If you could travel back in time to when Facebook or Instagram first started grabbing mainstream attention, knowing what you do now about the opportunity they hold for brands, you’d jump aboard, right?

Well, that opportunity is now on Snapchat.

Snapchat, a platform built on short ephemeral messages, seems destined to become a long-lasting social media powerhouse.

This future seems all the more realistic with the addition of Snapchat Memories — a way to share photos and videos captured outside of Snapchat to your Story. I’ve done some thinking about what this new addition means to Snapchat content and the future of the social network. My conclusion: All good things!

Keep reading to see what Memories is all about and how Snapchat is evolving into a must-have social media channel.

My teammate Brian recently shared his thoughts about Snapchat Memories in this video commentary. Would love to have you take a look!

What Are Snapchat Memories? Here’s an Overview

With Snapchat Memories, you can now, for the first time, share photos and videos captured outside of Snapchat to your Story.

That’s one of the key features of Memories – an update that fundamentally shifts Snapchat, taking the platform that has become famous for its disappearing content and moving it in a new direction.

Alongside the ability to share content from outside the app, Memories also enables users to save Snaps to a smart, searchable camera roll and enables re-sharing (and embellishing) of previously sent snaps.

Here’s the video that Snapchat put together for their announcement:

 

I’d love to show you more about how each of these new Memories features work.

1. Share any photo or video — from within the app or from anywhere else

Memories enable Snapchat users to tell bigger stories that incorporate more than just in-the-moment photos and video. Instead of purely spontaneous content, Snapchat can now be used to share much more thoughtfully — similar to the approach you’d take with platforms like Instagram and Facebook, where the content you post doesn’t disappear.

With the flexibility to share any photo or video you want through Snapchat — not just those you took within the app — the company has opened up a whole new way to create content.

memories

Users can access Memories by swiping up from the camera section of the app.

Saved photos and videos that are uploaded as Stories or Snaps have a timestamp to show when they were originally taken.

2. Save Snaps to a searchable camera roll

As Snapchat explains:

You can use Memories to create new Stories from Snaps you’ve taken, or even combine different Stories into a longer narrative. It’s fun to celebrate an anniversary or birthday by finding a few old Snaps and stringing them together into a new Story.

All saved photo and video Snaps plus your Stories appear in the main Memories tab, where you can also import all of your previously saved Snaps. From the Memories tab (which serves as an in-app camera roll), it’s super easy to find the Snap or Story you’re looking for in just a few seconds by typing keywords like “dog” or “Hawaii.”

memories-search

That’s the ins and outs of Snapchat Memories covered. Now, what does this mean? And how will it affect the way brands create content on Snapchat?

On the future of Snapchat: How Memories will affect Snapchat’s content

1. Memories raise the bar for quality Snaps

Political news site, The Hill, uses Snapchat to live-snap key political events and the larger world of politics and life in DC. They also have some recurring Snapchat series’. One, called Capitol Cribs, for instance, offers Snapchat tours of lawmaker offices.

Speaking to Nieman LabTaylor Lorenz, The Hill director of emerging platforms explained that Memories could lead to higher production qualities on Snapchat:

Memories will make producing this type of content easier in the sense that it doesn’t have to all be done in real time, but harder in that I think it will raise the bar for repackaged content. Now that we have a longer lead time on creating these evergreen-type stories, the quality of what we put out on our channel should improve.

Lifting the limit on content creation from what can only be created within the app has a huge upside when it comes to creating engaging stories for Snapchat.  Allowing people to upload pre-existing content also opens up the door for .

2. Memories make a longer shelf life for content

These days, content on social media has a very low shelf life.

None more so than Snapchat, where content disappears after 24 hours.

With the new features in Snapchat Memories (saving, reusing), this will make it easier for brands to justify budgets and invest in high-end creative for their Stories. Any photos or videos created for Snapchat can now be re-used, and content from other networks can also be re-published on the platform.

3. Memories may help Snapchat expand to a wider audience

In order to continue its impressive growth, it’s increasingly important for Snapchat to attract a broader (and older) audience. Currently, Snapchat dominates attention for 18 to 34-year-olds. Forty-one percent of all 18 to 34 year-olds in the United States use the app on any given day.

snapchat-demo

And the company is also making strides with older generations. According to numbers from comScore, 14% of smartphone users aged 35 and older use Snapchat, too.

