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Snapchat Needs to Go Public Before Instagram Stories Kills It

With Snapchat leaking that the company is planning a quick initial public offering (IPO) at a $25 billion valuation, the real motivation for speeding up the deal may be the ability of Instagram Stories to grow to from scratch to 60 percent of Snapchat’s user base in just 10 weeks.

L&F Capital Management suggests that Snapchat’s current advantages are easily replicated, and that “Instagram will ultimately consolidate the teen user base.”

They see a Snapchat IPO as another one-trick-pony like GoPro, Fitbit and Shake Shack. All three had hot IPO’s and a big jump in price in the first few days of trading. But within a year, competition swooped in and the companies’ stock prices crumbled.

A recent Wishbone survey targeting 35,000 Snapchat users between the ages of 12 and 25 found the company’s primary competitive advantage is its filters. Geo filters and puppy dog faces are what the youth demographic currently wants for viral “fun.” But the survey also revealed that if Facebook had Snapchat-type filters, it would take market share from Snapchat’s 12 to 25-age demographic.

Facebook Instagram Stories launched on August 2, and already has 100 million daily active viewers, compared to Snapchat’s 150 million users after almost five years. A big part of Instagram Stories’ rapid adoption has probably been due to “immersion” within the 500 million users in Instagram’s ecosystem.

L&F is confident that Facebook can continue to grow its earnings by 30 percent compounded, because the falling “Cost per Engagement” for the Instagram and Facebook platform is a magnet for advertiser dollars and an impediment for other social media platforms.

Snapchat is the primary target in the Facebook’s app consolidation plans. By knocking off Snapchat’s core features, Facebook will strengthen its user base and take share in the youth demographic, where advertisers desperately want to increase engagement.

Snapchat currently has an advantage when it comes to private direct messaging, but that feature is easily imitated. Facebook is already testing a similar tool with Messenger. By enabling short-lived direct messaging text, photos and videos, Messenger would seem to be a huge threat to Snapchat’s value proposition to users.

Instagram Stories already addresses the public messaging components, and when combined with Facebook Messenger features, it could also offer the kid-targeted private component.

L&F believes that with all the hype around Snapchat, the stock price will undoubtedly jump after the IPO. But it also expects Snapchat to be “butchered” as reality sinks in that the company does not have “protectable” value.

Source: Bretbart, article by Chriss W. Street (http://www.breitbart.com/california/2016/10/09/snapchat-needs-go-public-instagram-stories-kills/)

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Most US Young Adults Watch Mobile Video on Facebook

Teens aren’t the only ones turning to YouTube to consume video content, young adults ages 18 to 20 are as well. According to June 2016 research, more than half of US young adults watch mobile video on the video-sharing site—and just as many view mobile video content on Facebook.

Social Media Platforms Used by US Young Adult* Mobile Video Viewers to View Mobile Video Content, June 2016 (% of respondents)

Native advertising software provider Sharethrough polled 300 US internet users ages 18 to 20, who were asked questions after being shown an autoplay in-feed native video ad.

Though a large share of respondents said they watched mobile video on Facebook and YouTube, nearly as many (50%) watched mobile video on Snapchat daily, and nearly half (42%) said they viewed mobile video content on Instagram every day. Twitter trailed behind with just 24% of young adults watching mobile video on that social platform each day.

Daily Time Spent Viewing Video Among Mobile Users* Worldwide, by Device/Channel, July 2015 (minutes and % of total)

Video habits are steadily moving to mobile. A survey from Millward Brown revealed that though time spent watching video on TV is still greater than on other devices, video habits are shifting, thanks in part to the proliferation of mobile devices entering the market, as well as growth of multiscreen usage.

According to the study, half of all video viewing happens on TV sets—split between live TV and on-demand TV. The other half comprises mainly mobile devices, which includes smartphones and tablets. Smartphones take the largest digital share, encompassing 22% of total daily time spent viewing video.

Source: eMarketer (https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Most-US-Young-Adults-Watch-Mobile-Video-on-Facebook-YouTube-Daily/1014553#sthash.wg5EmPZF.dpuf)

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Snapchat Unveils Video-Recording Sunglasses

Available in the fall for $130, they’ll record 10-second video clips.

Meet Snap, Inc., a Venice, Calif.-based startup that’s behind the popular ephemeral messaging app Snapchat.

Snap, Inc. is Snapchat’s new corporate name because the company now has a second product: A pair of sunglasses equipped with a video camera, marking its entry into the hardware business. The glasses record 10-second clips that are synced to the user’s smartphone so they can be shared via Snapchat, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Earlier on Friday, news site Business Insider published a video clip showcasing the sunglasses, which also displayed the company’s new name at the end.

The sunglasses, called Spectacles, will be available this fall for $129.99, in black, teal, and coral, according to the Journal. Its camera uses a 115-degree-angle lens and records video in a circular frame instead of the typical rectangle to make it more akin to the human wearer’s vantage point. This is no surprise considering that many Snapchat users document their day-to-day lives using the app’s Stories feature, a temporary collection of photos and videos.

The new glasses are reminiscent of Google Glass, the search giant’s short-lived connected eyewear product that was discontinued in early 2015 after it failed to catch on widely. Its failure was largely attributed to common concerns over privacy if a wearer filmed people without their consent.

Snapchat began in 2011 as an app for sharing photos and short videos that disappear after the recipient has viewed them, an answer to growing teenage anxiety about the permanence of online social networks potentially haunting them later in life. Since then, it has added a media hub to its app where users can read short news articles from publishers like People, Vice, and CNN. It also features Stories and Memories, an album for saving certain photos and videos users wants to keep.

