RIP Snapchat, Instagram Reigns Supreme

Dear Snapchat,

New year, same old you.

I’ve come to the realization that some things will never change, and — to be honest — I’ve been spending a lot more time with someone else recently. It’s Instagram.

I’ve written to you in the past about how we could make things better, but that was two years ago and I feel like we’re growing apart more than ever.

What it comes down to is this: Instagram listens.

But there’s more…

You Won’t Open Up To Me

We could never see eye to eye on analytics. I put so much time and effort into creating content for your platform, yet I never really knew where I stood with you. I couldn’t even get you to tell me how many followers I had. Instagram does that for me.

In fact, Instagram does so much more. They tell me my follower count and that it breaks down as 39% men and 61% women, mostly from Fort Collins, Colorado. They tell me the specific types of engagements happening on my posts and which days of the week they occur most frequently. They’re open and honest.

We Have Different Goals

Honestly, I think we just want different things. And that’s okay — you do you.

You thrive as a platform for interpersonal communication. Friends talking to friends, sharing rich content back and forth — that’s valuable. And the community we built on your platform is a vibrant, engaged one. But an institution needs room to grow, and Instagram gives brands an opportunity to be discoverable.

I need the clickable hashtags and geotags, the powerful search function, and the intuitive user experience that I get from Instagram.

A Better Fit

Our strategy calls for user generated content. Content of the people, for the people, by the people.

You grew leaps and bounds in this realm, you really did. I could finally upload content from my camera roll and post it to my Snapchat Story. But the timestamped border and the poor image quality was never as good as it could have been.

CNBC reports Instagram reaching 800 million monthly users and 500 million daily users while the platform’s growth shows no signs of slowing down. The ability to share high quality content from our users with such a large audience is a better fit for our overall strategy.

Your News Got Leaked

The Daily Beast released an article a week ago titled “This is the Data Snapchat Doesn’t Want You to See.” The piece discusses the insane level of secrecy at Snapchat, going so far as to block access to the app at Snapchat’s own parties and events. This secrecy runs parallel to the lack of information regarding your data. The Daily Beast reviewed five months of confidential daily active user metrics and uncovered some very valuable findings:

  • In September, an average of only 19 million users checked Snap Maps daily (just 11% of the app’s total daily user base)
  • Cowen’s survey found that 96% of ad buyers would rather buy ads on Instagram over Snapchat
  • Users are 64% more likely to send a snap to a friend than to post to Stories
  • People are using Snapchat most often at parties (81%), home (81%), and restaurants (80%).

These usage behaviors are not the most conducive to an institutional strategy for engaging with users. All of this is not to say that Snapchat is no longer valuable. It is! And we still appreciate the community we have built on the platform, but we’re recognizing room for growth in areas that may pull time and resources away from a platform with a mission that does not bode well for higher education messaging. Snapchat users are influenced by small circles of influence, and we realize that we likely aren’t in that circle. We’re an institution, and with that title comes an element of distrust from Millennials and Generation Z. As social media does its thing (and by “thing,” I mean constantly change), we have no choice but to explore new avenues of success. Right now, it just so happens that Instagram’s avenue is looking pretty smooth.