This comes as no surprise, as Snapchat has put a lot of focus on becoming a more mainstream product and moving away from the stigma that it’s only for teenagers.

In 2015, Snapchat Discover made the network a media destination by providing publishers with a mobile-first way to share editorial content. And now, Memories is another strong move to help Snapchat become a complete distribution channel for individuals and brands alike.

Snapchat has huge, multi-billion dollar revenue potential, and as reported by TechCrunch, the company is looking to be making and as much as $1 billion in revenue during 2017.

Hitting this revenue target will rely greatly on Snapchat’s ability to spread its wings and continue to grow beyond its early adopters and increase its market share for the 35+ age range (and into the early majority). Much like when Facebook expanded from college students to parents (and now grandparents), Snapchat’s future growth and revenues could rely on its ability to pivot and engage the older generation and mass market.

snapchat-innovation

4. Memories can feed the evolution of Snapchat’s ad product

While Snapchat has reportedly achieved 150 million global daily active users (overtaking Twitter), the company is still a ways off Facebook’s 1 billion-plus user base.

And ads only work if there are users to engage with them.

With Memories, Snapchat now has a legitimate claim to be the go-to camera app for capturing and saving moments. Users in the early and late majority may also appreciate the ability to take a photo and video and worry about sharing later.

This shift could be seen as more user-friendly and easier to understand for the less digitally-native population and should help the company to build its user base, and in turn, boost its revenues.

The fact that Snapchat can now store photos and videos as Memories could also give it more insight into its user interests than before and more data should help Snapchat to improve its ad-targeting. Something that Facebook mastered on its way to becoming a dominant mobile advertising network.

Just last month (June 2016), Snapchat announced an advertising API – its biggest move yet towards becoming a pay-to-play network for large brands. The API will allow selected partners to sell Snapchat’s video ad inventory via an automated, auction-based system.

With the API roll-out and launch of Memories, Snapchat is getting serious about growth and revenue. And I don’t think it’ll be too long before we see a Facebook-style ‘ads-for-all’ platform, enabling brands of all sizes to capitalize on Snapchat’s highly-engaged audience.

Only time will tell how Snapchat’s ad product will evolve, but one thing’s for sure when it comes to revenue, Snapchat is just getting started…

Why now is the time to go all-in on Snapchat

At Buffer, we believe there are two key periods of opportunity for brands on social platforms:

  1. Organic
  2. Paid

We call it the law of the double-peak:

Right now, Snapchat is growing towards the mainstream and there’s still a ton of opportunity to stand out and build an audience organically. Meaning you don’t need ads or paid distribution to grab attention.

Think of it as Instagram in 2014-2015 or Facebook in 2009-2010.

Great content works on Snapchat, and you don’t need a huge budget.

In a year or so, things may be different. Snapchat is rumored to be working on a Facebook-like algorithm that would curate Stories and show users content it feels they’ll enjoy most at the top of their feed, rather than displaying each Story in chronological orders as the app does now. This, coupled with more brands and individuals vying for attention on the platform could make it harder to break through and get people to open your Snaps.

I’m confident when I say Snapchat will be around for the long haul. The ephemeral messaging app loved by teenagers could have been a short-lived fad, but what Snapchat is building has far, far more longevity and opportunity for brands of all sizes.

Your thoughts

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Snapchat Memories and the future of the platform.

How do you see Memories affecting your use of Snapchat? And how do you feel ads will affect the platform?

It’d be great to hear from you in the comments.

We hope you’ve found this Snapchat resource helpful! As some food for thought, we’ve recently shifted our Snapchat quite dramatically and are keen to be transparent about the how and why.

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Written by Ash Read

Content crafter at Buffer. I’m fascinated by storytelling, entrepreneurship, and travel. When I’m not writing, you’ll usually find me on a football pitch or basketball court.

  • Legitimate question. I promise no sarcasm. But can someone who is not a person with values of a 13 year old teenager, or someone marketing to a person with values of a 13 old teenager have a place on Snapchat? Someone selling wildlife paintings for example. Thank you.

