Social media apps were created to improve people’s social lives. Today, to billions around the world, social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have become the social life! As per Statista, the average internet users spends at least 2 hours and 23 minutes using social media apps on a daily basis and approximately 3.48 billion of the world’s population is active on these apps.
What’s made social media apps such an integral part of our lives is the groundbreaking popularity of apps like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. These apps have managed to engage and delight both the masses and classes. But, how have they managed that amazing feat and succeeded in keeping the world captivated for so many years? And, if you are planning to build a social media app, what can you learn from their success?
Let’s find out.
Making waves for a while is one thing, remaining relevant and continuing to stay in consumers’ hearts is another! A lot of social media apps, including Friendster, Classmates, even Google+ enjoyed a decent run when launched but failed to either keep up the initial momentum or continue to connect with consumers for long run.
The following are some of the biggest reasons why social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have continued to do well while others have failed.
1.Ease Of Use
According to recent surveys, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat were number one, two and seventh in terms of 2019’s most popular and widely used social media apps in the United States.
The most obvious similarity in these apps is – they’re extremely easy to use. Even first-time users rarely face any issues understanding their features and functionalities.The simplistic interface and navigation encourages people to further explore these apps. The result is – they keep coming again and again.
Facebook came out in 2004 when text messaging was the world’s most preferred non calling communication channel, especially for international communication. Facebook gave people a wonderful new way of communicating over both short and long distances. People could post updates and images, chat in real time and stay connected in a manner that just wasn’t possible with good old text messaging.
Instagram was launched in 2010 – a photo and video sharing social media app that was a step up from the way images and videos were shared on existing social media apps like Facebook. People could edit and filter their photos and videos before sharing, chat with others and explore content by location and tags. Instagram revolutionized social media advertising and created a whole new market with user generated content.
Also Read: How Instagram Works: Insights about Photo Sharing Apps Business and Revenue Model
In 2011, Snapchat was launched. The multimedia messaging app came out offering an exciting new way of creating and sharing photo messages. While social media apps like Instagram and Facebook allowed people to share images, Snapchat users could also look at the person they were chatting with in real time. The self-destruct or single view nature of shared images and videos was a novelty for users and managed to get them hooked instantly.
So, what we learn here is “Innovation is the key to success in the social media world.” If you are planning to launch a social media app, make sure it contains a feature that makes it standout from other existing applications.
3.Commitment to Enhancing User Experience
All these apps win users by providing a pleasant and engrossing user experience. The secret why these top social media apps have enjoyed long lasting success is that they have remained focused on further improving user experience.
For example, in the first quarter of 2019, Facbook announced its redesign which was focused on creating a more personalized activity feed across the groups that a user is a part of. The redesign introduces a clean white look to Facebook which is a departure from its old, largely blue-tinted design.
With this redesign, which is more focused on user’s privacy, the brand showed the world that it is continuously upgrading to improve the security and UX on the platform.
Similarly, Instagram’s updated “explore” feature strives to bring more personalized content to the users by including shortcuts to IGTV, Shopping and topics such as Travel, Art and Food based on the users’ individual interests.
4.Making Users Feel Good
Social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat excel at making people feel noticed and connected, even if it’s not for real. In these apps, even people who aren’t socially active in real life have found connections that give them a sense of belonging. For billions of people around the world, the ‘likes’, ‘followers’ and ‘comments’ on every thought or image that they share are an instant, potent cure for loneliness.
A face filter app like Snapchat offers dozens of editing options that make people appear better than their real selves, letting people be who they want to be. This has helped social media apps like Facebook and Snapchat remain popular with people over the years.
5.Becoming More Than Just Communication Channels
Social media apps like Instagram are not just a means of communication. Users spend as much time watching celebrity and funny animal videos on Instagram as on their own feed or on conversing with their friends.
Facebook has slowly evolved into a popular gaming platform with popular titles like FarmVille and Candy Crush Saga bringing in millions of users on a daily basis.
