Has the gauntlet been thrown? And who’s picking the fight against social media supremacy, Snapchat or Facebook?
Last month Facebook announced the purchase of a famous face filtering app called Masquerade that allows you to change your face in a still image or video. This latest app acquired by Facebook mimics that of rival Snapchat’s app in more similar ways.
Snapchat sort of fought back by buying Bitstrips, the company that popularize the making of personalized emojis which it called Bitmojis at a reported acquisition cost of $100 million US dollars. Bitmojis first gained popularity due to, of all places, Facebook, Snapchat’s archrival, becoming a thriving business until its acquisition by Snapchat.
Lately, Snapchat introduced Snapchat’s Chat 2.0 upgrade which introduces many changes its messaging platform on a massive scale by seemingly taking the best features Facebook has and including proprietary features on top on those best features thus effectively changing the way people chat using Snapchat’s platform.
Snapchat’s move sends a clear-cut message to Facebook: The company that pioneered the now iconic disappearing photo app is not just something to observe with curios amusement but rather, it has grown its own fangs and morphed into a formidable threat against Facebook’s social media dominance vis-a-vis users and advertisers, and that both social media platforms are redefining the battle lines as both Facebook and Snapchat battle for supremacy to try to siphon those lucrative advertising dollars, bring in new users, and completely dominate each other.
Facebook vs. Snapchat: 3 Bouts of Fight
In this melodramatic, 3-rounds, 2-corner fight, here’s a glimpse how the rivals bouts are playing out:
Round 1. Catching the attention of app users. This round focuses on the two major front of Facebook and Snapchat’s battleground: messaging and video where both are fighting their battle for the coveted users’ attention.
Facebook undeniably remains the forerunner in dominating the messaging market with the innovative Messenger app which has long since became a standalone messaging platform and through Facebook’s acquisition of a similar app Whatsapp thus effectively growing its core social network share abroad and cementing Facebook’s presence in the everyday lives of users.
Continuously evolving, Facebook has introduced a lot of changes such as stickers; a very trendy feature that certain Asian messaging apps has capitalized on, messaging and call features, video chat, record audio notes and the ability to even contact Uber car or taxi using the messaging app.
Initially, Snapchat’s chat features are lackluster and nothing compared to what Facebook has to offer. Now, with the introduction of Snapchat’s Chat 2.0, aside from the proprietary disappearing message feature, Snapchat ingeniously added features that users can find in Facebook such as stickers, text, call, audio and video note recording and much more! Users can now even upload images into their message.
Messaging isn’t the only place the two battle for supremacy, though.
Another hotly contested service that both have is on video where Facebook and Snapchat claims to both have 8 billion views per day across the globe and across multiple devices. Snapchat more particularly brings to the forefront its iconic Live Stories which curates different videos of events worldwide which can be viewed for 24 hours and its innovative Discover section which brands and businesses use for their respective company’s videos.
This directly clashes with Facebook’s greater-than-ever ambitions to dominate videos which the social media giant has center-staged in its newsfeed. Facebook proactively responded to this mounting threat by Snapchat through the rolling-out of cutting-edge video innovations and prioritization of professionally created videos that users’ would view on their newsfeeds and putting greater emphasize on the newest live video streaming attributes that offer blow-by-blow, spontaneous feel that in a way mimics Snapchat that users love.
Round 2: Cashing-in on ad dollars. All in all both Facebook and Snapchat’s innovations and the changes they have introduced have two (2) certain common objectives:
1. Catch the attention of more users that will use and love their respective apps.
2. Draw those advertising dollars from brands and companies that use social media platforms to reach their respective target users and consumers.
Facebook’s online advertisement targets those dollar budgets that brands and businesses typically allocate to traditional media such as TV, magazines and newspapers with its recent emphasis on live video streaming thus enticing advertisers to invest and capitalize on the ever expanding social media power.
Snapchat has conventionally rejected targeted advertising that Facebook is more famous for. Accordingly, Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s CEO decried the current norm of digital advertisement industry’s practices, especially that of tracking users’ web activities, as something “creepy”.
As Facebook and Snapchat lock in combat in competing for those lucrative billions of dollars in online ads, there are already indicators that Snapchat might be relenting on its stand regarding targeting and demographic details of online users to online advertisers to give them a broad idea on who their ads are being shown to.
Why the shift? To give you a general idea, an article posted by Hootsuite, says that global spending on advertisement on social media will likely exceed $35.98 billion dollars in 2017, a 13 billion dollar increase in just two years. These figures would also mean that social media have consistently maintained steady growth of nearly $6 billion dollars every year. So who wouldn’t want a slice of the online advertising pie? Not Facebook and Snapchat!
Round 3. This round’s still unfolding as we speak. So who’s getting out-punched? No one’s sure just yet. Facebook for a time has tried snatching Snapchat for two times already which ended in failure. After the attempts, millions have been pumped by Facebook since 2012 to gain on Snapchat and its growing threat.
Facebook still has the upper-edge given that the social media giant has an average 1.04 billion daily active users (as of December 2015) compared to Snapchat’s 100 million daily users. However, Snapchat users are spending more and more time on the app averaging 25 to 30 minutes daily which is something that Facebook cannot totally ignore.
Facebook’s in frenzy catching up with Snapchat by introducing more and more innovations like the earlier mentioned Video Live Streaming and the reported soon-to-be-released Secret Conversations on Facebook’s Messenger. Possibly to protect the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg (or in this case, the billions of advertising dollars from brands and businesses).