Through simple research and talking to a handful of other higher education institutions and few brands, it seems Snapchat is on the decline. The majority of Snapchat users (Gen Z, Millennials) currently use it to simply chat, or interact with friends and are not using Stories, Snap Maps, or Discover. It’s part of the new dark social, like Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and WhatsApp. Advertisers and brands are not getting the engagement they need from Snapchat, we think… but there is now way to measure ROI for sure, so good luck finding useful metrics.
The absence and unawareness by Snapchat of analytics is unfortunate. Even with third-party tools like Snaplytics or Mish Guru (did you read the Snapchat terms of service?) it’s still just an estimate you’re looking at, because Snapchat has not given users, or brands, the data and analytics they need to make it a valuable marketing tool. With little scientific data to go on, it’s a complete guessing game.
Take Instagram. It’s constantly evolving (they just added GIFs this week). Unlike Snapchat, with Instagram you can search locations, follow and search hashtags, and you have the ability to view insights for your account, posts and stories created. Having these tools readily available helps brands and institutions understand how their content is performing — it’s what Snapchat desperately needs. The Daily Beast released an article a few days ago about the double serious secrecy at Snapchat Inc. After reviewing five months of confidential daily active user (DAU) metrics, the Daily Beast discovered that only 11 percent of the app’s total daily active users checked Snap Maps and in August 2017, users were 64 percent more likely to send snaps to friends rather than post to Stories.
I still love Snapchat. I love their geofilters, zany lenses, and goofy voice changers. It’s still fun to use, but if you’re a marketer, it can be very expensive to create your own custom filters and lenses, which is too bad, because I think that’s where Snapchat stands out against Instagram. Today, Snapchat’s app updated to remove the white border around each image not taken inside the app, making photos uploaded from the camera roll look cleaner. I was never a fan of the white border — it made the photo quality deteriorate a bit. Glad that’s fixed!
As a digital marketer, I still love using Snapchat and The University of New Hampshire has just over 5,000 followers, which isn’t bad, but the app is not made for engaging with our stakeholders as much as we once thought. We see an average of 2.7K views per snap and our Student Takeovers have performed well, but I just imagine how much better it would be on Instagram, where we have more than 21,000 followers and many ways to measure results. Instagram also has 800 monthly active users (MAU) and 500 million daily users. We need to fish where the fish are and that happens to be Instagram.
UNH Alumni takeovers on Instagram have been a great success, which I want to try and emulate on UofNH and UNH Students Instagram accounts. We will continue with the Snapchat Takeovers for the spring semester and once again re-evaluate post-commencement. Maybe Snapchat will surprise us with some amazing updates and we’ll be using it again in the fall? You never know. Stay tuned…