Here’s what Natalie Edwards, Marketing Director at sFBI, an Israel-based venture builder, has to say about it.
What Makes Snapchat So Popular
Snapchat will continue to grow and chat bots will rapidly explode. Snapchat just passed Twitter in daily active users and it’s likely their growth will continue as Snapchat jumps from early adopters to more mainstream users. More and more brands are focusing on video content and looking into creating campaigns specific to Snapchat — just look at all the Snapchat-branded QR codes that have replaced many brands’ profile photos.
As social media becomes more mature and the biggest have either completely monetized (Facebook) or become too noisy (Twitter), smart brands have realized that they need to find newer, growing platforms to see fast growth and Snapchat now fits the bill. The other facet of Snapchat that makes brands excited is that it caters to a younger demographic – that gives brands the satisfaction of knowing that they’re making investments for the future and not behind the times.
Users themselves are gravitating towards Snapchat as a sort of anti-Facebook. Snapchat is the opposite of noise and exhibitionism. Users like the ephemeralness of posts because it demands their full attention and they like that it’s casual and one-to-one. Snapchat understands this and they’re continuing to add new features–like video and audio calls–that don’t take away from their core value proposition. For brands, Snapchat is more of a challenge: brands need to create authentic content and either have the budget to advertise or have the patience and drive to promote their Snapchat account elsewhere (or both). Still, there’s a huge potential for brands to create strong connections with their users on Snapchat.
Where Chat Bots Come In
Chat bots have exploded even faster than Snapchat, which has been around since 2011 – at least in terms of media coverage. Facebook announced M, a Facebook Messenger virtual assistant, in 2015, and launched chatbots on the Messenger platform this April. As of May, Facebook said that 10,000+ developers were already building chatbots and the most useful and interesting are popping up: ordering flowers through 1-800-Flowers, seeing live stock quotes from the Wall Street Journal, getting medical advice from Healthtap. Of course, Facebook’s push is part of a strategy to take market share from Google and they’ve already taken the first-mover advantage. Google just announced it’s own strategy last month and, meanwhile, others have started or announced plans.
There are a few reasons for chat bots’ rapid growth:
1. The market is huge and it’s in place – 1.4B people used a messaging app in 2015 according to eMarketer and that number is expected to grow to 2B in 2018
2. The app ecosystem has matured and is increasingly competitive – most people only consistently use a few applications and reaching new users is expensive
3. Chat bots are easy to build – just check out tools like https://developer.pandorabots.com/
4. Chat bots give brands direct access to customers (and all of the accompanying info)
In a way, Snapchat and chatbots are both similar and at the opposite end of the spectrum: both rely on one-to-one communication and have the potential to build strong brand affinity, but while users find value on Snapchat and brands see huge potential for chatbots, it remains to be seen if the opposite is true too.