This week, Snapchat issued an official statement on its upcoming 2018 redesign, wherein the social media platform will separate the ‘social’ from the ‘media’. Snap users are going to see separation of content streams between left swipe and right swipe of the layout. On the left side, you’ll find content from ‘good friends’ which are people you know and brands/people who follow you back. On the right, you’ll continue to find Discover, where content from publishers, creators, and brands. They’ll also be focusing on including verified influencers in Discover as part of the update, adding new considerations to brand distribution. This is Snapchat’s most significant design shift since it first launched in 2011, proving Snap’s investment into evolving their platform as it aims to reinvigorate itself, both for users and advertisers.
So, what are the immediate implications for marketers?
Snap Just Sent A Clear Message: Get Ready To Pay
The movement of brand content out of the main feeds means that brands are no longer going to easily tap into the massive reach they’ve enjoyed as their content integrated nicely amongst users’ friends. The separation of the ‘social’ and ‘media’ is a clear message to brands that they’re going to have to pay to play, forcing themselves into the same category as Facebook, where you better pay up if you want to talk to your fans. Promoted stories will remain the same, where they show up between organic posts. This move is sure to drive additional ad revenue for Snap, who’s earnings last quarter fell short of expectations.
Community Management Just Became Way More Important
Snapchat’s decision to move brands to their own section is an attempt to separate and make user experience more ‘social’, unless the brand gives you a #followback. Brands have spent the past few years investing heavily into building a following on Snapchat, but very few brands made the effort to follow fans back. Now, brands are forced to look at their community management strategies and decide how to engage with their fans moving forward, for some this might mean following users back.
A Focus On Influencers: The Creationist Approach
As part of this redesign, Snapchat announced that verified influencers would be included in the Discover section – meaning influencers are incentivized into creating content on the platform by receiving extra reach and engagements as well as providing ways for these creators to monetize their content. Snapchat has hinted at their prioritizing creators on the platform and appear to be making good on their word. More importantly, Snapchat is smartly prioritizing their big name talent to create content to drive user growth.
So, what’s next?
It’s still early and there’s a lot of speculation but here’s what we’re watching out for:
- Organic: Track your reach metrics carefully. The average reach per snap may go down and begin to beg the question of ‘if the juice is worth the squeeze?’ when it comes to ongoing content creation.
- Community Management: Brands are going to have to look into their 1-to-1 approach if they can’t afford to spend ads at an ‘always on’ level. You may start to see a lot more people sliding into your brand’s DMs.
- Media: Brands should start thinking about their media spend on the platform, based on their organic KPIs. Snapchat may very quickly become a pay to play platform, even for the brands that have massive audiences.
- Influencers: Influencers are about to have a lot of added value components for their partnerships, especially in the next year as Snapchat makes good on using influencers to drive platform growth.