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Deep Essay: Why Snapchat Loses to Facebook? How to win back?

via:博客园     time:2017/11/13 18:39:53     readed:748

Snapshots of Snap have not been cut since a bleak third quarter earnings release. Especially with its investment in Tencent and the redesigned product that will be available in December, people are curious about their future direction. Will it grow contrarian, or will it fall at the foot of Facebook? recently,An article published on ExponentsDetailed analysis of why Facebook will Snap into despair, and for the Snap put forward a strategy that may be able to counterattack. The article was compiled by 36 Krypton.


In the summer of 2016, Facebook finally found out how to beat Snapchat.

After the failed $ 3 billion acquisition of Snap and its four unsuccessful clones, Facebook finally succeeded in the showdown, successfully porting Snapchat's core features to Instagram.

The effectiveness of Facebook's new competitive strategy has surprised everyone, including obviously the CEO of Snap, and suffered heavy losses: in just a few months,Snap user growth fell off the cliff. Previously, Snap's user growth rate has been referred to as "Meteor".

After its success, Facebook did not waste time tagging Snapchat's "Stories" feature on every of its core apps: Messenger, WhatsApp and Facebook Mobile.

Less than a year later, at Facebook Developer Conference (F8), Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage and before starting to introduce Facebook's plans to rebuild the digital social experience on the camera, he took a high Feet cup drank very red liquid (metaphor for Snapchat's blood).

Of course, this is not what Zuckerberg meant, but Spiegel, but Zuckerberg's competitors did not have the time to distract themselves from who made it. As Zuckerberg in the first quarter of 2017 earnings conference call said:

I do think, for the moment, we are far ahead in technology. Creating an open platform is a big step forward. Many people are using our products. I hope we can stay ahead of this.

Who among us can accuse him? "Great artist theft," is not it?


Picasso claims: Outstanding artists learn from the great artists to steal. Banksy understands competitive strategy

Zuckerberg seems right, whether or not it's a great artist: Facebook has finally reversed the battle by shifting one of Snapchat's core functions to Instagram, leaving behind its biggest threat. For the first time, Snap is in a defensive position and is losing ground quickly.

Some commentatorsThis competition has been called "competition".

We have to ask ourselves: Will Snap be the next Twitter and try to make money all day long?

It looks like it may go that way. However, unlike most traditional views, I believe that a reversal does not necessarily mean the end of a war.

If there is a better competitive strategy, including some bold, agile, and miraculous moves, Snap may regain the initiative, turn Facebook's biggest advantage into the biggest weakness and give yourself a legitimate chance of winning .

Conceptually, Snap's strategy for success is simple, but that does not mean it's easy. However, before I share this strategy with you, let us first come back to have a clear understanding of the context of things.

Since 2012, Facebook has been working to eliminate the threat posed by Snapchat


Facebook's original competitive strategy for Snapchat included building a completely new network from scratch and then using it to take advantage of its tremendous advantage in distributing information flows.

Facebook's first attempt to create a new network and add dynamic news "strategy was" Poke ", a close-to-1: 1 Snapchat clone released by Facebook in December 2012.

At Poke's launch, Facebook's communications team decided to emphasize the fact that,Ie Mark & ​​middot; Zuckerberg himself, writing code and contributing code for this new application. Of course, the link to download Poke has remained at the top of Newsfeed for a long time.

Newsfeed has brought Poke enormous downloads and initial users. December 22, 2012, this application in the United States App Store store ranked first.

But retention and word-of-mouth are all frustrating. As of Dec. 26, four days after it debuted, Poke dropped to 34th in the rankings. The downward trend continues, and never stops.

With Poke, Facebook is like having VIP privileges in social applications. But what brings about a rollercoaster-like experience has just come to terms with the excitement of a sudden explosion of explosive growth, followed by a rapid but surprisingly steep decline. But the decline did not disappear, but directly hit a hard road.

Many social application developers have had this experience, but Facebook seldom realized.

So, after the first competitive strategy ended in failure, Facebook adopted Plan B: "If you can not beat it, buy it." & rdquo;

The strategy came into effect on Instagram with founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger accepting Zuckerberg's $ 1 billion bid. .

Then there's WhatsApp, which has created a massive network by offering free IP messaging services in Europe, Latin America and Africa. In these countries, it is far too expensive for telcos to charge for text messages.

