How Snapchat is Shaping the Future of Mobile Video

There has been an explosion of short-form video viewing on mobile. In 2015, video viewing made up for half of total global mobile traffic according to the Ericsson Mobility Report. As YouTube stagnates and Facebook challenges YouTube’s traditional dominance, Snapchat is shaping what the future of mobile video looks like.

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There has been an increase in overall time spent on mobile. Coupled with the ease of on-demand viewing and the increased opportunity to consume mobile video content, video is becoming more mobile, not less.

The behemoth in the video space, YouTube, has lost its stranglehold on online video consumption. As video has become more mobile-first in consumption patterns, brand uploads to the platform have stagnated.

The main competitor to YouTube’s traditional dominance is Facebook. It has become the primary place brands and publishers upload video and for people to watch video. Unlike the stagnation on YouTube, Facebook saw upload growth of 350% in October 2015, according to Socialbakers.

How Snapchat is shaping the future of mobile video

Snapchat is not considered a direct competitor to either YouTube or Facebook but it is the company that is behind the sea-change in mobile video. The app is changing how users, brands and publishers use video to communicate, to convey news and information and cover live-events.

Mobile-Only Platform

Unlike Facebook and YouTube, Snapchat is a mobile-only platform with a rapidly growing audience. Monthly active users are estimated to be around 200 million. It’s also a platform most popular with millennials. 61% of US adults 18-22 and 40% of adults 23-28 are active users on the platform according to a recent BI Intelligence survey.

Share of US Millennials Who Use Snapchat Monthly

Snapchat has a mobile user base that eagerly consumes video. Although it’s user base is a less than a sixth of the size of Facebook’s, in November 2015, Facebook only received 33% more video views.

Communication Tool

Snapchat has an over-riding purpose for users. It is a communication tool. Fitting perfectly into fast-moving lives, it allows users to directly communicate without a data trail.  According to GlobalWebIndex, 55% of millennials ages 16-24 consider Snapchat as their messaging app of choice.

News and Entertainment Source

An exploration of the Snapchat Discover feature will impress any marketer. Video and photo consumption become a tactile experience, with swipes and taps to engage with the story. The Discover feature uses the same rules as direct communication. The stories disappear about 24 hours.

Brands who are not Discover partners are also seeing great engagement, albeit little data from their Snapchat audiences. Brand accounts on Snapchat are essentially regular user accounts. Users can follow brands like they can their friends. Brands post their updates to Snapchat Stories feed.

PIX11 News joined Snapchat in early 2015. We use the platform to give viewers exclusive weather reports and behind the scenes access to our morning show.

Live Events Coverage

Snapchat’s Live Events feature compiles user-generated and partner-generated videos into a single channel around breaking news and current events. Both Facebook and Twitter have launched live streaming capabilities in recent months, but neither rivals Snapchat in utility and engagement.