Drawing value from a little white ghost

Can you imagine turning down a $3 billion all-cash offer? That what’s Snapchat did to Facebook last November. When one of my friends first introduced me to Snapchat, I was dubious at first. I kind of didn’t see the point of sending a message that disappeared after a few seconds. But now, I find it a fun way to communicate with my close friends. I think ‘fun’ is the operative word. It’s a light hearted way to say, “Hey, I’m thinking about you right now.”

How businesses plan to use Snapchat as a social media marketing channel is still beyond me. Gary Vaynerchuk, however, is a big fan of Snapchat and believes it’s going to be the next big thing.

Snapchat is caught up in a bigger war.

[blockquote source=”VIJAY PANDURANGAN”]“Regardless of why this trend is taking off, it’s clear that the so-called messaging “wars” are heating up. As always, the euphoria over hockey-stick user growth numbers soon gives way to the sobriety of analysis, yielding the inevitable question: Can they monetize? Snapchat, with its massive (paper) valuation is at the vanguard of such criticism, especially given the irony that the service is essentially deleting its biggest asset – its data.”[/blockquote]

Snapchat’s relationship to it’s data is a blessing and a curse. Having disappearing data keeps their infrastructure costs down. But unlike FaceBook, Snapchat then doesn’t have data to use as leverage. At the risk of getting way to technical with this, check out the key to Snapchat’s profitability, for more details.

Back to Gary. One of his key messages is that Snapchat is adding value in ways that we can’t see (“we” being us oldies).

[blockquote source=”Gary Vaynerchuk”]“Technology is now culture. Back in the day when people compared Elvis to the devil, those people were 30, 40, 50 year-olds. They didn’t get it. People went crazy about The Beatles and their long hair. They said that music didn’t bring value either.  So I get that you think Snapchat is dumb. I get that you think it’s worthless and just for silly 20 year olds to send each other naked pictures of themselves. Except hundreds of millions of pictures are being sent every day, which means it has to be bringing value to somebody.”[/blockquote]

And that is where the opportunity lies, how to turn that flow into marketing gold.

While you’re figuring it, hook up with me on Snapchat and let’s see what we can do with this medium.