Skip to content

Attention Metrics: User Engagement

Snapchat has a distinctive mix of user generated content, premium content and even augmented reality. And that’s just the beginning. Most platforms when the user goes in, there is a sense of what it feels like. And when the user goes into Snapchat, this is indeed what it feels like and perhaps it’s that sense of ownership that the users appreciate.

“Often, when you think of social media, the first thing that comes to mind is the feed. It’s algorithmic based. I have all these click-baity headlines,” relates Bhaskaran. “In Snap, you actually open up to the camera. And then if you want, you choose to go to the discover tab, which is where all of the content is. Some of it, yes, is user generated, but a lot of it is premium content, because Snap has a lot of partnerships. And we have our own shows as well. So you choose to then pick the content you want to watch, and continue watching. I think it gives users a sense of control and curation, if you will, in terms of what they want to watch, which I think a lot of them who use the platform appreciate.”

There is a user first context to the way Snapchat operates. It’s a philosophy that was intended when the app was designed.

“It’s all about connections and that was why the app was built,” says Bhaskaran. “And it’s not connection with the world, but it’s connection with close friends and family. That’s why it opens up the camera. You take a snap. And the first thing you do is you send it to a close network of family and friends. It’s not an app where you have thousands of followers. It’s just close people that you connect with. And then when you want to switch and have that element of entertainment and that’s when you’ll move on to the discover tab.”

Snapchat was also a pioneer in the early days of augmented reality (AR), a specialty that continues to this day.

“Just like any trend or product that comes out first, people were trying to figure out how to use AR. And Snapchat went all in. The first iterations of it were more geared towards entertainment. But slowly, you started to see the utility behind AR. And the Snap camera also in terms of all its features, then became pretty advanced, given all the investment that the company made behind that technology.”

Slowly, consumers began to leverage the AR function to try on different shades of lipstick or mascara or earrings. Then shoes. “And then you’re like, OK, how can we scan dimensions so I can upload a whole wardrobe from a retailer, and then you can try on different jackets. And then can I test drive a car which you can in this lens or gamification? So now it’s gotten so prevalent that the AR now lives outside the app,” she says.

The focus on AR has grown beyond Snap’s virtual walls. “We actually offer kits to companies so that they can embed this AR into their own asset, whether it’s their app or their store. We’ve done that with Puma. So if you go to their website or their app, the augmented reality is actually powered by Snap. We’re almost kind of democratizing the use of AR because technology has become so advanced that you can actually use it in place of the actual store visit,” says Bhaskaran.

In terms of lessons learned from the focus on technology, Snap has done a study about how AR is used in commerce, in particular on how it might impact returns.

Bhaskaran notes, “The statistic is something like 66% of consumers who use AR, say that it’s going to help reduce their returns. I think that has huge implications as a retailer and as a company managing returns. And I think from a societal perspective, it has huge implications on sustainability. I think COVID kind of accelerated that AR trend as well.”

Speaking of consumers, Snap is known for its heavy use by Generation Z. Just what make it so engaging to Gen Z?

“In the U.S., it’s about 90% of Gen Z has Snapchat. And I think Snapchat always captured Gen Z’s attention because it was all about that close connection. You’re not chasing likes and comments. And the ephemerality of the app as well. It doesn’t stay on to haunt you. You know, your post coming back ten years later.”

So Snapchat became an easy way to communicate with friends, and now it’s become an essential way to communicate with friends. And that, of course, ties into the camera that has the AR functions, then you have the content and the shows that you want to watch. “It almost becomes like an app that satisfies several purposes that Gen Z has,” she notes.

It also serves the purpose of serving advertisements. “We were one of the first platforms to actually introduce full screen vertical videos, because we were always a mobile only app, and only recently we launched our desktop version. We always felt that our ad loads full screen. It’s not like on the corner, it’s not half a screen in a feed that you scroll. So surely we are taking up more space on the phone. So we should have more attention.”

Bhaskaran notes that in the company’s research, it dug deeper into why users were giving it more attention. Was it the format? The platform? “We knew that consumers used it for that close network and to connect with family and friends. Does that put them in a more positive mind state to be more receptive to ads? And we decided to test that hypothesis last year, and it came out to be true. I expected our attention numbers to be good. I was not expecting them to be that good, like twice as much attention compared to other platforms. So I feel a lot has to do with the full screen format or AR, which is immersive.”

She adds, “It’s always about putting users first in terms of design and then everything else will follow. I think when we designed the app and thought about monetizing and looked at app formats, we wanted something that gives more control, just like everything else on the app, to the user.”

