I have a 14-year-old sister who is much cooler than I am. She is always giving me fashion advice, speaking a language with her friends that I can’t understand, and updating me on Taylor Swift’s latest romantic woes. My parents recently bought her a cell phone and since then, the only time she’s not on the device is when my mother forcibly removes it from her hands.
The last time we were together, I noticed she was—what appeared to be—conducting a photo shoot; snapping a stream of pictures on her phone featuring herself in various poses. When I asked her what she was doing, she responded “Snapchatting, duh”. I immediately Google-d what she was talking about.
Snapchat is an app that allows users to send messages or pictures to contacts that are only view-able for 10 brief seconds before disappearing. Over 60 million Snapchat messages are sent daily among the app’s 34 million users.
After the weekend with my sister, I started to notice my peers and members of Gen Y who seemed to be equally attached to their mobile devices, using similar platforms; whether it was a girl sitting next to me on the metro intently scrolling through her Instagram feed, watching someone send a “selfie”, or my friends pinning wish lists to their Pinterest boards. Instantaneous visual messaging from what I can tell, is a trend that’s here to stay.
Twitter earlier this year released its own video-creating platform, Vine. The app allows users to generate 6 second, looping videos (similar to .gifs) that will appear in Twitter and Facebook news feeds. Since launched in January, Vine has become one of the Top 100 most downloaded free apps.
These astounding numbers led me to think—how can we, as marketers, harness the power of visual, instantaneous messaging? How can we express our messages in a visual manner? And perhaps most importantly, how do we continue to stay relevant to a generation whose attention span is a 6 second video?