Harris Markowitz was overjoyed when he was nominated for Shorty Award’s “Snapchatter of the Year” last year. The award show, which honors the best in social media, pitted the 25-year-old against the likes of DJ Khaled, who would later be crowned.
Markowitz’s nomination, however, piqued the interest of some major brands like Zillow and Coca-Cola, which soon commissioned him to create content for their brand’s Snapchat accounts.
Fifteen months later, Markowitz’s personal Snapchat account is mostly dark, and he isn’t working on any brand accounts anymore. “We saw a decline in viewership on Snapchat and an increase on Instagram,” Markowitz told CNBC recently.
The shift mirrors the relentless rise of the Facebook-owned Instagram Stories platform since its launch nearly one year ago, costing Snapchat its popularity with a medium it largely pioneered.
“Snapchat should’ve went back to the drawing board and figured out a new way to compete, instead of being romantic to how [it] has been running for the last couple of years,” Markowitz said.
In a statement to CNBC, Ben Schwerin, vice president of partnerships for Snapchat’s parent company Snap, said that the company’s intent was “to build the best possible storytelling platform for you and your closest friends. Over the past few years, we’ve been delighted to see that many of the world’s most influential people in fashion, sports, music, and entertainment were also using stories to connect with their biggest fans.”
Yet Markowitz’s outlook is shared by many non-celebrity social media influencers who struggle with posting on both platforms simultaneously.
In a recent study, social media marketing firm Mediakix looked at 12 top influencers who maintain a dual presence on Instagram and Snapchat. The firm found that over a 30-day period, those accounts overwhelmingly preferred Instagram Stories to Snapchat, posting 25 percent more on the former than the latter.
To be certain, Snapchat — where boldface names such as DJ Khaled, Kim Kardashian and Chrissy Teigen are prolific users — is a slightly different animal than most other social platforms.
Those who post don’t ‘like’ or re-share the disappearing video snippets that helped the platform become wildly popular with Millenials, most of whom use Snapchat to communicate with friends, celebrities and experience events. In that context, high follower counts are less important when the content is ephemeral and can’t go viral.
Still, in a space built on an instantly recorded video where two giants are slugging it out for users, is there room for both?