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Why Snapchat Is Dead: What Lies Ahead for the Silicon Valley Startup

Updated on April 18, 2017
Colin Wattonville profile image

Colin Wattonville is a business student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, with a background in marketing, entrepreneurship, & finance.

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First it was Instagram stories, which officially launched on August 2, 2016. Then it was Facebook Messenger “days.” Now, the latest Snapchat copycat is Facebook stories. Including the originator of this concept, there are now four different platforms that one can share temporary pictures with friends online. Although Snapchat was the first platform that pioneered this idea, they are quickly losing momentum as more and more competitors enter the marketplace. In fact, the Silicon valley startup has already seen a decline in growth since Instagram stories hit the market; it will be interesting to see the impact Facebook stories has on the startup! These new competitors also launched with all of the same features that Snapchat has, minus the company’s “Discover” feature, which we will get into later. These newer platforms come automatically populated with components that took Snapchat multiple years to incorporate. These components include photo-editing, the ability to write and draw on an image, both general and face filters, and the ability to send pictures directly to certain recipients instead of posting them to your story for everybody’s eyes to see.

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At this point, there is only one feature that Snapchat currently has that makes it somewhat unique from these new competitors that keep popping up. This is the one-of-a-kind Discover section that launched on the platform back in early 2015. The popular component boasts famous content creators, including Comedy Central, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Cosmopolitan, and many more. These organizations create new content that disappears every 24 hours, assuring their viewers fresh content every single day. This is different then, say, following the same companies on Facebook, Twitter, a blog, etc. because that content is not only permanent, but also gets posted less frequently. To be on the Discover tab of Snapchat, you need to be ready to post a LOT of content. When I say a lot, I mean it. The average story length on these posts are usually anywhere between 12-15 pieces of content, ranging from pictures, to articles, to emoji horoscopes, which all get deleted after a mere 24 hours.

So, this leads us to the most important question. Is Snapchat dead? Unfortunately, there is a two-part answer to this question. That is simply because there are two main pain parts to Snapchat. The first side is the social media-esque side that is the backbone of the platform. Taking pictures and either sending them to friends individually for them to view for up to ten seconds or posting them to your story for all friends to see for the next 24 hours. The second side of the app is the Discover side that was discussed earlier.


Here is why Snapchat will fail in the long-run.


Don’t get me wrong, the app will still be around for a very, VERY long time. However, the app as we currently know it will be gone in not too long. In a few years, when you hear Snapchat being mentioned, it will only be mentioned in the context of its Discover feature. Instagram stories and Facebook stories will overpower the same features on Snapchat in the next few years. When you want to send that cute guy a picture of you with dog ears on, you’ll turn to one of the latter platforms. Same with when you want to share the entire concert you are at with all of your friends for free, even though you paid $100 for the ticket. “Snapping” someone will still be a thing. In fact, I don’t predict that form of social media to go away anytime even remotely soon, if ever. After all, it is the closest thing we have online to a real face-to-face conversation (other than things like FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.). However, in the future, when you “snap” someone, you will end up doing so through either Facebook or Instagram.

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As I said above, Snapchat will still be around for a long time; however, it will experience a major pivot in the years to come. The company will put more time and energy into focusing on improving the Discover portion of the app. Snap Inc. has actually revolutionized the way we all consume news. As attention spans decline, sleek and convenient content becomes more of a necessity. Discover introduced the world to a new, quick, fun, and even interactive way to absorb information. That is exactly the potential of Discover. As they continue to focus on the way news reaches the mass population, particularly the younger population, Snap Inc. will see a huge increase in revenue, with a better and more direct way for advertisers to reach their target customers.

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It doesn’t stop there. Snapchat will ultimately become the new TV, and we are seeing the very first steps of that takeover right now! As of today, Snapchat currently has 39 different partners on its Discover section. I want you to think of those like channels on a television. If Snapchat partners up with cable providers or even gets an app on smart TVs and streaming devices, imagine the potential! Although certain parts of Snapchat are currently seeing some tough competition, the Discover portion is still a very unique concept. Discover, and whatever it evolves into, will be what allows Snapchat to stay ahead of its competition in the future. Allowing users to quickly capture and choose information that is relevant to them and even interact with some of that information (by making users swipe, tap, and screenshot), is going to be what Snap Inc. focuses on and what drives this Silicon Valley startup forward in the years to come.

What do you think? Will Facebook Stories and Instagram stories beat Snapchat?

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What do YOU think lies ahead for Snapchat? Will it completely fade away or find a way to adapt and change direction? Are Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories both just a big fad? Leave your predictions and comments down below!

© 2017 Colin Wattonville

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