Facebook provided $ 18 billion in funding and a board seat to eliminate the threat, Jan Koum readily agreed.

But it failed before Snapchat and Evan Spiegel, he did not hesitate to reject Facebook's $ 3 billion.

After Spiger rejected Zuckerberg, Facebook decided to try again "to build a new network from scratch and distribute it like crazy."

This time, Facebook does not directly copy Snapchat, but create and release new applications, with social networking, short-term sharing and video social networking capabilities.

In the first Facebook anti-Snapchat competition strategy, there are several products:

  • Slingshot, Facebook's novel, takes a brief messaging mechanism a few months after Poke was shut down and was shut down in December 2015.

  • Rooms is an anonymous chat room + group messaging application, dating back to early AOL's "Good Memories", which was shut down along with Slingshot.

  • Riff, Facebook tried a "collaboration to create and edit video" application. This was launched in the spring of 2015, but it was also shut down in December.

As this failed timeline shows, Facebook has long considered Snapchat a serious threat and has been frantically trying to find a way to fight it.

Next, let's see why Facebook did not achieve that goal for so long, and how it ultimately succeeded. But first and foremost, it's important to understand why Facebook is so scared.

Why Facebook's fear of Snapchat is entirely reasonable


First and foremost, Facebook's business model is to sell ads, turning the user's attention to the funds that it can control. And it's done pretty well in this area, especially in the mobile space.

As the picture above shows, more than 80% of Faceook's advertising revenue in 2016 was 8.81 billion U.S. dollars from mobile advertising.

Given the nature of Facebook's business, any product that takes the user's attention and time, especially on mobile devices, represents a serious threat.

But the threat posed by Snapchat is more than just time and attention. Things are far worse than this.

Potential deadly threats arise as more and more young people spend more time on Snapchat than on Facebook and Instagram, and it comes from what these young people do there: the exchange of record life moments Photos and videos.

The fact that Snapchat users share many moments of their lives on Snapchat instead of Facebook and Instagram is crucial to understand why Facebook considers Snapchat a major threat.

Facebook is well aware that the effectiveness of attentional realization and increased user usage time depends on the ability to gain access to a unique, compelling, ever-growing data set.

More specifically, Facebook has the advantage that people rely on it to communicate with people they know and use it to exchange personal information with friends and lovers.

Everything else, such as its position as a leading distributor of news, articles and targeted advertising, depends almost entirely on the personal moments people use Facebook to share each other.

Facebook is just an over-designed news reading application if you can not access a rich and growing user personal photo and video database (including weddings, parties, vacations and babies), where they go, and what events they attend.

As an over-designed media aggregator, it does not gain long-term advantages or sustainable profits.

However, though as early as 2012, Facebook understands that Snapchat represents a potentially deadly threat but it does not seem to be aware of the root cause of the threat, nor does it understand that it may be adopted for many years to come What action?

The problem seems to be that Facebook does not fundamentally understand the nature of a successful competitive strategy, which is what I will talk about in the next section:

The essence of a successful competitive strategy is condensed into seven simple steps

The nature of the competitive strategy is actually quite simple.

1, identify the threat.

2. Determine the true nature of the threat and the structural forces that create it and keep it going.

3, find out the unique advantages you can dominate.

4, Determine how best to use these advantages to cope with the threat.

5. Focus most of your resources on exploiting these advantages.

6, to promote, promote, promote, until the threat is out of balance.

7, when the threat appears again, maximize your power, knocked it down, if possible, exterminated.

Facebook has clearly spent some time between Steps 1 and 3 in its ongoing clash with Snap.

Facebook's efforts to create competitive applications show that Facebook clearly recognizes that Snap poses a real threat to its core business.

The company's attempt to promote Poke with Newsfeed is a sign that it understands the huge impact and addictive power of Newsfeed, giving it a tremendous and unique distribution advantage.

However, to form a winning competitive strategy, it is not enough to identify the threat alone and understand your unique core strengths. You also have to understand why threats become threats and how to use your unique core strengths against it.

From 2012 to the summer of 2016, Facebook does not seem to really understand why Snapchat is a threat or how to use its unique strengths against it.

Let's explore:

Why Snapchat can destroy the status of Facebook?


