I’m curious if the big consumer media companies of today strategically set out to create these competitive moats, or if they stumbled upon them.
Chris Dixon argues that Instagram is one of the easiest examples to understand. At the time, Instagram was the best place to get free filters for photos. He argues that users came for the filter, but stayed for the network. What started as a tool (the filter) turned into a network (feed). The network enabled a premier online marketplace for programmatic advertising and retail sales.
Snapchat, on the other hand, hasn’t made it there yet. With their recent UI overhaul to cater to third party publishers, and a prophecy to remain loyal to its original MVP; knowing where and communicating with your close friends, I think they’re poised for market differentiation. I’m a big fan of Snapchat’s product and think it has merit in the market, but would love to see it change a bit.
First off, they should focus on creating the one place users can go to communicate with their friends. I’ll often hear my cousin talk about how she only uses snapchat to message and call her friends. Why? Because of it’s ephemeral nature!
Snapchat isn’t going to have the same scale as Instagram, but it could have a unique niche that a larger fragmentation of social media would cater to. Hell, I don’t really use IG, but sometimes am known to send my friends the funny snap…
To answer my own question, I think, as many things, it depends. I don’t know the Instagram story nearly as well as I know what’s happening with Snap. SNAP, if you’re reading this, please invest product time and $ into messaging and keeping snapchat the best small community out there.