Followers on Snapchat are watching less of your content

With the autoplay update to Snapchat, the percent of users watching your video’s in full plummeted. Instead they tap within the first 25% of the snap, leaving your message unconveyed. Some of the effect can be mitigated by shorter and more frequent updates and a keen focus on consistent great content making you the top choice to start with.

Perhaps one of the most revealing data points Snaplytics can provide is the tap rate, basically this percentage showcases how many of your viewers views the full story without tapping. This can often be an indication of whether your stories are engaging – low tap rates translate into an uninterested audience while high rates portray commitment to watching it through. The latest Snapchat update, which we discussed in a previous blog post, impacted how users behave within the app in more ways than one. Retention rate, the number of users watching all the Snaps in stories dropped 5% but the number of first open increased at the same time offsetting much of the effect. On this instance we will explain how tap rate changed with the latest update.

What was the update about?

Apart from a range of additional features, Snapchat also changed on a technical level by making stories under your Recent Updates section autoplay the next after you’re done with one. Previously, users would have to manually click through the different stories, allowing them to choose which one they watched next. According to this article by Digiday this may be the beginning of a transition towards something bigger… an algorithm sorting and prioritizing the story feed (and likely introduce adds in between). But, back to the tap rates.

How did we think the stats changed?

Discussions on Snapchat metrics in our office, which are plentiful, concluded with the idea that the update would increase tap rate. Why? Because users would reject the app forcing them to watch the following story and therefore skip faster. We also took into consideration the data from the previous blog on retention rate which showed a noticeable decrease but an increase in the overall number of views on the first Snap. We also figured that because of the update it is also easier to “clean out” the Recent Updates section, you would just have to tap through very fast while not noticing what story you were watching.

Here’s what actually happened

So the Snaplytics team was both wrong and right on our assumptions. Crunching the data(1) revealed not much changed for the first 3 to 5 snaps in a story - but then the drop comes with a vengeance. We are talking an average drop of 36% from the 4th snap an onwards, clearly indicating force feeding content to followers may not be that great an idea, if you want to increase the duration you have the eyeballs on your message. It may not be all bad, if users are tapping in the last second of the snap - let’s investigate.

Users are staying around for shorter periods of time within your Snaps

Another question we wanted answered was when, within the story, do users tap. With the update, it was possible that users were tapping fast and rapidly just to clean up the story feed. However the chance of them wanting to see what the new story was, and therefore sticking around longer, also real. Basically you can either tap or view the full video. If you tap, we measured in quartiles:

  • 1st Quartile: First 25% of the Snap (i.e. within the first 2,5 second for a 10 second video)
  • 2nd Quartile: 25%-50% of the Snap (i.e. betweeh 2,5 and 5 seconds for a 10 second video)
  • 3rd Quartile: 50%-75% of the Snap
  • 4th Quartile: 75%-100% of the Snap

The data revealed an interesting situation when crunching the numbers after the update.

Change before and after the autoplay update (% of total viewers)

(on average)BeforeAfterChange
1st Quartile 45,3 58,2 12,9
2nd Quartile 8,6 10,8 2,1
3rd Quartile 5,1 5,8 0,7
4th Quartile 6,7 4,3 -2,4
Full Snap 34,3 21,0 -13,2

What the numbers above mean is that there was a drop of 13,2%point of people watching the full video. Almost all of those that tapped, did it within the first quartile - i.e. within 2,5 seconds for a 10 second video. This excludes the placement of the Snap having an impact on when users skip, but even then we can determine the effect the update has had.

Change in % of total viewers before and after the autoplay update

Placement of Snap in Story1st Quartile2nd Quartile3rd Quartile4th QuartileFull Snap
1 9,44 1,35 -0,04 -1,93 -8,82
2 6,70 1,27 0,94 -3,90 -5,02
3 6,10 1,42 0,15 -3,75 -3,91
4 11,97 2,74 1,21 -6,39 -9,51
5 17,22 0,28 -0,52 -3,99 -12,99
6 14,20 2,59 0,85 -4,06 -13,57
7 14,58 1,88 2,69 0,83 -19,99
8 16,21 4,26 0,40 -1,88 -18,98
9 12,76 3,69 2,94 1,54 -20,93
10 19,64 1,64 -1,83 -0,85 -18,59

The data correlated with the snaps position in the story is aligned with the drop in tap rates. The further out the position the higher the tap rates - and the increase is predominantly within the 1st quartile.

What does it mean for your Snapchat engagement?

We presented some grueling facts on your Snapchat engagement, but it may not be that bad after all. Instead of posting 20+ snap stories like many brands seems to have come accustomed to, it may be wise to do shorter stories on a more frequent basis - likely with 5ish snaps in it. With the increased frequency you will be pushed to the top of the story feed and hopefully be the lucky 1st story to be viewed. At least your chances should increase with the top position. From a previous crunching of the data we did on optimal time for publishing (there was none at that moment, and we never published the article), we found out that +80% of your followers viewed your story after 4-5 hours. Updating the story 3 times a day every 4 hours may have a positive impact on the tap rate and the length of time you will be able to capture your followers eyeballs. Unfortunately we can’t measure what number the story was in the user's feed, but it would be interesting to correlate with above numbers. It is safe to say though, you need to create quality content consistently to be picked first…especially with the algorithm suggested by Digiday, where content you are more likely to view will be prioritized - they must (or should) factor in the tap rate more than any other metric.

1) All data based on detailed insights from Snaplytics customers.

Comments (0)

Add a Comment

Allowed tags: <b><i><br> Add a new comment:

Snaplytics is not affiliated with Snap Inc.

or use the form

Thank you for your mail! We'll respond as fast as possible.
Whoops! Something went wrong! Please try again in a couple of minutes.
Leave your name and email, and we'll get back to you once Instagram analytics is available.
Thank you! We'll get back to you as soon as Instagram analytics is available.