Image Sharing Platforms: More than Just a Place to Share Selfies

June 9, 2016

Image Sharing Platforms: More than Just a Place to Share Selfies Photo

This week’s chart is from a Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers presentation on internet trends made on June 1, 2016 at the Code Conference. What struck me was the growth in video and image sharing platforms and how important they are becoming to traditional business models. It was not that long ago that most person-to-person communication took place via voice (phone), email or text message. In recent years, however, much of this communication has evolved – increasingly incorporating images and video.

The sharing of images on social networking sites has exploded, depicted in the chart above. This trend has not gone unnoticed by consumer brands, who are embracing all aspects of social media sharing in unique ways. Businesses are already looking at how generation Z (ages 1-20) prefers to communicate with images in order to position themselves for this trend. The ability to reach a mass audience through these relatively new channels is becoming increasingly important. For example, Gatorade’s Super Bowl Snapchat lens had 165 million views (more than the 115 million that watched the Super Bowl) and Taco Bell’s Cinco de Mayo Snapchat lens had 224 million views in a single day. Snapchat lenses allow you to add real time special effects to pictures and video. The same is true for video, where consumption continues to evolve and grow (Netflix, Snapchat Stories, Periscope etc.). Candace Payne’s video in a Chewbacca mask went viral, helping to move the Kohl’s app into the top spot in the U.S. Apple app store. What’s more, the NFL will begin broadcasting games on Twitter this season, which will enable viewers to interact live.

Increasingly, people look to sites like Instagram and Snapchat not only to share with friends but also to inform their purchasing decisions. These platforms are starting to partner with retailers and payment providers. This trend is also starting to seep into business applications. Generation Y and Z will continue to make up a larger portion of the work force and are very comfortable with these modes of communication, so it is likely that business-to-business transactions will migrate to these platforms as well.

Key Takeaway:

In a world with slowing growth, video and image sharing platforms provide an area of massive opportunity. E-commerce dominates the headlines in the impact it is having on traditional retail, but as demographics shift and those who grew up with a smart phone gain more purchasing power, the companies that can position themselves on these platforms will increasingly win market share.

Tags: Chart of the Week | Social media | Generation Z

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