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Snapchat vs. Twitter- Who Will Last The Longest?

Here’s a fun game (depending on your definition of fun anyway): Google “is Snapchat dying” and “is Twitter dying.” You’ll get a lot of results, a lot of facts that may be startling if you’ve invested in either company, and a lot of predictions about the demise of two of the more popular social networks. I’m here today to throw my prediction of which network will last the longest into the mix.

The Case Against Snapchat

Remember when Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for three billion dollars and had their offer declined? That moment may have been the start of Snapchat’s downfall. Yes, Snapchat’s creators have made much more than that. Though their bank accounts may be much more impressive, the social channel has seen their innovation get mimicked (some may say copied) by Instagram, particularly the Stories feature. As a result, Snapchat’s user growth slowed by 82% in late 2016.

Not only does Snapchat have fewer active users than Twitter, but from an advertising perspective it’s never been the easiest when it comes to ad creation or cost. While they’ve made changes recently to make creating ads easier, they now face the hurdle that much of their defining demography has moved to Instagram.

Oh, they’re also bleeding cash. That’s rarely a good long-term strategy. As CNN reported: “The company reported a net loss of $2.2 billion (yes, with a “B”) for the quarter, due in large part to $2 billion in compensation costs tied to going public. Even without that one-time cost, however, Snap’s loss doubled from the same quarter a year earlier.”

The Case Against Twitter

Twitter may still be my preferred social network, but I’m certainly in the minority here at Ignite. Twitter still boasts over 300 million daily active users worldwide, they fell below 70 million daily active users in the United States. Many see the issues Twitter has with bots, trolls, harassment, and a lack of true conversation and have mostly left the platform. Many of these trolls and harassers pack together and can make the network an unwelcoming place. Where Twitter has taken a lot of heat for this (and why the rumored acquisition by Disney allegedly didn’t happen), they haven’t come up with a good solution.

Advertising on Twitter has been more established and widespread than on Snapchat, but they still don’t offer the breadth of targeting options that Facebook does. To make it easier for small businesses to advertise, Twitter rolled out a beta program this summer where they will auto-optimize based on one interest or location for $99 per month. We’ll have more on that soon, but right now, I’d be very surprised if it became a popular offer.

Perhaps above all, many users get annoyed with the echo chamber that Twitter often turns into. It often seems (and especially with the current political climate) that Twitter is almost exclusively a collection of people yelling into the void. That may be the toughest problem for them to tackle since unlike the bots and harassment, yelling isn’t a violation of any policy.

The Verdict

This may be my personal bias getting in the way of reason, but I truly think Twitter will be around longer than Snapchat. Warts and all, Twitter’s functionality is more unique than Snapchat’s. Twitter isn’t having their features mirrored by the competition (hi, Mastodon) at nearly the rate that Snapchat faces, and isn’t losing money at the same rate as Snapchat. I wouldn’t wager much money on this, but look for Snapchat to kick the bucket first.

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