If you are a young person, meet any young person or used to be a young person, you may know that young people have extremely pressing needs for self-expression and social interaction.

Facebook and Instagram are two of the major social products when Snapchat appears, performing well in social interactions, but social interactions on Facebook and Instagram can be stressful as well, and you need to make yourself and your life look It is perfect.

After all, everything you post on Facebook or Instagram is always there, and your real friends, parents, grandparents, coworkers, future bosses, maybe go and see "Like or comment" Or just to see, do not point "Like" or comment.

But Snapchat made a completely different point: everything you publish there is fleeting. It does not have "public praise," comments, or other forms of product that generate social pressure.

You can share bad, stupid, awkward, and even objectionable photos and videos without worrying about losing your job or feeling bad about yourself because not enough people will see or like it.

Because of these things, Snapchat offers something that Facebook and Instagram can not do: young people express themselves on the Internet, not as self-consciously as they do.

The result?

With an eccentric design and an unobtrusive user experience, Snapchat pops up as wildly as a wildfire, with 150 million monthly active users, many of whom open several times a day.

Snapchat's mysterious user experience and less intuitive design habits have only accelerated its virality. Not the growth barrier in many populations.

Josh Elman, an investor with Greylock, is very insightful in growth.He named the concept "Shareable Design". As Ellman explained:

Shareable designs understand the deep social nature of how human beings learn and can harness the desires of people to learn and teach.

Snapchat did that because every seemingly insignificant feature was a chance for users to show their friends how to do something cool. Showing something cool to your friends can improve your social status or give you a good feeling. Anyway, this is all you want to do!

This is a good thing for Snapchat, because it transforms you into a product's preacher, and you do not even feel like you're evangelizing: you're just showing your friends how to do something smart.

However, despite multiple mistakes and failures early in Facebook, it has not stagnated. In the summer of 2016, it finally found the advantage of turning it around.

From the outside, it is not clear to us whether Facebook is finding this tactic simply by throwing it at the wall or whether it comes from a deeper competitive strategy. This does not matter.

Facebook finally found the right way to counter the threat of Snapchat with its unique core strengths.

This unexpected loophole let Facebook draw from the growth of Snapchat fuel

For four years, Facebook has been trying to capitalize on its tremendous financial and human resources strengths and its tremendous distribution benefits to create a network that will fully compete with Snapchat.

Despite spending more than four years, Facebook finally realized that fighting Snap on Snapchat's site was a failure strategy.

In the summer of 2016, Facebook did a clever thing: it realized that its greatest natural advantage was not distribution, but its huge network effect.

After all, Facebook has nearly 2 billion monthly active users and its network covers 25% of the population, compared to less than 66% for the Internet.

Instead of trying to create a new web with a whole new set of apps and a series of positive cross-promotions, Facebook has copied one of Snap's core features and pasted it into Instagram.

Stratchery's Ben Thompson wrote an article about his iconic, deep-seated "Facebook and monopoly costs"The article, he summed up quite well:

Instagram's differentiating element is not a function, but its network. By making Instagram's Stories exactly the same as Snapchat Stories, Facebook has narrowed down its competitors to users with more powerful networks, and it succeeded.

But it also works because the Stories feature is a natural complement to Instagram's core features.

Before Facebook put Stories on Instagram, Instagram's core mechanics revolved around rewards for users who upload the most compelling images and videos, with dopamine coming from "people" and comments.

On the other hand, the same mechanism will "punish" those who like and comment on the user, and will not attract them to like or comment.

For most of Instagram's core users, especially those in their teens and twenties, Snapchat is the source for personal social recognition (many like and comment ) Or rejected (no or few likes and comments).

As a result, Instagram has created the perfect picture, the perfect filter, the perfect and enviable life.

Unlike Instagram, Snap's momentum is not based on digital media verification, and making it safer for its core users to share more casual moments in their lives on Snapchat.

But when Facebook posted Snapchat's Stories feature on Instagram, Instagram killed two birds with an app: "Lightweight, stupid and spontaneous stuff can be streamed to Instagram's Stories while you You can also save the main elements of a well-organized and perfect life. & rdquo;

If you're in Snapchat's core user base, most of your friends already have an Instagram account, and often use these accounts, switching applications is easy. If you have not used Snapchat often yet, you do not have a compelling reason to start using Snapchat now.

