Amazon has just announced a way for teenagers to buy items from its site through parent accounts, with either an item-by-item approval process or pre-set spending limits. Parents will receive summary text notifications when their teens have placed an order and have the option to reply with a simple “Y” via SMS to approve the order, or to see full details on Amazon’s site. This feels like yet another example of both Amazon’s maturity in the e-commerce space and the way it continues to evolve its offerings even as other retailers continue to play catchup on its core services, and of its need to continually expand its addressable market for its e-commerce services to new potential customers. We’ve already seen this with its attempts to serve cash-centric customers, and we’re now seeing it with this move into serving teenagers more directly rather than through their parents. This will, of course, also train those teens to buy from Amazon from an early age, bypassing other potential sites, while leveraging the benefits of Prime. Feels pretty smart all around.
YouTube and Netflix Dominate Teens’ Video Viewing (May 2, 2017)
I changed the headline here both to capture the main point of the article and to avoid a different connotation with the word “streaker”, which appears in the original. Teenagers in particular, but also some young adult users, work hard to keep “streaks” of activity between themselves and friends on Snapchat alive as long as possible, much as Apple Watch users might try to keep a stand or move streak alive. But the Snapchat behavior verges on obsessive or addictive, and much of the actual sharing between friends ends up becoming meaningless as user post for the sake of posting. Snapchat deliberately encourages this kind of behavior, and it drives usage of the app, but it doesn’t necessarily drive meaningful engagement, which is technically something different. Those users aren’t necessary spending emotionally significant time in the app, and they’re not necessarily looking at the parts of the app where they’re likeliest to see ads. When Snap makes its IPO filing public, digging for signs of this disparity between usage time and real engagement with content and ads is going to be key. It’s really the Discover and other content tabs rather than the one-to-one sharing features that will drive ad viewing and revenue, and Snap needs to be transparent about where users are actually spending time.