Snapcode from SnapchatSnapchat certainly hasn’t been getting the press that Instagram and Facebook has lately. When Snap is covered, it’s been about falling stock prices. It’s about how they bungled their redesign and alienated users. It’s fair criticism. Snap didn’t do a great job communicating to users.  It’s had to roll back some of the design elements to appease users. It also seems they’ve lost ground on the stories feature to Instagram lately, which is a shame as Snap really pushed stories first.

I’ve written before about how I made my Snap stories public, and about Snapchat’s analytics tools they launched earlier this year. Since then, I’ve been randomly posting to my public feed. I haven’t had a plan or motive with my posts. In fact, it’s been mostly an afterthought in terms of my social usage this year. I’ve enjoyed the interactions and tools on Instagram (follow me here) over Snapchat, but I’ve got a much larger audience on Snapchat.

I was pleasantly surprised to see this weekend that my public story views went over the 500,000 mark. The fact that my stories have been viewed a half a million times is crazy. People around the world have spent over 33,200 minutes watching my stories. That’s over 550 hours. Crazy.

Snapchat Analytics

Screenshot of my public story analytics

Observations on half a million views

What have I learned from reaching this milestone?

First, Snapchat isn’t dead. Have they fallen behind Instagram, especially on the stories side? Yes. But all’s not lost. In watching what social platforms my 16-year-old son uses, his main method of communication and sharing is Snapchat.

Snapchat needs to catch up where it’s fallen behind on stories. It needs to integrate new features like Instagram’s “ask a question” story feature. I plan to write more about the “ask a question” feature, but Snap should get something like that into it’s story as soon as they can.

Second, as I dig into the analytic data, I see that people who do view my story view all of the story. On my days, my story view percentage is 100%, and rarely dips below 95%.

Keep in mind, these people are mostly strangers, so the fact they follow all my posts shows users on the platform are engaged and watch stories. I don’t know if brand stories with lots of ads get the same sort of engagement.

Even when go without a post for a week or so, the viewership is still there and the numbers are consistent.

Finally, Snapchat needs to give users a way to discover other users easier. Instagram does a good job of this, but Snap doesn’t. I know Snapchat’s core functionality is between two people, but if they want to grow they need better user and  brand account search features. Easier search means more viewers means more ad dollars.

Now that I’ve reached this milestone, I wonder how fast I can get to a million views? Will it be before the end of 2018? I’ll post again when I reach that mark.

Snapcode from SnapchatSnapchat’s been having a rough go of it lately. They’ve just rolled out a newly designed version of their app, to great disdain from its users. They’re unhappy and it’s not clear what long term effect the redesign will have on user growth and engagement. The good news, however, is that after years or waiting,  brands and creators finally have some analytics about their public stories.

I’ve written before about my Snapchat experience. Once I made my stories public, every time I open the app a hundred new people had added me. They aren’t people I know, so I’m not sure exactly how they found me. Regardless, my public snaps seem to get between 5 and 8 thousand views, without fail. The only metric I really didn’t know was a total number of overall followers.

That metric is less important for me, some random guy in Cleveland, Ohio. Where it’s important is for “influencers,” content creators, and especially brands. Those audiences were not seeing follower metrics and had to manually track story views by taking screenshots. Seriously – I’ve read stories about some of those influencers who had to be sure to be on their phone near the 24 hour expiry time to get that final tally of views. That’s not brand friendly.

Snapchat has been hearing this feedback for years, and yesterday finally launched some analytics information to users.

While that elusive follower count still isn’t there, there is some interesting data to dig into. Below are two screenshots of my analytics that I took this morning.

The top metrics they share are “story views” and “view time.” Story views gives you a breakdown of yearly, monthly, and weekly views. The other side shows view time, which shows the total number of minutes viewers spent watching a story. If my math is right, 151 hours have been spent watching my stories by people around the world this year.

The reach area there in the middle has three views, reach, average view time, and story view percentage. These stats are updated once a day.

The other interesting section is on demographics. Again, no hard count, but you can see the age ranges of your audience and on a second screen, drill down into their age groups and demographics. These demographics include interest categories and location info. I’m big in Paris, I guess.

You can click on one of the thumbnails for a few image.

This is a good start by Snapchat to gain the trust of brands and influencer users. With all the user uproar and threats of users to abandon the platform for Instagram, the company needs to ensure their key partners stay around.

As TechCrunch noted in their story on this, this new data can help both creators and advertisers:

A truck company might not care if a creator has 200,000 views a day, but if they can show those views come from men age 25-34 in the Midwest who like the outdoors, the business could pay $50,000 for the creator to feature their trucks in their Snaps.

If any brands out there want to hire me as an influencer to reach 25 to 34 year old users in Europe who are into world music and men’s lifestyle topics, hit me up.

in the end, this is a push for Snapchat to keep people creating on its platform. If brands are creating content, and they can now see how that content is reaching users, they will keep Snapchat in their social media mix. Good social content will then keep the users engaged and opening Snapchat several times a day. Snap can sell more ads, and the cycle continues. Perhaps this will push Instagram next to push better analytics for brands. We’ll see.