Snapchat’s ‘Official Stories’ feature is devoted to celebrities and notable public figures and attracts users from across the globe.
Entertainment, news, learning and advertisements are just a handful of functions available to the users of apps. Exclusive games, visual content, advertising and business prospects have enabled apps like Snapchat to appeal to segments that are not primarily interested in virtual social exchanges.
Also Read: Why YikYak – an Anonymous Social Media App With a Large User Base Failed?
While there are many similarities between social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, they all have different journeys, distinctive features and strengths that have made them so successful for so long.
Let’s look at their journeys to learn something from them:
Facebook’s embed-in-post feature instantly fetches and displays images, video and articles that are linked in the user’s posts. This means the users don’t even have to click on embedded links to access that content. Facebook began offering this feature year before even Twitter started its use.
Facebook’s News Feed delivers current affairs, celebrity, sports and entertainment content customized according to the user’s preferences. The last major update of News Feed created controversy because of the company’s choice of news source. But over time, the quality and richness of the feed’s content has made it one of Facebook’s most loved and used features.
Events is another feature that helps Facebook’s app stand out from other social medial apps. This feature keeps the users updated of all the upcoming events related to their preferred categories, including art, film, dance, causes and comedy. Users just need to select the categories they’re interested in and their location to start getting notifications whenever a relevant event takes place near them.
Also Read: Why Vine – a Video Sharing Platform with 40M Users Failed?
Instagram introduced hashtags (#) in January 2011. This feature helps Instagram users search other users and discover new image and video content. Instagram users utilize specific hashtags to make their posts identifiable. The success of hashtags led to the creation of ‘trends’. Hashtags such as #SelfieSunday, for instance, encouraged users to post their selfies on Sundays, hence becoming a popular trend. Since December 2017, users can follow hashtags and receive the highlights related to these followed hashtags on their feed.
Instagram’s Explore tab allows users to discover popular photos that were taken close to their current location. The primary goal of Explore is to allow users to find content other than the users or hashtags they already follow. The 2015 update added the ability to search for locations and included trending places and tags. Instagram updated its Explore tab once again in 2017, allowing users to explore promoted public stories from areas around their own location.
Instagram recently launched this feature that allows Android users to limit data expenditure. The new feature restricts high resolution media download through cellular data. User’s devices can still download high resolution content when connected to Wi-Fi. This feature is presently available only for Android devices and is pretty useful to people with limited data plans.
Snapchat’s recent addition – the ability to create personalized filters and lenses has helped it jump ahead of the competition. Using this new feature, users can create custom filters for occasions like weddings and birthday parties. And it’s really easy too – simply go to Profile, click on Settings and then tap Filters and Lenses. The custom filters and lenses are geotagged and are currently available for a pre-determined time period.
Snapchat allows users to share their stories outside of its mobile app. With this feature, Snapchat users can share any public story simply by tapping and holding on the tile and choosing a channel such as text, email, Twitter and Facebook to share it with others. With this new feature, Snapchat users can now share content even with people who aren’t active on Snapchat.
This feature allows users to check the type of data that the app is storing. This ability helps improve transparency and increases users’ confidence in the app. Users can download the data that Snapchat has saved by going to their Account, logging in and clicking on My Data. Click Submit Request and Snapchat will send a download link on the users’ verified email address.
Today, social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have become an inadmissible part of our daily lives. Their continued devotion to keeping the userbase engaged and the ability to continually reinvent with time and technology has kept them at the top of social media mountain for years. And if these apps continue on this track in the future, then the top is where they’ll remain for years to come!
Want to create a successful social media app like Instagram or Facebook? Send us a word and we’ll get in touch with you right away!
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Neha Verma is the Marketing Manager of Apptunix – a leading web and mobile app development company offering cutting-edge services in all the emerging technologies. Her write-ups are usually based on technology, mobile apps, marketing, and market research.
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