Snapcode from SnapchatLast year, I wrote about my experience of getting to 500,000 public story views on Snapchat. While fully acknowledging that I am not Snap’s target demographic, it’s been interesting to watch the rise, dip and potential rise again of this company. This is a critical time for the social media platform, as new networks like TikTok are gaining a lot of steam globally, especially in higher ed.

Today, I write to let you know that earlier this summer, I crossed the million public story views milestone. On my Snapchat. I know, it’s nutty.

It’s strange to think people around the world have watched 40 days worth of my content. My content? It’s not terribly interesting. It’s a lot of food shots taken while I’m travelling and vinyl I’ve been listening to lately.

Snapchat Screenshot

Observations on a million Snapchat views

First, Snapchat isn’t dead. While it’s certainly not aimed at me and people my age, it’s still used heavily by its younger users. My oldest is nearly 18 years old, and most of the time his phone is open to Snapchat or Instagram. It’s a big communication tool for one to one and group chats.

Second, the analytics available to power users haven’t changed all the much. I wrote about Snap’s analytics tools when they first launched last year and the tool hasn’t evolved. The stats are still top level, and while they’re interesting (location, interest), they aren’t much more than superficial. There isn’t much in the way of actionable intel here to work with or make decisions with. Snap tells me I’m popular in Greater London as well as my public Snaps are 7x more popular than average amongst people who are fans of cricket. I dig cricket, but I’ve never posted a Snap or story about cricket. There’s a lot of room for improvement here.

Third, consistency is key when it comes to views. When I was posting regularly, often daily, I would get more views, often to the tune of 7-10k views per story.  I haven’t posted much this year, and that number hovers between one and two thousand views per post. If you want to grow your public views, post a lot and regularly.

Finally, Snap will still not give you a total number of views. Maybe if you’re a big brand that has a high ad spent, you can see those types of analytic data, but I can’t. I’d love to know how many people follow me, instead Snap just tells me who recent followers are. That’s disappointing.

I hope Snap rebounds and keeps adding new and interesting features. They certainly are doing great work around their lens and filters and just this week they announced a new version of their Spectacles wearable.

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.



TL/Dr; Yes.

I’ve written about how I’ve somehow managed to get followed by thousands of people I don’t know on Snapchat here. It’s true – my public snaps are viewed between 6 and 8 thousand times each. I’m not exactly sure why this is happening, but it gives me the opportunity to do some experiments with the platform that having a very small following wouldn’t allow.

One of the main things that’s been missing from public snaps is the ability to easily share a link or other call to action. Yes, you can type out a URL as text on a snap, but no user is going to do that. They want to click, or in Snap’s case, swipe up.

Snapchat recently added the ability to add a URL to a particular snap. This is huge for brands, who, to this point,  haven’t had a good way to drive users to any sort of landing page or other shopping/action page using Snapchat. This is a challenge Instagram continues to wrestle with.

Adding a URL for a snap is easy, though the caveat is you can’t have it open, at least that I could find, in a browser other than Snapchat’s built-in OS browser. You can’t, say, open your app or launch a new browser. The user does not have the opportunity to leave the Snapchat app.

My experience putting a URL in a snap

I wrote a post last week about being locked out of Facebook for a time. For the snap itself,  I took a photo of my Facebook page with a link to the blog post itself. It was posted it and I opened up Google Analytics’ live view and waited to see what happened.

In the spirit of honesty, the blog post didn’t exactly light the world on fire before I put it on Snapchat. It had a dozen views the first day (I should work on promoting posts better, lol.)

For the 24 hours my snap was live on my public story, I received a good deal of traffic. Here’s a graph from Google Analytics. Guess what day the snap was live.

Google Analytics Graph of page traffic generated by my Snapchat public story post

I will say that going from 12 pageviews to 310 is a pretty solid increase in engagement. When you consider the audience is mostly random strangers who do not share my interest in higher education marketing and technology, I think that’s pretty good. The bounce rate for the page tells a different story. It was 89% on Thursday, July 7, the day I posted the snap. Brands will hopefully get a bounce rate that’s much better since their fans are most likely not random strangers but people with a connection to the brand. 350 of the visitors were new to my site, and 4 had been there before. Thank you, returning users.

The traffic was constant during the first few hours of the snap going up. At times, there were 10 active users on the page. There were 19 at its maximum while I was monitoring it. Here an additional graph from stats:

Please don’t laugh at the small traffic this blog gets. 🙂

Going Forward

This is a good move by Snap to allow URLs.  Brands and users should point out to users the need to swipe up to view additional content until users become accustomed to that action.