Like the status updates, articles and images we share on Facebook and the videos and images we share on Instagram, the Stories feature is largely intended to share with you and your own.

Facebook's huge network (more than 10 times that of Snapchat) would be great when sharing with your audience (and your close friends).

Why Snap is unlikely to win the advertiser's war


Facebook / Instagram / WhatsApp, while attracting a large number of users, also gives Facebook a huge competitive advantage, giving it an unparalleled long-term advantage in its advertising budget wars.

Specifically, Facebook has a vast network of nearly 2 billion active users, with almost everyone using real names on Facebook. When you dock this network with some of the following data:

  • Sharing, likes, responses, comments, and location tags for active users.

  • In most parts of the network have created "Like" button.

  • It fromDatalogixAll purchased & quot; offline & quot; consumer behavior data.

You already have the most mature and powerful audience positioning ability in the world.

Snap seems to be scrambling to bet that he can find the daunting "brand spending" advantage in the shift from traditional television to the Internet.

However, although the company may have some success in the short term, in the long run, this will only be a failed bet.

Because, goodsThe trend of the card advertising industry is steadily tilting toward performance.

If Facebook's premium video playback is resolved, the trend toward brand advertising is not just about the bad news on TV. This is also bad news for Snap.

Although Snap's advertising platform does take advantage of off-line data from companies like Datalogix to help advertisers find their target audience, it's far less complicated than Facebook.

Most of Snapchat's native ad targeting is built around the concept of relocating, fairly basic demographics (age, gender, revenue, location) and what the brand advertising world calls "Affinity."

Snapchat repositioning is easy, and if it's as with most redirects, it can be very effective: if someone visits your site, or you have their email address and / or phone number, you can later on Snapchat Advertise.

The effectiveness of Snap's relatively limited demographics and its use of affinity-oriented approaches at this point are all the more obscure. For those who do not understand the situation, "Affinity" is essentially a version of the "World of Brand Advertising" that people who read or read may also like this "r & d".

On the television and print media, major brands are eager to use demographic and affinity research to choose what to advertise.

"Affinity" and "Population Positioning" Can explain why the vast majority of ads in Fashion magazine are high-end fashion brands designed for women, while daytime soap operas are ads for home cleaning products and debt consolidation services .

In Snapchat's version, "affinity" and "demographic" feature lets users create "male Los Angeles men over the age of 23 who interact with ESPN's football content on Snapchat".

Unlike Affinity's goal of "Offline," the Snapchat version ensures you pay for your target audience only, and you know how many of them are involved. But just like television and print media, targeted advertising based on meager demographics and "affinity" for some content is inherently less accurate.

While I'd love to prove it wrong, accurate ads often match well-designed messages that resonate with precise goals, often outgrowing inaccurate targeting ads for most products and services.

With that in mind, Facebook's precise targeting, its massive network reach and the brand features provided by the video will be hard to beat, whether it be traditional TV networks or Snap.

Indeed, while this is not impossible, it is hard to imagine how Snap can provide advertisers with a more attractive value proposition so they can be compared against measurable results.

How Snap can turn Facebook's tremendous strengths into its strengths and create an unparalleled advantage for yourself in just a few easy steps


When it comes to meeting our desire for personal identification, Snapchat's 178 million live user network will forever lose to Facebook's nearly 2 billion users.

Any feature that Snap creates is designed to give users an audience that makes them self-satisfied, which themselves are vulnerable to being cloned by Facebook. Taking into account the advantages of Facebook's network, Facebook's performance in this area will be better.

Similarly, for advertisers, Snap is also unable to compete with Facebook's tremendous influence, a choice based on micro and macro positioning, and its ability to provide an investment return to advertisers who know what they are doing.

We can easily see this and come to the conclusion that the competition is over. If Facebook still feels scared, then Snap should sell to Facebook for $ 3 billion, but it's too late, and Snap is doomed to fail.

But not so fast.

Indeed, Snap is unable to win in advertising, users and meeting human vanity. If Snap's executives refuse to accept this fact and keep trying, then it's likely to die.

But all this has not disappeared.

As we look at how Snap devised a competitive strategy that allowed it to regain the initiative from Facebook and reverse the situation, let's take a look at the seven steps in a successful competitive strategy:

1, identify the threat.