Snapchat’s ambition of becoming more than a startup with a photo-sharing app has been clear for quite some time. It’s been fostering relationships with major publishers and expanding its advertising products in a clear bid to be a media company.

But there appears to be more. According to the Journal‘s interview with Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s co-founder and CEO, he thinks of Snapchat as a camera company. He draws comparisons to the histories of Kodak and Polaroid, whose cameras helped shape the trajectory photography took from people posing for photos in a studio, to carrying camera nearly everywhere.

Rumors that Snapchat was working on a wearable device began to emerge over the past year or so as the company quietly hired experts in hardware, eyewear, augmented reality, and other related areas. In June, Business Insider also reported that the sunglasses Spiegel was photographed wearing while on vacation a year prior were an early prototype of Spectacles.

Source: Fortune, article by Kia Kokalitcheva (http://fortune.com/2016/09/24/snapchat-video-sunglasses/)

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How to Use Instagram Stories to Market Your Brand

Instagram blew up recently with their new “stories” function. Besides openly ripping off Snapchat, the stories are pretty functional to grow your brand or your business.

Actually, I’ve enjoyed using them a little bit! They’re great because they offer additional exposure to your audience, and another way to connect. When you post a story, people can message you based on each post just like on Snapchat. This allows more interaction and engagement with your followers on Instagram!

Plus, I’ve noticed that I have more exposure on my stories than I may have otherwise on each post I create for Instagram! Instagram looks like they’re giving a little more runway and exposure to your audience via stories, so make sure you check it out!

I’ve been monitoring how people have been using stories, and it’s actually pretty similar to the way that they use Instagram. Even though the platform is similar to Snapchat, people use it differently. Rather than streaming your face (the way Snapchatters do), Instagram stories are about posting sweet pics through your day of beautiful things and environments. it’s kind of like a behind-the-scenes slide show. Not to mention, everything that’s posted is beautiful.

So the question rises, how do you use this to grow your business or brand?

Let me jump right in and give you some tips to use stories to create hype around you.

Give Your Followers Behind-the-Scenes Access

Much like a VIP at a club or a show, give your audience behind-the-scenes access. Show them what you do in your business or with your brand. If you have a product, show how it’s made or the production process. If you’re a photographer, show yourself choosing new pics to edit, or live on a shoot with a client. If you’re running an online business, show what you do through the day that only insiders would see! Show some secrets, create some mystery and give another dimension to your brand.

This can be done a variety of ways.
I would start with something on the first image that says “VIP ACCESS” or “INSIDER ACCESS” or something like this to intrigue. Then snap away! Try just posting pics with some text on top, a series of videos or explainers, or mix still and video. Remember to ask your followers to send you a message and connect with you too so you can start engaging even more with them and building relationships.

Show Your Day-to-Day… (if your life is cool!)

Allow me to preface this by saying that no one will be interested in seeing the day-to-day of a normal person’s life. The reason why they’re on social and watching your stories to begin with is because they’re using social as a tool to dream, and escape from the normal realities they face on a daily basis. Give them something to love and aspire to!

For example, I have a friend that is mostly normal all around, but she recently got invited to NY Fashion Week care of JCrew. JCrew invited her to NYC to take part in a stylized-fashion shoot specific for fashion week, and she was one of the new models (without any modeling experience or crazy amounts of Instagram followers!). She got to see all the behind the scenes for a JCrew art directed photo shoot, live with all the craziness that happens at these events. And she did it for 2 days.

This is an example of something that you’d want to show through Instagram stories as a day-to-day. Had she decided to broadcast the moments throughout the day (even more “boring” ones) her followers would have LOVED it! They’d see her modeling for a major fashion brand, eating lunch with the creative director and having someone do her hair and makeup.

Mostly they’d be able to place themselves in her shoes even for a few moments and say to themselves “maybe I can have that cool of a life too!”

I know… it sounds kind of vain, but I promise you that if your followers don’t WANT YOUR LIFE, that you won’t have a following. It’s just how it goes. It’s part of psychology. If your followers admire you, what you stand for, and the life you live, they’ll follow you and engage with you.

Alas, with all that… if you have cool stuff that you do on a day-to-day basis—show it! It’ll gain you street cred with your audience and build your brand.

Show a Curation of Your Day

I keep seeing these types of stories on Instagram, and they totally resonate with me so I’m sure they do with others too. Some of my favorite Instagrammers are posting a curation of their day on their stories through static photos.

For example, I’ll see something like 4-6 pics of coffeeshops and cool scenes in NYC throughout the day, or coffee-shop hopping in Los Angeles. They’re just a string of beautifully taken static shots to give you another type of Instagram gallery (within stories). Just with the story feature, they disappear in 24 hours creating more urgency to watch them!

Get Up Close and Personal: Do an AMA (Ask Me Anything)

Get to know your followers, and allow them to connect with you on a more personal basis. This is an opportunity for people to get up-close and personal with your brand. Of course this builds more brand awareness for you, and consequently will earn you more Instagram story views.

An “ask me anything” is where you announce to your followers that they can submit any questions, and that you’ll answer them on your story for the day. This is a terrific way to humanize your brand.

Create Giveaways in Your Stories

I love to do giveaways on my Instagram feed. I’ve found that announcing the giveaways every day on my story and telling people what’s in the giveaway and how to enter has been really great for engagement. They’ll go straight from my story to my gallery and comment on the giveaway post!

Source: Business to Community, article by Emelina Spinelli (http://www.business2community.com/instagram/use-instagram-stories-market-brand-01660434#ripsaZPzewLlj1bi.99)

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