Contributor

  • Matt Kramer

    Matthew Kramer is the Digital Editor for All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has over 20 years of experience working in publishing and media companies, on a variety of business-to-business publications, websites and trade shows.

Related Content

 
 

More Related Content

artificial intelligence

Exploring User Community Perceptions of AI

Max Wartel, Director of Consumer Insights, Fandom, held an AI-related session at TMRE, which focused on the perceptions of AI in a user-generated comm…

media measurement

Getting Social to Measure User Engagement

Social media is changing in sometimes complex ways as featured content generated by users in a private capacity has often been supplemented and perhap…

media insights

Betting on Sports Consumer Engagement

In assessing the rise of sports streaming and betting, opportunities have come to light that might not have been considered five years ago. Content st…

media insights

Piecing Together the Attribution Puzzle

During the “Beyond Media Measurement” session of the Road to TMRE Gathering, Seth Adler discussed “Attribution” with guests Doug Healy, Senior Directo…

media measurement

Unlocking Blockchain for the Enterprise System

During the “Beyond Media Measurement” session of the Road to TMRE Gathering, Seth Adler discussed “Building Trust In The Media Ecosystem: What We’ve L…

consumer engagement

Taking New Approaches to Attention Metrics

All Things Insights recently held the Road to TMRE virtual Gathering, featuring three days packed with informative presentations to get insights profe…

consumer insights

Winning the Future of Fandom

All Things Insights’ Seth Adler recently connected with Christina Speck, former VP Corp. Strategy, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, at this y…

consumer

Zeroing in on DIY Research

All Things Insights’ Seth Adler recently connected with Bill Trovinger, Consumer Insights Dir., Pharmacy & Health, Albertson’s Companies. Adler and Tr…

consumer insights

Building Insights for the Home Consumer

All Things Insights’ Seth Adler recently caught up with Daniella Tsoncheva, Director Consumer Insights, The Home Depot. The retail market over the las…

actionable insights

Elusive Insights

Insights are being generated but in some cases are not being used. The first assumption is that these insights aren’t actionable. Which of course migh…

consumer trends

A Changing Consumer Shapes Media Evolution

All Things Insights’ Seth Adler caught up with Edwin Wong, SVP Insights & Innovation, Vox Media, at the Media Insights & Engagement Conference earlier…

media insights

Redefining the Home Experience

All Things Insights’ Seth Adler caught up with David Schliecker, Group VP, HGTV Insights and Strategy, Warner Bros. Discovery, at the Media Insights &…

television audience measurement

Measuring OTA Programming

Television audience measurement is on the precipice of innovation due to the opportunity to leverage data from set top boxes, smart TV’s, and other so…

streaming services

Fan Insights

Thanks to the advent of social media and streaming services, the world of television today looks nothing like it did a few decades ago. All industries…

live sports programming

Live Sports Insights

Programming across the board is looking to develop content that appeals to an audience that engages increasingly with user-generated content (UGC) and…

media insights

Content Marketing Insights

In the past decade, SVOD (Subscription Video-On-Demand) companies have revolutionized how we consume our favorite shows and discover new ones. As medi…

media insights

Media Behavioral Insights

Analytical minds will always benefit from more complete data from farther-reaching sources. Even more fundamentally, Pepe says the questions everyone…

media insights

Media Industry Insights

It’s not unreasonable to feel overwhelmed when faced with the size and scope of the continuous shifts in the television industry within the past few d…

media insights

Media Insights Report

The All Things Insights Media Insights community completed an extensive survey covering what folks are thinking, how they’re spending and the issues t…

media insights

Media Past Is Media Prologue

“Whatever the modern technology of the day, it was a force for disruption, it was a force for change, and it was a force for enchantment, joy, and lea…

media insights

Super Insights

Talking with Peter Leimbach, Senior Vice President, Ad Sales Research at FOX Sports, it’s clear that pro football teams aren’t the only ones competing…

entertainment

Streaming Insights

As 2022 continues, Chris Whitely, Senior Director of Product Management at Comcast, says that the big subscription-based streaming services have seen…

insights

20 Quotes On Risk, Truth, Wealth And More

Dan Runcie, Founder, Trapital sat down with Percy ‘Master P’ Miller at the most recent TMRE. The discussion focused on how Miller’s background provide…

data science

Measurement, Currency and Attribution

Keeping pace with innovation is always a challenge. The Media industry not only has to keep pace with that innovation, many players have offerings tha…

leadership

A Contemporary Insights Organization

We are in the process of experiencing the second paradigm shift of human behavior in just a three year period. For a prepared organization, this is a…