Social Media Wars: Snapchat launches new search functionality
They are fighting for your engagement and the right to bombard you with advertisements. These companies are looking for the next best social media platform where you'll spend the most time. At one point, it was MySpace which quickly gave way to Facebook. Instagram came out and gave people a way to express themselves through images. Once Facebook saw how valuable this was, they bought Instagram and continued to dominate the social media landscape.
We were living in a Facebook world until a simple feature resulted in explosive user growth for a new social media platform: The disappearing-message!
Snapchat started in 2011 but in six years has become a serious threat to Mark Zuckerberg's social media empire. They are such a threat that Facebook decided to copy everything that Snapchat does well and add it to all of their apps. You can now get the same functionality of Snapchat on WhatsApp, Instagram, and messenger but does it even really matter?
Engagement is dropping on Facebook as 18-24 year-olds have left it's platform in droves. Most of them have found comfort in the friendly, private and more exclusive confines of Snapchat. With a 160 million users, Snapchat is the home base for the demographic that big brands spend the most money trying to sway to make purchases. This live video platform allows people to express themselves, engage their friends and interact with the world quickly and creatively. If you don't believe that Snapchat is a serious player yet, they are the most searched app in the app store.
With Facebook and Google dominating the online advertising landscape, what's a company with only 160 million users going to do to compete?
Today, in a brilliant move, Snapchat added a machine learning search functionality to give people access to over one million stories! This boosts engagement by keeping people on their app longer. If you think a simple little search function, that's been around for 20 years, isn't a big deal let me explain the implications. This is a massive threat to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Twitter's efforts are to be the live newsfeed of the world. As stated by Jack Dorsey "You should expect Twitter to be as easy as looking out your window to see what's happening." What better way to do that than live HD video in the palm of your hand? While YouTube has live stream capabilities, no one is walking around live streaming their day on the platform. For Facebook, they have shown their hand by copying everything that Snapchat does and now Snapchat has one-upped them.
You can now search, in real-time, real world events and watch them unfold as they happen! This should, in theory, keep people who are already on SnapChat glued to their screen even longer. It should also be enough to entice people who aren't to at least give it a try. The disruption this causes for Twitter, where a lot of journalists and media companies spend their time, is huge!
It is a true window to the world. Imagine you're curious about a new cities nightlife. You can easily search for a local bar and potentially see if it's worth your time. Haven't tried that restaurant that everyone is raving about the can't miss atmosphere? Search it out on Snapchat to see if it's what you're looking for. For world travelers, you can search out tourist destinations in advance of even going and get a first-hand look of the vibe.
Of course, the most important thing this new feature does is create more opportunities for advertisers. Snapchat has notoriously gone after big money brands by focusing on quality instead of quantity. With a search function, it becomes even more attractive for publishers of all shapes and sizes to market themselves in more creative ways than ever before.