The modern market of electronic and mobile applications knows quite a few examples of rapidly developing companies that have earned popularity among consumers in a short time. When it comes to instant messengers, special programs for sharing user data, it is not easy to imagine that any company can compete with those networks that already are widely-spread among the audience. Nevertheless, one such application that first appeared in 2011 was a real breakthrough in this field, and today it successfully competes with the world’s largest social networks. It is the Snapchat Company, which has gained considerable popularity and has become one of the most common platforms for the exchange of quick messages, photos, and videos. The success of this application consists of many reasons. Snapchat is gaining rapid popularity because it is the only program that protects its users from stealing private information and allows downloading and sending friends any entertainment content without any fear.
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History of the Company
The history of Snapchat began in 2011. At that time, the students of Stanford University Evan Spiegel, Bob Murphy, and Frank Reggie Brown decided to realize an unusual project in the course of their educational program and create an instant messenger whose messages could “burn” in ten seconds after reading. According to Vaynerchuk (2017), as it often happens, this catching idea arose due to the existing problem. Frank Brown mentioned in one of the conversations that it was his dream for the photos that he regularly sent to his friends to disappear after viewing. His colleague Spiegel, who heard Brown’s saying that, decided that the idea was rather worthy to be implemented. It is interesting that at first, the creators themselves did not realize how popular Snapchat would be, and they did not plan to create such a business. It is also interesting that the original title of the project was Picaboo (Vaynerchuk, 2017).
In the autumn of 2011, Spiegel and Murphy renamed Picaboo into Snapchat. Probably this rebranding played a significant role. In a couple of weeks, the audience of the messenger grew to a thousand users. A year later, the whole world knew about the company, and although some competitors tried to create similar or identical applications, Snapchat did not lose its positions. As Betters (2017) claims, today, the company’s audience is more than 100 million users, who send billions of messages every day. This success is entirely unexpected, especially for the creators who originally planned their application as a standard platform for information exchange. The only difference was that sent messages disappeared in a few seconds after they were viewed. Nevertheless, Snapchat has gained extremely high popularity. Today, this project is actively developing and cooperating with the largest world companies that invest money to develop the messenger.
Reasons for the Popularity of Snapchat
The success experienced by the application and its creators has several reasons. Marketers around the world evaluate the program as rapidly developing, and there are a few key criteria for this growth. Perhaps, many large companies and corporations in the sphere of IT technologies could use a similar strategy to promote their products, but they are unlikely to achieve the Snapchat’s success. Moreover, the project does not stand still; its creators regularly develop new features and options for their service.
The application aims at a young audience. This category of society actively uses gadgets and prefers to exchange not just text messages but also funny pictures, photos, selfies, and short videos. Judging by the experience of the most successful start-ups, it is this audience that can provide growth in the number of active users. According to Billings, Qiao, Conlin, and Nie (2017), the bulk of Snapchat users are the Millennials, that is, young people who were born at the turn of the two millennia. However, a significant number of adults also use the program as a service for entertainment. It is not uncommon for all members of a family to use the application’s features actively and regularly share hilarious content. It probably explains why this project is so popular.
Confidentiality when Using the Program
The fundamental and rather obvious reason for the popularity of Snapchat is the function of self-destructing messages. This feature makes the recipients carefully study the text or the photo because the message will not be available again. As Grieve (2017) notes, such an approach brings communication through Snapchat closer to ordinary and also gives particular protection against compromising evidence. Young people are using the service to send photos and videos that would never have been sent via a regular messenger. By exchanging photos, messages or videos with friends in Snapchat, no one has to worry about this information being stored on the phone, in an account, or somewhere on the network. The program is designed in such a way that a recipient can view a photo or video no more than 10 seconds, and after that, the content disappears. Probably, Snapchat would never have become so popular without the function of self-destruction of messages.
Convenient and Attractive Functionality
The program allows creating an individual story from separate snapshots (photos and videos used in the application), which can be seen not only by friends but also by those who are subscribed to a particular account. Such a story can be viewed unlimited times but only within a day. In twenty-four hours all the stories also disappear. According to Soffer (2016), it is this system that has become the most profitable and fruitful in the development of the start-up. It attracts the attention of sports channels, which broadcast various events through Snapchat, advertising networks that distribute their goods, as well as other large companies and corporations.
Furthermore, this functionality of the application is so attractive that some other popular social networks launched an identical service for their users. This innovation is prevalent among all people without exception. Nevertheless, Snapchat was the first platform that created such a feature, and its project has already proved its popularity and attractiveness. The dynamics of the application’s rating shows that an increasing number of users join it annually and appreciate the whole scope of the program’s possibilities.
Ample Opportunities for Advertising
The employees of Snapchat claim that their videos cause a significant emotional response, and the intention to make a purchase is doubled, unlike advertising on other platforms. There are two types of interaction with companies: advertising and creative partnership. As a part of the first one, the software for advertisers was launched, which made it possible to acquire ads, optimize, and analyze campaigns (Vaynerchuk, 2017). Creative partners are those who had experience in producing content for social networks and worked with the vertical video format that Snapchat uses today.
The attractiveness of Snapchat for the Media
As it was mentioned earlier, the Snapchat site is not only a successful social network but also an effective platform for advertising and promoting various goods and services. Many large corporations can place ads in this application. Of course, the developers allow partners to send exclusive content for money, and the cost of such a service is quite high, especially when it comes to large corporations and products known throughout the world. Nevertheless, many advertisers prefer to cooperate with Snapchat to many other social networks, and the application developers use it, improving a service promotion system.
