It’s been no secret that Facebook has been trying to dominate the chat and messenger market for years now. In fact, if an app or other site used for messaging becomes too popular, Facebook simply buys it and takes over — kind of like what Facebook did with Instagram. But what about Snapchat? Are they a threat to Facebook?
At one time, Facebook would not have looked twice at Snapchat. It was just an app used by teenagers to “sext” and send messages that they didn’t want their parents to find. The messages would disappear once they had been read. Facebook didn’t think twice about them. But should Facebook be worried? Snapchat is changing and growing and it’s no longer just for kids. Facebook should be paying attention, because Snapchat is looking to become more than just popular. Snapchat could just take over the messaging world — Facebook included!
The Snapchat Upgrade
At the end of March, Snapchat had a major upgrade that is making Facebook stand up and pay attention. The upgrade is called Chat 2.0 and has some interesting new features that compete with Facebook Messenger.
According to Vanity Fair, the Chat 2.0 upgrade,
…lets you make voice calls and send audio and video messages within Chat, and it has its own private video-call service, in which users can choose who they want to talk to and start shooting video. Each guest can chime in with his or her own audio or video response, or simply text back.
— Hootsuite (@hootsuite) March 31, 2016
Part of the update includes the addition of stickers in the messaging – kind of like Facebook, right?
— Buffer (@buffer) March 31, 2016
— Arely (@arelydasilva) March 29, 2016
Vanity Fair says that Snapchat has also bought the company Bitstrips, a Canadian app that became popular on Facebook.
Is Facebook concerned about Snapchat at all? Does Facebook consider Snapchat a threat? You might think that they do when you find out that there is a new feature on Facebook Messenger that is in the work called Secret Conversations. There are not specific details available yet but it will be interesting to see what Facebook has in mind because it does sound like it could be similar to Snapchat’s disappearing conversations feature that makes the app so popular!
Regarding the new Secret Conversations feature, Tech Times says, “At the same time, if it’s not a Snapchat-like trick, this Secret Conversations feature could refer to some extra-heavy encryption to keep your conversations safe and private, away from prying eyes.”
Snapchat is still growing and Facebook shouldn’t discount them as serious competition.
One of the big concerns that Facebook might have about Snapchat is (putting the user base aside) advertisers. Facebook has focused on advertising to draw in the big money but Snapchat has drawn businesses that can pay to get the attention of users in a more social way.
Business Insider gives an example of how Snapchat might be surpassing Facebook in terms of advertising:
A Gatorade ad on Snapchat in which people could pretend they took a Gatorade bath was viewed 160 million times on Super Bowl Sunday. Snapchat users weren’t targeted based on whether they’d watched football in the past or not. Instead, the ad was relevant in the context of the day’s events, given that the Super Bowl always ends with a water cooler being poured on the winning coach.
This is an advantage because they did not have to target people who like football or who like Gatorade, like Facebook advertisers would have to do. The topic was simply fun, interesting, and time sensitive. For Facebook, this means that they need to think about advertising in a different way if they want to compete with Snapchat.
At the time, Facebook still has more users than Snapchat and Facebook is still making more money but Snapchat is growing at a rapid pace. Advertisers and marketers are learning that Snapchat offers a much less intrusive way of reaching their fans than Facebook advertising currently offers. Potentially, this could mean trouble for Facebook.
What do you think? Will Snapchat beat Facebook if it comes to an all out battle between the two social media giants? Which do you use more? Facebook or Snapchat?
[Photo illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]