Snapchat: Millennials Who Live in the Moment

By Lelan Simpson

Lelan Simpson 2Snapchat is popular amongst younger millennials because engrained in our behavior is the notion that we always want to know what our friends are doing, and Snapchat lets you do that through pictures and videos. What makes Snapchat stand out is that you are seeing what your friends are doing instead of hearing about it. One of the best analogies was from a friend of mine, who said “it connects you to your friends in the ‘realest’ way…when you spend the day inside the house and don’t go out, you miss the day. If you don’t check your friends’ snapchats, its somewhat like not going out that day.”

When Snapchat was introduced in May of 2012, only 25 images were sent per second. However, by November 2012 users had already shared more than one billion photos on the IOS app alone, with 20 million photos shared per day. The usage for the 12- 24 age group has grown 11% since 2015. Meanwhile, Facebook usage decreased by 11% during the same period, according to Edison Research. Snapchat is currently at 26% while Facebook is barely ahead at 32% for social media brand used most often for the 12 to 24 age group.

To gauge why my friends like Snapchat so much, I went straight to Snapchat and asked through my story, “Why do you use snapchat and what makes it so popular?” One common answer was that the app is a substitute to texting while still being private. For example, when you meet someone, instead of giving out your phone number, you can give out your snapchat username. To break it down between the social platforms, another friend of mine responded, “Snapchat shows a whole days’ worth of content, Instagram provides just a moment in time, Twitter is comparable to a news channel and Facebook is relegated to family.”

Snapchat has developed a platform that allows users to continually update and post content. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Snapchat gives a time limit to content. When you post on your Snapchat “story,” it allows your photo or video to be visible to your own friends, which gives your friends the chance to take the journey with you. A story is similar to a news feed where one can post videos or photos that only last for 24 hours.

When I went to London, I took pictures and videos of historic landmarks like Big Ben and the London Eye. I posted those videos and pictures on my Snapchat story right after I took them. Adding a Geofilter shows users where you are in the world, whether it’s London or The University of Arizona. The Geofilter is a custom picture or set of words that shows up on your picture or video that tells users where you are.

As our world progresses, I predict your favorite technology will be interactive. From Artificial Intelligence on your phone (Siri) or your Apple Watch, interactive products and applications are the big thing now. Before Facebook and Instagram began to introduce their own versions of “stories,”, Snapchat was one of a kind.

If you sign into the Snapchat app right now, you will find 22 interactive filters.A filter superimposes a plethora of animated special effects onto the user’s face; it can range from transforming the person into a dog or giving the user a flower crown. You can use these filters by yourself or you can use them with a friend and upload them to your story. Also, what boosts the popularity of the filters is they are used by a lot of celebrities through their personal Snapchat stories.

Although Snapchat is a huge brand, it has evolved into a lifestyle. Spectacles, bitmojis, custom Geofilters and the newly released Snap Map allow users to connect through the app on a more personal level. For example, when you are heading out with a group of friends to an event and you look at the Snap Map, you might find some of your friends that are going to the same event.

Other Snapchat features include:
Snapchat Spectacles are a pair of sunglasses that sync right to your mobile device to capture photos or 10-second videos. Before you could buy them online, the only way to purchase them was through a customized Snapchat vending machine that would pop up around the nation. This created a craze for the spectacles and sometimes led to 5-hour waits in the cold for them.
Bitmoji allows you to create an avatar and customize the character for your account. You can then use the avatar all around Snapchat as an Emoji. You can send your Bitmoji as a message or even put them on an actual picture. This is popular for young millennials because your Bitmoji reflects your personality.
On-Demand Geofilters let you design a filter for your events like a birthday or a whole city block. The length can span from an hour or up to 90 days and the cost starts at $5.99 per use.
Snap Map is a feature that was just released that lets you see where your friends are and those who are at different events on a map. To put the map in perspective, I can click on an “event” at The Pyramids of Giza and then find the location of my friends. Whenever you log on to Snapchat, your location is updated, however, if you don’t want everyone to see where you are, you can change the setting to to allow only certain people to see it or no one at all. Different events pop up on the map and content is offered by Snapchat for differentevents. Millennials like it because now they won’t have F.O.M.O., or the Fear Of Missing Out. They know about important events and their friends’ location all in one app. Millennials always want to know what their friends are doing.

Snapchat is all about living in the moment. It is a growing brand, which reflects the lifestyle of the user . With over 100 million daily active users, it has captured the minds and hearts of young millennials. Since Snapchat was the first of its kind and introduces continuous interactive features, it’s here to stay.


Lelan Simpson is a Research Assistant at Kyrris Marketing. When he is not offering client insights, Lelan is at the University of Arizona working toward his degree in marketing & M.I.S.

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