Snapchat, everyone’s favorite sexting app, is blowing up - delivering more photos on Thanksgiving than juggernaut Instagram, inspiring Facebook to build a clone (Poke, released yesterday), and rumored to have raised a hefty $8MM led by Benchmark Capital.
So what’s the deal? Hint: it’s not the sexting.
Snapchat, may look like a toy but underneath the buzz is a beautifully designed app for personally connecting with friends. Here’s how:
When you share a photo on Instagram, you’re broadcasting to the world. When you share a photo or video on Snapchat, you’re sharing a moment with chosen friends. This is a much more personal experience.
Strong Social Engagement Loop
Snapchat’s social engagement loop is not unlike text messaging. When a photo/video is shared, the recipient(s) receives a push notification, bringing them back to the app with an implicit call-to-action to reply… and the loop continues.
As with text messaging, the loop (cycle time) is fast, increasing the momentum and number of shared moments. Relatively speaking, Instagram’s loop is slooowww.
Snapchat is the fastest way to share a moment.Snapchat is very intentionally designed to be as frictionless as possible. When you open the app, the camera is instantly activated and with a single tap, you’re snapping a pic. You don’t even need to dig through menus to take a video - simply hold the record button.
Combined with its low-friction UX, Snapchat reduces mental barriers. Not everything deserves permanents and whether users recognize this or not, permanents introduces friction when creating and sharing content.
Before sharing something on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. we often ask ourselves, “Is this good enough? What will people think of me?” Everything on Snapchat is temporary and exists for only a moment in time, reducing inhibition to share.
I’m impressed by what the (small) Snapchat team has accomplished. Despite what the critics say, they’ve created a fresh and effective way to personally share moments with others. Instagram is not the be-all, end-all - clearly there’s room for more innovation and different experiences.