Why “old people” migrating to Snapchat won’t drive the teens away

Recent data shared by Wall Street Journal indicated that nearly 70% of smartphone users are on Snapchat! There has also been a rise in over 35s on the platform by 2% in the last 3 years.

Take the stats with a pinch of salt but the message is clear, Snapchat is gaining popularity and not just with teens. So, does this mean we are going to see a huge mass exodus from Snapchat by the younger generation? Is this, the “death of Snapchat”? For Christ sake no, of course it is not…

It is fair to say, that the platform won the hearts and minds of the teens (to 24s) and knocked Facebook off its perch as the preferred network. It is also fair to say that as soon as the “olds” joined Facebook cramping the teen’s style, it did drive them to look elsewhere. Snapchat’s makeup is very different to Facebook, and there are some key reasons why an influx of “old people” to the platform is not likely to drive the cool kids away:

Harder to be embarrassed by Mum & Dad

Unless the parents, weird Uncle or Grandma go on a tyrant on their own Snapchat profile which happens to get picked up by the peer group of the potentially embarrassed teen (possible, but relies on the teen following said parent or weird Uncle), then it is pretty hard on Snapchat to end up with a moment below:

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Source: Smosh

Essentially, it’s pretty dark

Much like the communication on messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, there is lots that goes behind closed doors, one-to-one or one-to-few. Of course, stories and huge with the platform but linked to the point above, there is no comment stream created and replies to stories tend to be sent directly back to the creator. Less room for embarrassment or damaging of street cred there.

Not a platform for mass debate

If the recent fall out from the Brexit vote was anything to go by, (when everybody suddenly realised they were, in fact, an expert politician) Facebook can be quite a bore. I am sure someone knows an “old” who has jumped in on someone’s Facebook post to put over their point of view or provoke an argument. Essentially, teens aren’t going to be exposed to “old people talking about old people shit” on Snapchat!

No links, no spam, less rubbish (kind of)

Between irrelevant status updates, sharing lost dogs, news articles, nostalgic or family photos or debates around topics that frankly no-one gives a monkeys about – you can understand why teens would run for the Snapchat hill. The introduction of Instant Articles to Facebook and the platform’s desire to be the only place on the internet is not going sit as nicely with teens. Not to say that teens care less about Tony Blair’s involvement in 2003 Iraq War than they do about how the on fleek their friend looks with the new Snapchat filter while throwing a duck face to camera, but…

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Critical mass & monetisation

Long, long way off yet! It was only really at nearing saturation point on Facebook (although, interestingly Facebook still gains 500,000 profiles a day globally) that we started to see signs of defection. According to stats from GWI, 7 in 10 Snapchatters also use Facebook Messenger. Another indicator that teens and the new generation are preferring the “darker side” of social.

From reports in earlier in 2016, we know that Snapchat is gearing up to come out with some big platform changes which will open the floodgates for advertisers, let’s see how that plays out and then revisit this conversation, yeah?

In the meantime, if I read one more sensationalist article such as “is this the death of Snapchat?” then I will get really angry…

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