Snap has been having a tough time on the stock market of late with it being announced today that they had slipped below their IPO price of $17 to $16.95. Analysts cited the reason for downgrading Snap to a "sell" as concerns over slowing growth as well as an inability to monetise as quickly as previously indicated.
My theory is this. If Snap is to live this up to this expectation, then they need to move towards a more open platform.
This can be done in two ways. Firstly, Snapchat can increase users who might otherwise have never discovered Snapchat content by making it easier for content to be shared to and from the platform.
Secondly, by becoming a more open platform, as opposed to being a siloed platform it's easier for brands to involve it into its marketing mix as opposed to having to create a separate strategy for it.
This openness in the platform is something hinted at by the new Paperclip feature which enables all users to be able to link out to external sites.
As a Snapchat influencer company, Fanbytes looked at analytics and data to see how this move affected players in the Snap ecosystem. Below are the findings as well as what the results suggest about Snap's future plans in living up to its initial $20bn market cap.
How linking out used to work and how it works now
First some context as to why this feature is a big deal. Traditionally Snapchat was seen as a closed social network – the only way one was able to link out to external sites was using Custom Snapcodes which required people to screenshot and then scan the Snapcode in order to land on the campaign destination. A very cumbersome process. However, now anyone on the app can include a link to their snap which can then be accessed by their viewers by simply swiping up.
I’ve already seen a number of ecommerce companies use the feature to great effect creating 24-hour discount codes where all audiences had to do was swipe up to buy the product, or even giveaways where all one had to do was swipe up and share a product on Twitter – a process which through the swiping up feature took less than six seconds. This makes the previous 26 seconds it took to screenshot content and scan to seem laughably long.
Most publishers and media outlets on the social web treated Snapchat as a siloed separate audience because of its low discoverability.
Although the Paperclip feature doesn’t make the app inherently more discoverable, the feature provides a great way for publishers to now sync up Snapchat to their other Twitter or Instagram account. For example, enabling publishers to tease content on Snapchat whilst showing a longer version on Twitter which has a greater propensity to go viral.
Snapchat can now act as the ultimate "hype machine", teasing 10-second content for publishers then enabling users to swipe up to see fuller versions of the article or video on their main site.
Snapchat hasn’t historically been known for being cosy with influencers. From the lack of a follower count to the thorny issue of discoverability, there are still very marked differences between how influencers are treated on Snap versus how they are on Instagram for example.
This move, however, embraces influencers considerably as now influencers on Snapchat can now link out to both their own merchandise and products or that of brands. This rang true when looking at data we gathered among our Snapchat influencers with an increase of 30% in influencers promoting their own products – merchandise, extended content on YouTube – and an increase of 8% in influencers working with brands.
Why does this matter?
The Paperclip feature is a bold move by Snapchat in order to move toward being a more open platform. If they aim to be part of the traditional marketing mix and not the "separate platform" that marketers currently see them as, then it is important they make it as easy as possible to tie themselves to interface with other social networks.
This may be through making it easy for consumers to sync with other platforms or for businesses to transfer data from other social platforms to Snapchat. My prediction is that their next big move will be one to make better use of their data and its accessibility to brands and I wait to see what comes next. We could be seeing the birth of a new advertising powerhouse if this continues.
Timothy Armoo is the chief executive and founder of Fanbytes a company that helps brands on Snapchat.