Social Media

Here's how Snap could survive Facebook's endless copying

Analyst: Clearly if you're Snap, you're worried

Snap's marketing savvy, creativity and understanding of its users will help it survive Facebook's many efforts to kill it by imitation, tech veteran Rahul Sood told CNBC.

"Snap understands their audience better than anybody," said Sood, chief executive officer of e-sports betting start-up Unikrn and creator of Microsoft Ventures.

For example, over spring break at the Las Vegas MGM Hotel and Casino, the company installed a kiosk selling Snap Spectacles. "These guys are hardcore marketers," Sood said on "Squawk Alley."

Facebook launched three new Snap-like features Tuesday morning — the fourth time Facebook has cloned Snapchat features in less than a year — sending Snap shares down more than 4 percent.

Facebook's big advantage is that it can reach users outside of Snap's relatively narrow demographic and show off features they may never have tried, Sood said Tuesday. "It gives the an opportunity to play with it and use it," he said.

However, he added, what works for Snapchat doesn't always work on Facebook's apps.

"Instagram tried it with their Stories, and it feels sort of like an after-thought, like a bolt-on feature to Instagram," he said. "I don't get it, to be honest."

An employee wears a Snapchat ghost shirt and Snapchat Spectacles by Snap Inc. while crossing the street outside the company's office in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Wall Street welcomed Facebook's move to incorporate more Snap-like features. "It's a great move and one that we expected," said Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali.

The last time Facebook did something as important as this — when Instagram copied Snap last year — the impact was a slowdown in user growth and engagement at Snap, he said.

"It will be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of quarters, but clearly if you're Snap, you're worried," he said. "It's easy to copy a lot of these functions and the issue is really around engagement and user growth, ultimately."

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Snap