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4 Things Snapchat's Success Can Teach Us About Adoption

Snapchat first launched back in 2011 out of a fraternity with only a fraction of the functionality and the users. Today, Snapchat daily users roll deep with 58.6 million in the USA (that’s a 27.2 increase just this year!) and 150 million globally. I bet you didn’t realize you could learn so much from Snapchat - after all we’ve already covered “What Snapchat Can Teach Us About Learning” and 3 Reasons to Use Snapchat for Learning - but you can! What about adoption best practices? The adoption we’ve seen with Snapchat, especially for millennials, is envious and it begs the question - what are they doing right and how can we learn from it?

Here are 4 keys to adoption we can learn from Snapchat’s Success:

1. Adoption Starts with Adoption. Adoption Starts with Power Users.

FOMO (fear of missing out) is real. People like to participate in things that other people are participating in, especially today when technology is so ingrained into our lives that it can capture every moment and each person you’re spending time with. As this millennial pointed out, “your social circle has a lot to do with whether you use [Snapchat] or not. I also don't think my 20-year-old brother will ever use it because it's not his thing. But his friends also don't use it. So if his friends started to use it he would probably get it.” (1)


Whether you’re a millennial or not the FOMO is real, people. Everyone likes to feel social connection. So, if “Adoption Start with Adoption” how do you get the initial adoption to start the cycle?” You need power users. These are people that not only use the app, but they use it right, they use it often, and they tell their friends and family about it. They have a sphere of influence that will jump on board per their persuading.

If you’re launching new software at your company, you might seek out those power users and make them fall in love with that you’re doing so they can start the Adoption cycle.

2. Low Barrier + Low pressure = High Engagement

On Snapchat it is super easy to create content. “There’s no social pressure. No likes, no comments, just views that only you can see.” (2) As one millennial described the content on other rivaling social media sites, like Instragram, has more pressure since it is permanent and peer/socially-evaluated. “I used to post every photo on [Instagram] but now it’s different. I want to but I have to first take a couple of photos, pick the best quality one, put it through a white boarder app, maybe a filter (black & white? to match all my other photos) and if it will look clean on my profile, then okay.”

Also, “Snapchat is great because of the creativity it fosters...more often than not, people who use Snapchat let their freak flags fly. (So to speak.)” (3) And it's no wonder with how easy it is to post. When you’re about post a Instagram photo, you will feel this pressure. It’s a big event. And it takes time to get your photo perfected. When you’re adding a photo/video to your Snapchat story, it’s seamless. It’s so easy in fact that some say “the photo-sharing app has become a regular part of [their] life; I snap more than I text.” Talk about adoption!

3. Making it Fun Pays Off

Snapchat is a quirky social media site. With face-altering filters, easily added captions, and doodling functionality it’s easy to make laughable content. “Though each person expresses themselves differently on the platform, there’s a common reaction when viewing each message in your SnapChat inbox: [what the heck?!], followed by a laugh (3). Let’s face it, it’s fun to see what people are doing on Snapchat and what crazy filtering they have put on their selfie, their baby, or even their dog.

Find a way to make your system fun. Whether it's a competitive aspect, an interesting user experience, or flexibility they don't get on any other platform.

4. Fresh and Timely Content Wins

Because the content on Snapchat disappears, either after one view, or after 24 hours (a story), content is always fresh and timely, which means users come back to the app daily to see what’s new. Talk about an effective feedback loop! Yes, the content has to be intriguing enough to come back to the app every day, but if you can get that right, you are winning.

It's easy to poke fun at the newest social media platform, talk about how millennials are obsessed, and get a good giggle out of all the selfies out there. But if they are obsessed there is a reason and there is something to learn. Be sure to take a second to think about how the newest technology can translate into a win for your organization.

1.Why Millennials Use Snapchat

2.A 15 year-old explains why teens are obsessed with Snapchat and Instagram is over.

3.The reason why millennials love snapchat.

4.Snapchat User Growth Will See it Overtake Twitter and Pinterest by the End of 2016

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