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Snapchat Insights: seven lessons from the platform’s new analytics tool

Estimated read time: 7 minutes

Almost out of nowhere, Snapchat last week unveiled its native analytics offering. No, really! No third party, terms and conditions-bending risks needed here. In-built analytics, for free! They’re called Snapchat Insights and our friend in the north – Newcastle University’s Matt Horne – is one of the first University Marketers in the UK to have access to them. Here’s what he’s learned so far.

*This was originally posted on Matt’s own blog, which you should definitely read because, well, it’s awesome.*

You may have read that Snapchat has finally got round to launching analytics on its platform. At the moment it’s only available to “Snapchatters who are Official Stories or creators who have cultivated a large audience on Snapchat” and to my joy (not going to lie, and small level of pride) I saw the Insights button had appeared on our account overnight.

If you want to see if you’ve got it, just tap your BitMoji face on the top left of the app screen and scroll down. It should be there. If it’s not, or you just haven’t had time to dig around yours yet, let me lay down 7 things I’ve picked up from the stats Snapchat are now making available.

Our account is classified as having a large audience

Forget Instagram’s 10,000 follower level before you can add links to stories. Forget YouTube’s 10,000 subscriber requirement to get access to Reels, it would seem on Snapchat a modest (estimated) 2,700 followers is all you need to be classed as a having a large audience.

Is this a sign that Snapchat “influencers” aren’t actually that influential? Are they more about micro-influencers? Or is it just because we’re a university and Snapchat loves uni students? The jury’s out, but for now it’s a nice little ego boost to think that our account is up there in the “big leagues” and until I see any alternative facts to state otherwise that’s a keeper.

Our estimated stats are pretty close to the real thing

Previously our stat monitoring efforts for Snapchat revolved around recording snap views, screengrabs and messages per story in a spreadsheet. Then with a few small calculations, we’d pull out:

  • Retention (percentage of people that went from start to finish)
  • Engagement (percentage of screenshots and replies compared to number of views)
  • Estimated followers (monthly average of initial views)

With the official figures now in from Snapchat, our estimates for February were fairly close to the real thing. And the downside to that is it’s confirmed the 25% reduction in initial views we’ve seen since the new version of Snapchat rolled out.

You still don’t get everything you need

Yes it’s very nice that you get some level of authentic statistics on your Snapchat activity, but it still doesn’t give you the granular level of detail users have been asking for.

Where are the individual view numbers? Where are the screenshot counts? Where are share totals? What about link clicks?

It’s a start Snapchat, but you’ve got a long way to go before you provide the full stat meal users of Instagram Stories are used to. And until they do, as users we’ll be screenshotting last minute stats for a hacked together spreadsheet or using Mish Guru/Snaplytics for a while.

You get new things to obsess over

Before these new insights we were limited to what we could measure on Snapchat. But now we’ve got official numbers there’s a lot more to wonder what we could do to improve.

screenshot of snapchat's insights tool

It would be nice if they put the numbers in context too. Yeah on Friday people only watched on average 23 seconds of the story, but how long was the story in the first place?

You’ll still need to log things

Like the snaps themselves, these stats don’t hang around for ever. Although some are a rolling tally from the 1st of January 2018 (like views YTD) the vast majority are on a rolling week basis.

So if you’re going to build up any kind of benchmark, you’re still going to have to keep a record of these in your own spreadsheet.

We might need to switch up our content strategy

From the stats it’s clear to see our main audience is made up of our current students or recent grads. That’s a big tick. We even have a small percentage of potential applicants there too which is good to know.

What’s more illuminating is the audience categories Snapchat has put our people in to.

screenshot of audience data from snapchat's insights tool

There’s us posting campus event stories, student takeovers and fun little games. But what we really need to concentrate on to please this audience is vegan themed cricket matches from the women’s student tennis team. Challenge accepted?

It’s still got bugs

Ok I get it, Silicon Valley (all right pedant I know Snapchat are based in LA) are all about moving fast, breaking things and then fixing them later. So it’s no surprise there are bugs in this initial release of insights from Snapchat.

screenshot of ages data from snapchat insights

Those age demographics are going to need a bit of work.

You can follow Matt on Twitter, find him on LinkedIn and read his blog too. He was also part of our University Marketers social media panel in January 2018.

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