    • Hey Krunoslav, appreciate the comment. I think Snapchat is at a stage where it can be impactful for almost anyone, regardless of industry and what they’re selling. I guess one analogy that could be used is email, back when email marketing was relatively new people were getting open rates ~90% because it was a new way to connect with an audience. Snapchat feels the same now, a direct Snap would likely have a very high open rate, and Story views can be high too. Someone selling wildlife paintings could potentially use Snapchat in a ton of creative ways and take followers on a journey showing how paintings come together – imagine purchasing a piece you’ve seen go from blank canvas to finished artwork, that could really make you feel a part of the process.

      Hope that may help. Love to keep the conversation going if I can provide any more context here 🙂

    • AllThings Networking

      Hey Krunoslav, the audience on Snapchat is a lot older than you might thing with 77% being 18+ there certainly is a market and we have converted Snapchat for business and earned 5 figures for 3 different businesses.

      I teach in hands on in Sydney, Australia & haven’t yet found a business it can’t work for. Just need to be thought out and well structured – like any advertising & customer communications. If you want help please do reach out;

      Tristan • AllThingsNetworking.com • tg@allthingsnetworking.com

      • Thank you. I’ll keep my eyes open.

        • AllThings Networking

          Pleasure – Where are you based, maybe we could have a quick call / skype – Love to help you out 🙂

          • I am based in Croatia. Sure if you are willing to talk. Is this your email? tg@allthingsnetworking.com I could send you my Skype contacts and we can connect. Perhaps we can exchange ideas.

          • AllThings Networking

            Skype : allthingswhere.com

  • Thank you Ash. I need to rethink my current marketing strategy. As a 56 year old I had consideredSnapchat to be for a teenage audience only…but, of course, that could change.

    • Hey @rosalinecallaghan:disqus , thanks for your comment. I think Snapchat may be starting to shift away from being seen as teenage-only. Excited to see how they continue to grow 🙂

    • AllThings Networking

      It is far from that 77% of the audience are actually over 18 now – and the age is rising – similar to what happened with Facebook – would love to discuss this more and help you get a much clearer picture should you need?

      I teach in hands on in Sydney, Australia & haven’t yet found a business it can’t work for. Just need to be thought out and well structured – like any advertising & customer communications.

      Tristan • AllThingsNetworking.com • tg@allthingsnetworking.com

  • John Martin

    Wow, Ash. This article really makes me want to get on Snapchat. I’ve been a bit hesitant. And I’ve kept my focus on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I’m at least a couple years older than your 41% demographic 🙂 Maybe that’s why.

    The memories thing that lets your content stay for longer than 24 hours is what’s motivating me. This feature makes posting seem less like advertising and more like real sharing. If I put in the effort to make it, I’d like it to stick around. Just saying.

    Plus your reminder that the early adopter time is really over – that’s kicking me to get started too.

    Thanks so much for such a motivating article!
    -John

    • Hey John, thanks for stopping by. Appreciate the comment. Would love to hear how you get on with Snapchat if you get a chance to try it out 🙂

    • AllThings Networking

      I would agree – I teach in hands on in Sydney, Australia & haven’t yet found a business it can’t work for. Just need to be thought out and well structured – like any advertising & customer communications. Happy to help if you would like John. We have plenty of resources to get you actively started and to take away the worry factor.

      Tristan • AllThingsNetworking.com • tg@allthingsnetworking.com

  • Jess Child

    I think memories can be powerful, although wil take some time getting used to. Also, many may not be on board as if it gives the opportunity to edit beforehand, removing the spontaneous, honesty of the platform which is what differentiates it from the likes of Instagram. In fact, it could risk becoming an Instagram copy, where the only differentiating factor is posts leave feeds after 24 hours (albeit now with the ability to repost, although if companies go down that route, it could become annoying).

    My other concern, and many others’ as well, is how they are going to target ads. At present it is impossible to search users by interest or content, so how do they track people’s interests? Before they embed ads to quickly, I think it’s something they need to address publically (for all we know there may be work going on in the background), as this is a point of frustration for many users at the moment.

