Instagram’s Stories may be stealing attention away from Snapchat’s original version for some users, but not for brands. At the same time as influencers’ Snapchat Story viewerships have reportedly declined, brands’ viewerships have increased, according to Snapchat-centric analytics firm Snaplytics.
“The number of views and the number of follows for the brands we’ve been looking at has increased over time,” said Snaplytics CEO Thomas Cilius. Of the 517 brands he is referring to, many joined Snapchat in the past year, so it’s natural for their follower counts to increase. But of the brands that have been on Snapchat for a while, Cilius said, “We don’t see even the slightest drop. It’s just increasing at a slower rate.”
In addition to more people following brands’ Snapchat accounts, more of those followers are not only checking out brands’ Snapchat Stories but are also watching them to completion.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, on average, 55 percent of the people who follow a brand on Snapchat viewed its Story, and 88 percent of those viewers watched the entire Story, according to Snaplytics’ survey of 517 brands that combined to post 217,000 snaps across 24,180 stories during the fourth quarter of 2016.
Brands don’t appear to have been negatively affected by two major factors that curtailed influencers’ Snapchat viewerships: the rise of Instagram Stories and the elimination of Snapchat’s auto advance feature. Instagram’s copycat product, which was introduced in August 2016, has already been adopted by 150 million people who view Stories in the Facebook-owned app every day, almost as many people as use Snapchat daily. And while in March 2016 Snapchat began automatically advancing people from one account’s Story into the next — like linear TV transitions from one show to the next, which can carry along some viewers — Snapchat did away with that feature in October 2016. Now that people have to manually pick out which Stories they want to watch, there are typically fewer people watching them across the board.
The average number of people viewing a Snapchat Story dropped by 40 percent between August 2016 and November 2016, according to social analytics firm Delmondo. Even celebrities were not immune to the decline. In that same period that starts with the introduction of Instagram Stories and ends a month after the auto advance elimination, some so-called influencers’ Snapchat viewerships shrank by 20 to 30 percent, according to TechCrunch.
But brands’ viewerships netted out positively. After Snapchat introduced the auto advance feature in March, the view counts and open rates for brands’ Stories increased by 20 percent on average, Cilius said. After auto advance was eliminated, those averages did decline, but only by 9 percent, which still works out to an overall increase, he said.
While the average completion rate for brands’ Stories hasn’t returned to its Q1 2016 level, when 93 percent of the people who opened a Story watched the whole thing, it is approaching the mark at 88 percent in Q4, after bottoming out at 84 percent in Q3. And the average open rate has already surpassed the Q1 mark, if only slightly. In Q4, 54.8 percent of brands’ followers typically checked out their Stories, compared to 54.7 percent in Q1.
Brands may owe part of their Snapchat success to the fact that they’re not posting to the point of annoyance. On average, brands posted a Story three times a week during Q4, and those Stories each typically spanned 11 snaps, 61 percent of which are videos.
Also helping matters, brands are becoming more sophisticated in how to get people to follow them on Snapchat. The majority of brands’ follows — 64 percent in Q4 — still come from people searching for the brand on Snapchat, but that share has dropped from Q1, when 79 percent of brands’ new followers came from Snapchat search. Brands are increasingly using their presences outside of Snapchat, such as their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, to push people to their Snapchat accounts. In Q4, 25 percent of brands’ new followers came from people scanning Snapchat’s QR code-like Snapcodes, and 9 percent from so-called “deeplinks,” or URLs that open up Snapchat and navigate to a brand’s profile page when clicked on from a mobile site or app.