Why Do Kids & Teens Love Snapchat?

SnapchatWhile Facebook has long maintained that the younger demographic is not losing interest in the most popular social network, the numbers from Q3 have forced Facebook executives to change their tune. Instead, data shows that kids and teens are rapidly adopting Snapchat as their top social network. Snapchat has quickly risen in popularity, and its similar trajectory to Instagram is causing investors to take notice. With a high value for Instagram’s worth and rising popularity amongst the younger crowd, Snapchat is sure to continue expanding in 2014.

The Appeal of the Ephemeral

While many believe that Snapchat is just an app that teens use to sext one another, this social network actually sees 350 million snaps, which refers to photos and videos sent through Snapchat, per day. If this number doesn’t shock you, compare it to the fact that Facebook also sees 350 million photos uploaded every day. So, why do kids and teens love Snapchat so much? Josh Constine at TechCrunch argues that the younger generation likes the fact that Snapchat is a more ephemeral social network. Instead of being posted permanently for everyone to see and judge, these photos and videos disappear after just 10 seconds.

When it comes to Facebook, Constine believes that kids and teens view this social network in the same way that adults view LinkedIn – a more professional space where they cannot necessarily be themselves. Furthermore, Constine wonders if Facebook is simply too overwhelming for the younger generation. While Snapchat is a single-function app, Facebook contains a wide range of options – photos, messaging, the News Feed, etc. Facebook is also an app that is associated with drama and cyberbullying, perhaps another reason that kids and teens are turning toward the ephemeral in Snapchat.

Is Snapchat Worth $4 Billion?

As Snapchat rises in popularity, investors continue raising its monetary worth. Reports show that this number is now between $3 billion and $4 billion, a hefty sum for an app that as of yet does not produce any revenue. Rather than basing this figure on actual numbers, this valuation is determined by the current market and the potential for the app to grow. Tencent, a media holding company from China, is currently considering a major investment in Snapchat. While this investment is a risk, analysts note that it is not without precedent – neither Instagram nor YouTube produced significant revenue prior to their sale to Facebook and Google.

Predictions for 2014

With its massive popularity amongst kids and teens and investors going wild with predictions, I believe that 2014 holds much to come for Snapchat. In line with the path that Instagram followed, it is likely that Snapchat will eventually be sold and have some sort of monetizing strategy implemented. The CEO of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel, has implied that in-app purchases may be a path for this.

CNN also notes that Snapchat has introduced a feature called Snapchat Stories, where snaps last 24 hours rather than the typical 10 seconds. This platform could potentially be used for advertising. If an advertising platform is added to Snapchat, it would obviously be ideal for brands that market toward kids and teens. For example, clothing retailers could send snaps that promote new products, or entertainment companies could use the Snapchat Stories feature to post video trailers for new TV shows, movies, and video games.
How would you market toward kids and teens on Snapchat?

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Elizabeth K

Elizabeth Kent is a recent graduate with an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University. She earned her B.A. from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in Jewish Studies. Elizabeth recently relocated from the Boston area back to Western Massachusetts, where she spends her free time volunteering with a local non-profit organization. Elizabeth has worked as a writing tutor, archival intern, research assistant, and retail associate. Her interests include studying pop culture, kittens, and making meals with as little cooking as possible.

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