With last month’s news of Vine closing its doors, short-form content platforms are battling for advertising dollars among a dwindling group.
Social media channels like Vine have ebbed and flowed as each new generation comes of age. For young Millennials and members of Generation Z (or iGen), Snapchat has been the shiny new toy. Snapchat and Twitter are based on a similar premise: Content can be shared between friends or publicly, and is limited by the platform. For Snapchat, photos and videos last for no more than 10 seconds, similar to how Twitter originally limited each post to 140 characters.
Who is winning the short-form content contest? It’s hard to decide on a conclusive winner, as Snapchat has only been around for half the time of Twitter, but it’s clear now that Snapchat is more than just a fad. The two platforms have made multiple changes to meet audience needs while still generating revenue. Highlighting key points about each platform sheds light on their successes and which one comes out on top.
As of right now, Twitter reigns supreme in ad revenue. Snapchat is quickly catching up, though. eMarketer projects that Snapchat’s ad revenue will hit $1 billion in 2017, and in early October, Snapchat’s IPO had an estimated value of $25 billion. The photo-ready app is well on its way to ruling social media’s ad revenue, if growth remains steady.
Snapchat has done an incredible job of integrating ads into their platform. Users can easily tap away ads that are irrelevant, view content that interests them and learn more simply by swiping. Though Twitter’s advertising platform has been around for much longer, it is not nearly as intuitive, and some users find odd ads on their feed if they fall into the habit of blocking posts they don’t want to see.
Twitter is well established in terms of usage by 25- to 35-year-olds—especially those in a professional setting that use tweets and hashtags to connect with others in the industry. Snapchat maintains a firm hold on Millennials and younger, captivating a coveted audience.
It’s important to remember that, just a few years ago, Twitter was the golden answer to reaching that younger group. While it still maintains a strong presence among adults, those that are just coming of age can be found on other platforms, like Snapchat.
In June, Bloomberg cited sources that claimed Snapchat’s daily active user count had grown to 150 million. Twitter tends to report in monthly users, but maintains an average of 140 million daily users.
Twitter has penetrated about 54 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds, while Snapchat has captured about 39 percent of that market. However, Snapchat’s average monthly minutes per visitor is nearly twice as much as Twitter’s. Snapchat has room for growth while Twitter is starting to fall behind, especially in comparison to Facebook and Instagram.
Both platforms offer image, video and text sharing. Snapchat retains slightly more privacy—the self-destructing messages are part of the appeal. Twitter, with fewer limitations, allows users to participate in public conversation about trending topics.
What’s unique about Snapchat is that it allows users to own more of the content they are sharing. It’s not retweeting a quote or an image, but adding a personal commentary to the ordinary through selfies, videos and filters. This presents a unique opportunity for brands to tailor content and make it more personal, too, which can boost loyalty and engagement.
Twitter and Snapchat have very specific audiences at the moment, which means advertising on one will not reach the same audience on another. However, if Twitter does not seriously invest in developments that will modernize the platform and improve the user experience, it will fall farther behind not just Snapchat, but other social networks. The time for Twitter to get trendy with its tech has arrived.