It’s earnings season, and the narratives coming out of financial reports from the big players—Facebook, Amazon, Google and so on—went really as expected. The biggest surprise or shift, however, was the recent success of Snap Inc. and the continued success of Twitter. The two platforms are, for now at least, starting to emerge from the shadow of the 800 and 900 pound gorillas in the room, the digital duopoly that is Facebook and Google.
Shifts in What They’re Trying to Be
Facebook has successfully set the bar for what advertising-driven digital platform success looks like. Scale. Scale. Scale, which Facebook has a lot of. Its global users are in the billions and its reach is massive. This is true for Google as well, and until very recently, this has the bar all other platforms have been judged by.
That’s where Snap Inc. and Twitter are starting to carve out a space for themselves. This was the second report in which Twitter reported daily monetizable users. It’s no longer reporting monthly users. That’s Facebook’s game. Twitter is instead sharing the number of users it has on a daily basis that advertisers are able to reach. It’s not saying it’s the platform to reach everyone, but it is saying it has an engaged user base ready for brands to speak to.
Snap Inc.’s power is in its focus. It now reaches 90% of U.S. teens. That’s a niche Facebook would do (and has done) almost anything to reach. So instead of trying to go after what Facebook has with a redesigned app like it did a couple years ago, Snap is doubling down on its strength. Its strength is in its focus. Its focus on younger users. Its focus on Lenses. Those are the strengths Snapchat has hitched itself to, and for the first time in awhile, it’s had financial success.
It’s somewhat refreshing to see the space mature in the sense that every platform isn’t vying to be something they never will be—a Facebook-sized behemoth. As marketers, we don’t need that. We need platforms with broad reach and platforms with specific focus. Twitter and Snap are starting to find that. They’re letting Facebook do its thing, and they’re finally doing theirs.