How Google Can Fight Facebook (Hint: Snapchat Helps)
Google should Buy Snap Inc.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Google, the search engine giant, should buy Snap Inc, the exciting tech startup that was meant to rule the hearts of millennials.
There were rumors about a $30 Billion proposition for the Search Giant to purchase the recently IPO’d “camera company”, but they were all proven to be just that - rumors.
But what if there was some merit to the idea?
As it turns out, the $30 Billion figure wasn’t pulled out of thin air but was an internal proposition. So why would Google internally debate buying a company who’s been struggling with everything imaginable?
The answer is in the year 2011. IBM’s Watson won Jeopardy, ExxonMobil had an oil spill, the September 11 memorial and museum officially opened, and…
...Google released Google+ as a social media platform for internet users to discuss these intriguing events.
At the time, Google+ was called “a new social networking layer that may compete with Facebook but, at the same time, is utterly different”. As it turns out, the only thing different between Facebook and Google+ was popularity, good content, and users.
There’s something critical we need to understand here before we move forward - Facebook and Google are direct competitors. I know we don’t think of Facebook and Google as fighting for the space.
After all, you probably use Google as your primary search engine (the only time you’ve used Bing is when you’ve logged onto an old windows PC and the default engine was Bing), and Facebook as your primary social media tool (and of course, you only use Twitter to keep up with the 4 funny accounts you follow).
Facebook is by far the market leader in online advertising for the social media space, and Google is by far the market leader in search advertising. Combined, the two are projected to dominate over 60% of Mobile Ad revenue by the end of this year. To give you a benchmark, Snapchat and Twitter combined account for less than 3.5% of total mobile ad revenue. The famous duopoly is taking over the industry due to their highly tailored and targeted ads.
Google’s always sucked at social media, and was far from a serious threat to Facebook - but what if Snapchat can turn the tables?
Here are key reasons why Google should buy Snapchat:
Young people don’t use Google+.
In fact, young people hate Google+.
The only demographic that Google+ has historically done well with are middle-aged men in Western countries. Snapchat, on the other hand, has found a way to attract millennials like no other. 2/5ths of all millennials in the United States between the ages of 18 and 34, use snapchat daily.
If Google was to acquire Snapchat, it would finally crack one of the toughest problems that accompany creating a social media network - getting adoption and virality from young people.
Here’s a startling fact about Google Plus - 91% of Google+ accounts are empty. Only 9% of users are considered active monthly users. Google+ has a lot of users, but most of them are idle accounts with no posts and no interactions. Why would you use Google+ when your friends don’t use Google+?
User engagement is the center of Snapchat’s success. “Snapchat is five times more effective than Twitter and 10 times more effective than LinkedIn at getting users to spend time on the platform on a per-user basis” according to BusinessInsider. Users spend an average of around 30 minutes a day on the application. For Google+ the numbers dip to below 4 minutes a day, on average. With the cloud resources and user data that Google already has to offer, supplemented with Snapchat’s user engagement, the new Snapchat could be a force to be reckoned with.
If Google were to acquire Snapchat, it would crack the 2nd most challenging problem that accompanies creating a social network - keeping users engaged after they join the network.
Live TV reimagined:
There are a million snapchat videos and pictures created everyday. What else comes to mind when I say videos+Google+content?
YouTube is trying to break into live TV with - and it’s much tougher than they thought. They’re offering a $35 service that includes live streaming from CBS, Fox, NBC and ABC. Convincing users to switch to YouTube TV has been a challenge, because YouTube has never been perceived as an alternative to live cable TV.
Snapchat, on the other hand, is young and constantly evolving. It is, at the core of the company, a medium through which we can see live original content. And it’s already got some big name deals with NBC Universal, Turner, Discovery, ESPN, Vice Media, and the NFL. Users seem to be more perceptive to sign up for live TV streaming from a company that shares live video content, over a company who’s most popular videos are reviews of laptops and phones.
And for these reasons, Google should acquire Snapchat. Google Capital has already invested in Snapchat, and wants to see Snap Inc. succeed. Not only that, but Snapchat has vowed to use Google’s cloud services for years to come.
Ending the User Drought:
I won’t go into too much depth for this part, because it’s a slightly more detailed (and wordier) concept in my opinion - and I’m writing an accompanying article coming out this weekend to explain it. You can click here to sign up for updates when it comes out, but the synthesized version of the argument is this - Google forcefully created Google+ accounts.
What I mean by that is, Google converted all Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar accounts into one central Google account that you could use for all these services… INCLUDING Google+. Commenting on YouTube videos, which is a lot more fun than you might think, also forced you to use the Google+ account you never knew you had.
Okay, so why does that help Snapchat you ask.
If Google owned Snapchat, there might be 2 Billion new Snapchat accounts (just as there are 2 Billion Google Drive, and Google+ accounts). Yes, there are numerous caveats - would new adopters even use the new Google/Snapchat account? I’ll cover all that, and much more in the upcoming article. For now, let’s keep going.
Another thing that’s critical to note - The two companies are already interlinked in more ways than one.
The most defining commonality of all - mutual hatred...err… a mutual competitor in Facebook.
If Snapchat is fueled by the user data that Google has and by funding that Google has, while Google has access to a somewhat successful social media network famous for live content curation, and a young engaged audience - could Facebook be in trouble?