…But Is The Photo And Video Sharing Social Networking App Worth $10bn?
Research conducted by a New York based marketing company, Sumpto, that specifically aims to connect brands with students has released the results of a student survey, which shows that undergraduates are far more engaged with Snapchat than they are with Facebook.
The news comes despite the launch of Facebook’s own Slingshot messaging app, and will be considered a blow to the social network that would list students as one of its most important user groups. The survey also revealed that Facebook is deemed as offering the least privacy, but it isn’t all bad news as the majority of users said that they would pick Facebook over Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram if they could only choose a single service to be a member of.
A (Brief) Facebook History
Facebook was founded in 2004 and was geared specifically to Harvard students. Because Harvard University did not have its own Facebook, which is a publically accessible directory of student IDs and photos, Zuckerberg hacked the Harvard University computer network to find pictures.
Initially, the site offered pictures of two students and asked viewers to vote for who was the hottest. The site’s popularity meant that it was soon expanded to include other universities within the Boston area.
The Correlation Between Students And Facebook
Students, then, have always been an integral demographic in the network’s rise to fame. However, recent studies suggest that it may have outgrown its roots, and has been replaced as the go-to website for students from around the world. In its place, Snapchat has emerged as being the most popular choice. Users can take photos and videos, and then share them with select lists of friends and acquaintances.
While they may not have the same size user base as Facebook, a study conducted by marketing agency Sumpto shows that its student users use the app much more frequently than they do Facebook, although most would still choose Facebook over the photo messaging app if they were forced to choose a single service.
Tellingly, 70% of respondents to the survey said that they post to Snapchat at least once a day, whereas only 11% said that they posted with a similar frequency on Facebook. Twitter also stood some way ahead of Facebook, with 46% of respondents said that they Tweeted at least daily. Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, recorded 10% putting it just behind its owner social network.
On The Matter Of Security
Snapchat also came out on top when the undergraduates were questioned about security. When asked which social network they feel they have the most security on, 35% responded that it was Snapchat, with Twitter receiving the lowest number at 8%. When questioned which site offered the least privacy, Facebook was the most popular answer with 45% of respondents pointing to the network.
Facebook has tried to bridge the gap between it and Snapchat, by introducing Slingshot, which is more of a direct competitor to Snapchat than Facebook itself is. The Zuckerberg owned site can claim that they launched the app because studies show that 63% of Facebook users access the site on a mobile device at least once a day, but the reality is that they want to be considered cooler with a younger crowd, and a messaging app not only offers this but also attracts a more active group of users – the kind of user that will click ads and therefore help drive Facebook’s own ad revenue stream.
Facebook attempted to buy Snapchat at the end of 2013, offering $3bn in cash, and following the story breaking it was also reported that Google attempted to outbid the social network with a $4bn offer. Neither offer, or any other offer, was accepted, which is even more incredible when you consider that it doesn’t have advertisements on its site, and has no revenue to speak of.
Even more astonishing is the alleged report that Snapchat is in discussions with Alibaba for funding that would value the company at more than $10bn.
Numbers Do Not Necessarily Relate To Revenue
One of the relatively few areas where Facebook has struggled as a business, was turning its almost unbelievably large number of users into cold, hard currency, and there is nothing to say that Snapchat won’t suffer from similar problems.
Consider that Twitter still isn’t profitable, and Snapchat co-founders may find that converting all of the data that they apparently don’t hold into money may have been a lot easier with the backing of a company like Facebook or Google.