Just when brands get the hang of a new digital platform, they are introduced to another—or at least a whole new function of an existing one.

Snapchat is a great example. Once it was viewed as a simple photo-messaging app, but the increasing uses of the platform indicate those days are long over. Just look at some of the numbers behind the app:

Its user base is huge. Snapchat boasts 10 billion video views per day, and over 60% of all smartphone users have the Snapchat app installed. The app grew from 2 billion to over 12 billion daily views in one year, and in a matter of five years it has grown to be one of the largest social platforms in the world.

It's holding people's attention and capturing share of usage from other social platforms. Consumers average 25-30 minutes on the app per day, and 50% of its users are on the app every single day. Snapchat's 150 million daily active users also surpasses Twitter's 140 million daily users.

It has cross-generational appeal. More than 50% of new daily users are 25 and over, debunking the notion that Snapchat is for teens and Millennials only. The 25+ crowd is flocking to Snapchat at twice the rate of users age 24 and below.

Basically, Snapchat is a marketer's dream. And most brands do acknowledge that they should be on the platform, especially given the jaw-dropping stats behind its growth and usage. However, being on the platform is much different from using it in their marketing. Because of that, brand adoption has been slow, and it seems that many marketers don't know where to begin with Snapchat.

The marketers that win Snapchat will be the ones that don't lump it into the general social media category; that's because its many nuances make it much different from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It's new and unique, and it's not at all like those three.

If brands try to incorporate Snapchat into their marketing mix by using the content and strategy they use for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram, they risk failure. That's because Snapchat is causing a pivotal shift in the marketing landscape, in at least three ways.

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image of Chris Gomersall

Chris Gomersall is the CEO and founder of ATOMIZED, provider of visual marketing calendars for brands and agencies, including editorial, marketing communications, brand planning, and publishing calendars.

LinkedIn: Chris Gomersall