• The story of Snapchat – how the app grew into a social media sensation

    It would take you 10 years to view all the pictures shared on Snapchat in the past hour, according to the photo printing site Photoworld. For an app that was only started in 2011, that's remarkable. Snapchat doesn't look like it will be going anywhere soon either – both Facebook and Instagram are now copying elements of the Snapchat "stories" feature, while news has become one of the app's main features through its "Discover" section. 

    Nearly a third of Australians use Snapchat, according to the company's own statistics. That means it's something that Australian communication professionals need to be aware of. Here at Salt & Shein, we recognise the importance of staying on top of such developments. This means having an eye for which of the millions of new apps released every year are here to stay. With this in mind, we thought we'd take a look at how Snapchat managed to capture people's imaginations to become the global force it is today.

    Successful apps will capture young people's attention.Successful apps will capture young people's attention.

    An app for young people

    Around 45 per cent of Snapchat users are in the 18-24 age bracket, as reported by Business Insider Australia. This is a higher proportion than any other social media platform, and is one of the main reasons behind the app's success.

    Millennials are some of the biggest consumers of technology, and Snapchat shows that if you can capture them with an app, there are no limits with where you can go.

    In the moment

    It is the transience of the app that has captured young people's attention, according to a study by Cornell. Messages disappear after they've been read, so users don't have to worry about reputation management and image as much as with other social media platforms. This means users see it as more informal than other apps, and use it to interact with close friends and family, rather than with their wider network.

    The transient and visual nature of Snapchat is key to its success.The transient and visual nature of Snapchat is key to its success.


    Posts with images report a 650 per cent higher engagement than those without, according to Adobe. Young people are continuing this trend, with picture apps being much more popular among them than more text-based ones.

    One look at Snapchat's "Discover" feature shows they've nailed how to share news and insights while still remaining very visual, something many other social media platforms haven't managed to do yet – we live in a visual world, and new applications have to recognise that to be successful.

    Social media and apps are now a staple part of communication. This means it's essential to understand why certain ones succeed, so you can spot the next big thing and have your communication department invest in it. For more information on such trends, please visit our insights page

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