  • Mark McGuire

    I currently don’t use snap chat. But now I’m seriously considering it.

    • AllThings Networking

      Hey Mark – can I ask the main hesitation to investing time and resources in Snapchat atm? Would love to know if we can help you in any way?

      I teach in hands on in Sydney, Australia & haven’t yet found a business it can’t work for. Just need to be thought out and well structured – like any advertising & customer communications.

      Tristan • AllThingsNetworking.com • tg@allthingsnetworking.com

  • Thanks for another great post Ash! I’m not on Snapchat now, but after reading this, I have to be for myself and my clients. I think the addition of memories to save and reuse images is a great idea and will push the platform to a broader base beyond millennials. I’ll be sharing this with my network today. 3 cheers to all Bufferoos! 🙂 @stevehedstrom:disqus @HedstromMedia

    • AllThings Networking

      Please remember that Memories display differently to the main created Snaps made LIVE – happy to discuss further and help you if you should require?

      I teach in hands on in Sydney, Australia as well as online & haven’t yet found a business it can’t work for.
      Just needs to be thought out and well structured – like any advertising & customer communications.

      Tristan • AllThingsNetworking.com • tg@allthingsnetworking.com

  • Kelly Shannon

    I work for a CVB I’ve been able to build up an audience for my company on Snapchat. It has been really fun! We’ve been going for about 4 months consistently and have over 300 followers, organically.

    • AllThings Networking

      This is great news 🙂
      Whats the Snapchat Handle – love to see what you are creating!

      Memories are different to originals indeed and there is a way to use them you just have to get your head around that to leverage it best! Love to chat…

      Tristan • AllThingsNetworking.com • tg@allthingsnetworking.com

  • Snaphappy

    It’s great, yeah, but the only thing that the Memories ability detracts away from is being able to save the photos and videos actually onto my camera roll! How am I now able to save a video onto my phone that is saved on my memories in a previous snapchat story and use it elsewhere?! Say I want to take a quick video but want to use it later outside of the snapchat app, I would have to film it via my usual camera just to be able to have it saved on my normal camera roll. This would deter my use of snapchat to a certain degree, I think… or mean more time on my phone trying to get a video of my phone and my snapchat…

    • sara

      You can go on snapchat’s settings > memories > and then it says save photos to memories and camera roll

    • AllThings Networking

      In fact in addition to the updated settings you can actually use Snapchat as a tool to create content for other places!!
      Just needs to be thought out and well structured – like any advertising & customer communications.

      Tristan • AllThingsNetworking.com • tg@allthingsnetworking.com

  • Here’s the thing though, Memories is something that you’re evaluating as a marketer, not as a consumer. Have you asked what people think about the Memories feature on Snapchat? Not asking you to do an actual survey (although that would be solid) – but just go to Twitter and search for “snapchat memories” and see what shows up. People hate it. For every one person saying they like it, there are five people that are dissing it. And for good reason.

    Snapchat was always meant to be “real-time”. It was always meant to be current, that was the whole point of showing people what you’re doing at that exact point in time, or within the last 24 hours. I’ve been talking to people that use Snapchat for the last month or so, and after about 30 – 40 conversations, what I’ve discovered is:

    1. People feel Snapchat memories go against the very principles of the platform
    2. People feel it makes their friends and the brands they follow “lazy”
    3. People have actually unfollowed brands AND PEOPLE that use too much of Snapchat memories – because it annoys them and they follow them on Instagram or something else, so what is the point?
    4. The white border and the reduced image size just makes the piece of content look insignificant

    Snapchat obviously introduced Memories as a way for brands to get on the platform and start using it more, and that’s what has everyone here excited, but I’m seriously surprised and worried that no one thought of the consumer that does not like this feature at all.

    • This is a great point and shows how Snapchat has to implement new products in their app in order for brands to adopt it. Looks like marketers are going to start ruining Snapchat sooner than later and this feature helps them do just that.

  • Avik Sarkar

    As great as it sounds, I personally believe that making real use of repackaged content will actually be a lot of hard work for marketers. Come to face it. Snapchat’s unprecedented popularity is largely attributable to its “real-time” nature. The focus shifts with Memories. Snapchat’s exclusivity is at stake.