I’ve read multiple articles today about how Facebook’s Snapchat competitor, Poke, is a flop. This news comes less than a week after the company launched the product. The application effectively debuted at #1 in the app store and has since dropped to around 50, just above Google Chrome (clearly a horrible position).
To be honest, I don’t use Snapchat and I probably won’t wind up using Poke either. That isn’t to suggest that a market for the application doesn’t exist. Snapchat has garnered a ton of buzz among those tracking the social-mobile vertical. The company recently raised a massive round of funding and reportedly turned down an acquisition offer from Facebook.
As the story goes, Facebook decided to build their own clone of Snapchat following the rejection of an acquisition offer. Since the app is no longer above Snapchat, everybody has declared the product a failure. A number of facts to consider:
The official Facebook app ranks lower than Snapchat
Does that mean that Snapchat is the new Facebook? Hardly. However it does suggest that on mobile, there’s a large niche in ephemeral messaging. Facebook posts are effectively positioned for lasting forever. For teens looking to text in class or to send messages that avoid the prying eyes of parents and teachers, it makes a lot of sense.
Facebook hasn’t provided full marketing efforts
If Facebook wanted to gain the attention of their entire user base (half a billion daily users), they could get aggressive with marketing their product. However heavily pushing a new product is a bad idea.
There’s no android version
Most importantly, Facebook has yet to provide an Android application. They can’t expect to convert all Snapchat users over to Poke if users can only communicate with some of their friends. If they develop an Android application as well, expect the adoption to be much wider.
It has been less than a week
Let’s be honest. Declaring a product dead less than a week after launch is foolish.
The only knock against Facebook right now is that they have a history of phasing out support of defensive products (the Questions product being the best example). If Facebook wants to provide resources to the Poke application, they most definitely have a shot of competing with Snapchat. I’d give it at least a month or two until declaring that Facebook’s Poke application has truly failed.