With Snapchat and Facebook betting big on original videos and content creators by introducing new tools and features, experts question over the two being actual competitors in the video space.
Video is the ‘BIG’ thing today, undoubtedly, and will be, given the volume at which it is getting produced each day by millions of online users. While video marketing has witnessed exponential growth in the advertising and marketing industry, we, the daily users do not miss an opportunity to take one and upload as one of our stories on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook.
With the rise in video, the most benefited is the content creator community as it is the one way they get their audiences engaged with top-notch content and make it popular online. Also, on the hindsight we can witness an intense race among the platforms housing these creators including the likes of Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. While Youtube and Instagram are considered the go-to platforms for video-making, Snapchat and Facebook have been recently introducing various tools and features to lure the content creators and launching original content.
In October this year, Snapchat launched ‘Snap Original’s -the debut of serialised Shows, including its first formal slate of scripted Shows and Docuseries. Building upon its successful vertical video content platform designed exclusively for mobile, Snap is aiming to move mobile TV forward with series from some of the industry’s biggest names, including Bunim/Murray Productions, the Duplass Brothers’ DBP Donut and Brad Weston’s Makeready, as well as established film and television writers. The makers also bought ‘Discover’ to India- tailor-made for the growing community of Indian Snapchatters, through partnerships with nearly a dozen media brands. Snapchat has offered local publisher content in India. Discover partners will create made-for-mobile Publisher Stories and TV-like Shows for Snapchat, across multiple genres.
Early this month, while addressing media at Facebook India’s debut ‘Creator day’ edition in the country, the company’s Head of Product for Video Paresh Rajwat said the biggest trend that Indian digital industry has witnesses in consumer behavior, is rapid growth in adoption of video and that video has become one of the biggest drivers of engagement growth on Facebook. Facebook Creator Day reinforced Facebook’s continual commitment to support the publishers and creator community in India, helping them grow and monetize their videos on the platform by introducing ad breaks and Brand Collabs Manager.
Facebook videos VS Snapchat videos
While both platforms imbibe their strengths and specifics, it is their race to attract more number of creators for boosting videos on the platform has become the talk of the town. A study also reveal that Facebook has been losing more of the younger lot to Snapchat due to easily accessible services. Meanwhile, Facebook has been gaining lot more popularity from the elder generation who keep themselves glued to the videos in their feed. Echoing similar views, Neil Athayde, Group Account Manager, Chimp&z Inc believes that both are not really competitive with each other as they cater to different objectives. Like on Snapchat videos are consumed over their discover section, while a similar section to the same on Facebook is Facebook Watch than Facebook Videos.
Throwing light on the demographics for each platform, Prateek N Kumar, CEO & Managing Director, NeoNiche shared that Facebook videos cater to a wide variety of audiences, while Snapchat Videos are youth-oriented as 60 per cent of its audience fall under the age group of 12-24 years. Snapchat videos have quirky decorating tools like emojis, bitmojis (personalized emojis), and stickers, apart from this, Snapchat also provides revenue generating tools like sponsored lenses, geo-filters and spectacles which helps it to monetize at the same time let the user customize the video. While Facebook videos either through FB Live or recorded ones are less customized in terms of visual appeal. Snapchat videos also hook the audience to check the platform frequently as there is a sense of fear of missing out (FOMO) as the videos disappear after 24 hours while FB videos are less addictive from this sense.
“A couple of years back, Snapchat was in a vantage position with teenagers. Its apps were wildly successful and made Facebookappear dated to the young audience. However, Facebook chose not to compete directly with Snapchat but made significant changes to Instagram to counter Snapchat’s threat. It worked brilliantly and Instagram slowly and steadily stole a march over Snapchat,” noted Vivek Bahl, Head – Social, Havas Media.
Meanwhile, Ankit Dhadda, Head of Marketing and Products, Bloomberg|Quint thinks that the YouTube ecosystem is by far the most robust for content creators. With multiple creators day and pitch to marquee brands like AMFI & Swiggy among others. YouTube has been the leader for monetising content. Facebook however is significantly improving its creators program in India with the recently conducted content day and introduction of ad-breaks, creators can now monetise video on Facebook in a meaningful way. The introduction of the brand collabs initiative, I do see a larger canvas for content creators to collaborate with brands on Facebook. Unfortunately Twitter and LinkedIn have been laggards when it comes to collaboration with content creators and monetisation.
Who leads the way?
“Facebook definitely has the lead on this front from Both a reach as well as a platform POV,” exclaimed Varun Duggirala, Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer, The Glitch. Both Snapchat and Facebook are playing catch up with the ecosystem that YouTube has built. Facebook’s deep integration of Facebook watch in its app as well as curation/creation of content that caters to a wider demographic is tipping the scales for its growth as a video consumption platform ( YouTube still has a massive head start). On the other side Snapchat’s head-start on what Duggirala likes to call “the millennial friendly video interface” is fast being taken over by Instagram . And with its series of “inspired” features as well as enhancement of its explore tab as well as instaTv have pushed it towards being the chosen platform for the very audience Snapchat prided itself on owning. So with that POV Facebook (with Instagram) is leap frogging ahead of snap in all forms.
Currently, active users on Snapchat are half that on Instagram. Snapchat turning its attention to India is now a little delayed since Instagram is way ahead in engagement with the same audience, feels Bahl. “Instagram has also introduced video content which Snapchat is currently showcasing in India. Once again, the battle is not between Snapchat and Facebook in India, but between Snapchat and Instagram”.
Getting into the specifics Kumar shared that Facebook has more than 1.6 billion monthly active users across different age groups, while Snapchat accounts for 100 million daily active users. Most of them range from the age group of 12-24 years. From a sheer numbers point of view, Facebook videos have the flexibility of creating variety and can be monetized better in future since it is available for mass consumption while Snapchat videos are more personalized and intended for specific groups thereby limiting both consumption and mass appeal for a larger set of demographics.
Muddassar Memon, VP-Operations, iProspect India too opined that both Facebook and Snapchat both have been a massive tool of audience engagement, in the recent times. However, the former holds the aces when it comes to content creation and the scale of it. With it becoming more pro-active by significantly upgrading its video segment. “Having said that, Snapchat too is growing and competing; but its reach is still limited to the youth in metros or major cities. Facebook will always be ‘the’ platform because of the humongous size and reach of it. Here, numbers tell the real story. Facebook, undoubtedly, has more potential considering the 2.27 billion active users per month as compared to just 301 million active users on Snapchat.”
Meanwhile, Dhadda firmed that Working in a cohesive manner is the future as both rely on each other. Also, he mentioned that Bloomberg|Quint has seen a large amount of success with it’s content service on WhatsApp and feels that if its replicated across media/creators one can see even higher amount of engagement and reach. Now, that’s some food for thought!