History of Snaps
Snapchat increases the effectiveness of advertising targeting. For the first time, advertisers can redirect all the users of the messenger to specific products that are presented in the application. Also, as Betters (2017) remarks, the company allowed its partners to track customers’ visits to their businesses after demonstrating mobile advertising in Snapchat. Besides, the features of the service allow viewing the location of those who see various ads, and those who do not see them. The information includes demographic data: age, gender, and the region of residence.
Snap Discovery Option
In January of 2015, a distinct service appeared in Snapchat, which allows viewing the history of the editorial offices of modern media companies. This innovation is called Snap Discovery. Today, every user of the application can find the news of the largest media resources, and such functionality is quite attractive for advertisers. Besides, Snapchat provides partners with the opportunity to develop an individual lens that could attract the attention of a big number of users to a certain product. It means that different advertising brands can integrate into various functions of the application, for example, creating sponsor lenses for video clips or making particular geofilters for a simpler search for certain products (Grieve, 2017). For example, following a link from each snap in the main application menu, it is possible to get a full version of a particular article, adapted to the format of the social network. As a rule, many brands are familiar to the youth audience, and everyone can subscribe to the updates of a favorite publication.
Favorable Ground for the Development of the Brand
Perhaps, from an advertising point of view, Snapchat is suitable for increasing brand awareness. According to Billings et al. (2017), the number of proposals to purchase mobile content doubled after the emergence of advertising on Snapchat. Such a high percentage of success is because the application mainly employs those brands that know their audience well and find it in this youth social network. If a particular company is targeting a specific category of the population and content that interests it, Snapchat will become an almost indispensable tool for communicating with the public.
Another trend of modern advertising, which is used by the experts of Snapchat, is marketing through agents of influence. Popular bloggers, celebrities, and other web personalities actively use the application for almost round-the-clock communication with the audience. If potential clients meet some of these public users who are open to proposals for advertising, their channels can become a significantly efficient platform to develop and promote a particular product or service.
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Attempt to Steal Confidential Information
One of the situations that occurred in the company forced its management and employees to take care of more thorough protection of personal data. It is the case that happened in early 2016 and was associated with the theft of valuable information about the employees’ salaries and payment mechanisms (Zorabedian, 2016). This case caused a rather significant public resonance and aroused interest both among the media and ordinary users of the Snapchat application. Perhaps, this unpleasant incident troubled people because the system they had always trusted proved to be imperfect. If the company’s specialists had not timely reacted to the attempts of attackers to steal information, the damage would have been significant.
The fact is that on February 28, 2016, a man addressed the accounting department of the company on behalf of one of the founders of Snapchat with a request to give him the information about all payments of the service’s employees (Zorabedian, 2016). After the cyber-criminal got all the necessary data about the earnings of current and former workers, the specialists realized that it was a deliberate hacking attack. On assurances of the Snapchat management, the attacker did not receive valuable information about the personal data of the users of the application, thereby calming the audience. At the same time, the leaders of the organization apologized to all employees without exception, calling the incident a violation, and provided free two-year insurance for everyone in case of any possible theft of personal data. Perhaps, this measure is unnecessary; nevertheless, for such a big company as Snapshot, it is necessary to show that the owners take care of their colleagues and do everything possible to prevent such an unpleasant event from recurring.
However, even though all users of the application did not suffer from this attack, the company’s staff was still exposed to a particular risk. The stolen documents contained all the personal information of each Snapshot representative whose data was received by the hacker. It allowed this person to take advantage of this crime and use the valuable stolen documentation for fraud. This case is a rather vivid example of the fact that there is no limit to perfection, and the company should take care to protect itself and its employees from possible precedents and prevent the leakage of data.
Thus, Snapchat is one of the most successful instant messengers, which provides data protection to its users and is developing rapidly even in the face of quite intense competition from other social networks. The company closely cooperates with partners in various fields, which allows it to increase popularity among the population and at the same time opens up opportunities for business and advertising to different sales representatives. The emergence of partner programs significantly increased the profit of the service and made it possible to cooperate in a variety of industries. The possibility of posting partner information is a natural attempt to find additional investors and attract users’ attention to the application. The case of 2016, related to the theft of data, is the only crime with such consequences that led to the abduction of information about the salaries of the Snapchat workers. Additional protection and employee insurance is an advantageous measure to prevent similar situations in the future.
Betters, E. (2017). What’s the point of Snapchat and how does it work? Web.
Billings, A. C., Qiao, F., Conlin, L., & Nie, T. (2017). Permanently desiring the temporary? Snapchat, social media, and the shifting motivations of sports fans. Communication & Sport, 5(1), 10-26.
Grieve, R. (2017). Unpacking the characteristics of Snapchat users: A preliminary investigation and an agenda for future research. Computers in Human Behavior, 74, 130-138.
Soffer, O. (2016). The oral paradigm and Snapchat. Social Media + Society, 2(3), 1-4.
Vaynerchuk, G. (2017). The snap generation: A guide to Snapchat’s history [Blog post]. Web.
Zorabedian, J. (2016). Snapchat snared by phishers impersonating CEO, employee data swiped [Blog post]. Web.