Snapchat: TV’s New Best Friend

By Adam Flomenbaum 

This is a guest post written by Kimberlee Van Der Wall, a social TV expert who previously worked at GetGlue. 

Mark my words – Snapchat is going to be the big social TV platform of 2015.

While everyone debates “Twitter vs Facebook,” Snapchat is quietly taking a piece of the social TV pie. With approximately 100 million active users sharing up to 400 million photos a day, Snapchat is edging out Facebook. Over 70% of their users are female and under the age of 25 (aka millennials), a very hard demographic to reach in terms of TV viewers. With the shift in viewing habits, the struggle networks face is how to keep audiences engaged. TV networks have taken notice of Snapchat’s numbers and last year we saw just the tip of the iceberg.

HBO’s ‘Girls’ was one of the first to utilize the platform in January 2014 by offering fans exclusive content and used it again this year with premiere last week. Another highly popular show among Snapchat’s users, ABC Family’s ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ teamed up with Snapchat in June of last year by syncing content with the platform. And in August, MTV announced nominees for their Video Music Awards via Snapchat. After coming off a hot summer, Snapchat announced partnerships with Comedy Central, ESPN and other media outlets for their new ‘Discover’ feature in November. The deck was stacked.

Snapchat has been a successful social TV platform because it is a blend of what Facebook and Twitter has to offer: it is instantaneous like Twitter and has the sharing capabilities of Facebook. A teenager broke down his feelings about social networks in a recent Mic article comparing Facebook to an awkward family dinner. Millennials don’t want to share on the platform because their parents are there. Snapchat, he said, “is where we can really be ourselves while being attached to our social identity.” Important words that brands should pay attention to.

The key demographic ratings always focus on ages 18-34. Yet that audience is watching like never before. The challenge television shows face today is how to keep the scattered audience’s attention. How do you engage a viewer on social media who is watching your program 7 days later? They’re avoiding Facebook because of their parents and who wants to scroll through tweets from a week ago? Facebook and Twitter do offer major benefits but their downfalls are Snapchat’s strengths. So long as Snapchat can shake off the reputation they gained early on and be a company major networks want to collaborate with then they are a forced to be reckoned with. Then we’ll have to be debating “Facebook vs Twitter vs Snapchat.”

Please advise: Snapchat is not right for every network. (See brands using bae). Please use responsibly.