we all know is the newest in a long line of this style of media engagement. The accelerated growth in this medium’s acclaim is due to the app with the cute little ghost for a mascot.
This story begins in April of 2011 at Stanford University a product design student named Evan Spiegel floated an idea of a photo sharing app called “Picaboo” for his final project assignment. Five years and a name change later, Snapchat is worth roughly US$16billion.
So why do investors and advertisers continue to throw so much money at the app? It’s because of Snapchat’s demographic. According to Business Insider, an insane 71% of Snapchatters are between the age of 18-34. Furthermore an estimated 6 billion videos are viewed on the app each day.
With these stats in mind, the floodgates have opened for more video and picture sharing platforms to emerge.
VINE - Launched January 2013
Vine is a short form video sharing app that allows users to share six second looped videos. The primary sharers of this app are short form comedians and music enthusiasts with 8.333 videos being shared on the platform every minute. It’s no wonder Twitter jumped on board early and acquired Vine for US$30million before it even launched.
INSTAGRAM - Introduced Video June 2013
Already the worlds most popular picture sharing platform and owned by Facebook, Instagram introduced 3-15 second videos. The inclusion of video on Instagram came as a direct response to Vine’s popularity. The decision for a 15 second time limit was a very calculated one, although it wouldn’t be announced until much later. Facebook was aware that brands are used to promoting themselves in 15 second advertising blocks, making for an easy transition the Instagram advertising once it was available.
SNAPCHAT - Introduced My Story October 2013
My Story allowed users to share a collection of videos or a montage of photos to their followers rather than one specific user. Once the collection is shared it’s available to be viewed for a 24 hour time period before disappearing forever. This offered brands a far deeper engagement with their followers.
FACEBOOK - Introduced Auto-Play Video December 2013
With Snapchat, Vine and Instagram Video booming, Facebook believed they were missing a direct market share with fewer users uploading their video’s directly to Facebook. The Auto-Play feature’s main intention was to cut out the video sharing juggernaut, YouTube, making it a more attractive option to upload directly to Facebook. Since this inclusion and the ease of sharing on the network, Facebook has given YouTube a run for it’s money. So much so that in November of 2014 Facebook overtook YouTube in number of videos shared by brands.
SNAPCHAT - Introduced Our Story June 2014
Our Story was a crowdsourced collection of videos and pictures that related to s specific geographical area or event. Users could upload their videos or picture then Snapchat would compile them into stories for many different angles. These stories are seen by an estimated average of 20million users with popular events such as Coachella in April 2015 racking up 40million views in a 24 hour time period.
Introduced Suggested Video December 2014
Displeased with being knocked off the mantle of most videos shared and the increasing options at users disposal to upload, share and view videos, YouTube introduced suggested videos. Based on the video you just watched, YouTube will suggest another similar video (Usually with a pre-roll ad in between). This has proven very profitable in the mobile realm especially with the average viewer time up to 40 minutes a session.
MEERKAT - Launched February 2015, Re-Launched May 2015
With the increasing demand for current video from both viewers and sharers, one that was uploaded minutes ago was too late, The audience wanted it NOW! And that’s just what they got when Meerkat launched in February then spread like wildfire at SouthXSouthwest in March of 2015 gaining 150,000 users in just a few weeks. Users, for the first time could notify and stream live video to their Twitter and Facebook followers with little more than a 15 second delay. The apps fame was short lived when Twitter cut off Meerkat from their social graph meaning users were no longer able to notify their users when they were steaming.
PERISCOPE - Launched March 2015
Periscope, owned by Twitter, operates virtually the exact same as Meerkat (wonder why Twitter cut Meerkat off) it’s a live streaming app that lets your followers see what you’re seeing. You can also find and follow any Periscope camera in the world that is on right now. There is a unique element to Periscope that no other video sharing platform or app has had, the fact that it’s raw and real and now. There is no opportunity for the sharer to retake or edit what was just done or said making the audience feel more connected.
BLAB - Launched April 2015
Much like periscope and Meerkat, Blab is a live video streaming platform. The difference is, Blab opens a four way split screen that enables viewers to watch or be part of a four way topical conversation. For this reason alone, Blab has marketers talking over other video streaming platforms because it gives you an opportunity to talk to your audience and hear their response in real time.
FACEBOOK - Introduced Live August 2015
Again, our appetite for video and also our appetite for now has forced Facebook to make more changes to their feed. Another live video stream except this one is only for famous people. Like they always do, Facebook has noticed gaps in the market and adapted. With Facebook Live users don’t only get the experience of live streaming but once the stream is done the video stays in the news feed for users to re-watch and share with other users that may have missed it live. With the popularity of Facebook Live it was only a matter of months before they rolled it out for everybody.
BACK TO SNAPCHAT
So what has happened to Snapchat since the introduction of all of these other platforms and apps? Well in the last 12 months (August 2015 - Now) it has tripled its daily video views to 6 billion a day and 30million active users a month.
So with all of these other platforms attempting to steal some of the growing engagement from Snapchat, Instagram’s method was simple. DO EXACTLY THE SAME THING! They pulled the old “If you can’t beat ‘em, Join em’.” And why not, it’s a winning format and the audience loves it. The video train does not look to be stopping any time soon, and why would it? Online video’s revenue has jumped 42% in 2015 to US$7.5 billion in the US alone and is expected to rise to almost double that by 2019. Consumerism has arrived at a point where the consumer now has complete control of what they want to see and when they want to see it. Luckily, todays technology makes it possible for the marketers to meet this demand through the power of video.