2. Determine the true nature of the threat and the structural forces that create it and keep it going.

3, find out the unique advantages you can dominate.

4, Determine how best to use these advantages to cope with the threat.

5. Focus most of your resources on exploiting these advantages.

6, to promote, promote, promote, until the threat is out of balance.

7, when the threat appears again, maximize your power, knocked it down, if possible, exterminated.

Snapchat's growth has almost stalled just after Facebook has copied and pasted everything, so so far Snap CEO Evan Spstudio and his management team are well aware of the threat.

This is the first step. But the other six steps?

It now appears that Snap's leadership understands exactly what is happening and why Facebook was able to lay down their growth rocket from the air.

Even more surprising is that despite Evan's mid-point Spygel's clear intuitive perception of the user's mind, is he able to use his instincts to illustrate effective competitive strategies in the face of Facebook's strong momentum of growth? It is not clear at all.

Because now it appears that Snap's strategy is to respond to Facebook attacks, to fight back. But things are like this: When you face a monster for a positive charge, you're killed by it.

So do not be frontal assault on this monster! Instead, you have to quickly leave its path, set a tripwire, and then lay down a beautiful spike as it stumbles, allowing it to fall.

In other words, it is to oppose the nature of this monster.

From a specific perspective, Snap can turn Facebook's biggest strengths into a huge loophole that positions itself directly opposed to Facebook's mightiness.

Here are these steps:

1, abandoning digital advertising, claiming that it respects the need for users to have a secure, private and secure place to express their personality, which made Snapchat successful from the start.

2. Recognizing that collecting user data to help them focus their attention on the advertisers who bid the most out of the box is directly contrary to Snap's mission. Snap's mission is to be the best, safest and most meaningful platform to express your true online identity.

3, to honor this promise, which will force Facebook back to defensive status. Show every piece of personal data that you own to users in a big way and allow them to delete any or all of their personal data in a single click.

4, Create, promote & quot; Stories & & quot; and other videos in a simple but engaging language detailing how Facebook + Instagram knows all the user's information and how they know it. Promote these videos anywhere, including YouTube and Facebook.

5. Finally, Snap is repositioned as "self-proclaimed" company, which respects the user's humanity. They do not dig out their interactions with friends, nor do they share what they share to gain insight into their emotions State, or adjust the algorithm to see how it affects their emotions or their perception of the world.

How to realize by self-expression without advertising?

Creating a new position as a self-expression company, Snap does not require any advertising or personal data mining and Snap can build its own entire commercial strategy to enable richer, more meaningful self-expression.

It can start as a one-time, small-ticket transaction by selling to users "a limited amount of" filters. Since then, it has been able to bundle custom filters into premium packages, or create "all the premium filters you can get" or "VIP-only filters" for subscription options, as well as Add other self-expression tools.

But here's the point: once Snap finishes with an initial commercialization, it can publish tools to create these filters for users by making a large number of unique custom filters.

If you want to be very interesting, you can create tools for beginners, these tools are very simple and require the use of the minimum skills. And to create more advanced tools, need to spend more time to learn. It lets users passionately create filters for themselves and share them with friends.

In addition, it allows them to sell their work in the markets they control, by convention, to 30%. Of course, the DIY filter is just the beginning, but also a well-known "easy-to-pick fruit".

Snap, after all, will now be a self-expression company where people have more to express themselves than their faces and even enhancements to those faces.

As it delves into the world of self-expression, it finds that its users have more to say than just their vanity and their need for approval. They also want to express their goodness, their vulnerability, their anxiety, their fears, their happiness, their sorrows.

The way they want to go is not just as an individual, but as a group. (Though this is just an assumption), maybe they are more willing to do these things than sell them to advertisers.


So, no, Snap, you can not beat Facebook in the case of narcissism, and you can not beat Facebook in superficial personal opinion. And you're unlikely to beat brand advertisers when they provide increasingly needed results.

So do not try. Instead, do nothing to hurt yourself and attack the opponent's ability to counterattack.

Show off the other side of Facebook: addicted users with the slot machine mechanism; own the user's personal data; intelligently and efficiently manipulate humanity; and digitize people to benefit advertisers and Facebook.

Give your users the tools to express their complete self without digging them for every salable part.

Maybe you will even find that you can do it better.

Compiled group produced. Edit: Hao Peng Cheng

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