Snapchat is one of the most prominent social media platforms of our time and it’s worth an eye-ball popping US$20 billion. Not bad for a platform released only a few years ago. There are many reasons why it’s made it to the top, but the instant nature of the app is what seems to be the most compelling. It only shows a video or photo for up to 10 seconds, then it’s gone, unless someone ‘snaps’ a screenshot. It’s simple, but keeps its 100 million active users engaged every day. The largest demographic on Snapchat are 14-26 year olds, however this is only growing. An eMarketer report found 60% of US smartphone users between 13-34 were on Snapchat. With figures like this it’s easy to see why marketers are chomping at the bit to get their brands snapping and into the hype of Snapchat marketing.
Let’s explore why this is.
What is Snapchat?
In its simplest form, Snapchat is a social media platform that lets users take a photo or video and then send it to friends, or post it publically as a story. If the media is sent directly it will disappear after 10 seconds. If a user posts a story, each 10 second clip or image will stay there for 24 hours unless removed. Anyone who receives a Snapchat can screenshot their screen and save the “snap” forever. The sender is notified if a receiver does this. It’s considered slightly unfair to snap someone’s images!
Snapchat has enriched the experience by including lenses and filters. Snapchat lenses are much more than a black and white hue, they’re fully interactive augmented reality. The platform also has geofilters, which allows you to show your snapping location. There’s also a chat function where sent messages also disappear after 10 seconds.
Another feature of the app is the Discover area. Here a number of publishers display content in a unique and tailored-to-the-platform way. Brands such as Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Fox Sports, MTV and CNN have dedicated space. It was introduced to keep users entertained and exposed to new content.
Celebrities using Snapchat lenses
Geofilters in use!
Why would you use Snapchat to market your brand?
Snapchat marketing is an incredible way to boost your brand awareness and have millennials interact with your brand.
Paid advertising through Snapchat has been available despite the company originally having a strong anti-targeting stance. However, this philosophy is changing - and quite substantially so. It was only in September when the company unveiled its long awaited ad technology platform. Marketers now have a number of in-app behavioural targeting features. This includes the ability to use your own mailing lists to target Snapchat users who are in your contact database. There will also be the ability to build “similar audience lists” based off users who interact with similar content to your brand’s.
How to use Snapchat for marketing
Paid promotion of your brand can happen in multiple ways on Snapchat:
Geofilters naturally appear in specific locations around the world such as capital cities, landmarks and during holidays. Not all are paid promotions and anyone in the geographic area you specify can use the filter. As a brand you have the ability to purchase one for an event, product launch or even a storefront.
Brands that have done this exceptionally well include female fitness guru Ashy Bines. Her team organised geofilters for her city-based Ashy Bines Booty Tour. With up to 5,000 girls in attendance, the purchase of a geofilter was worth the brand exposure! Brands can do this and target specific areas for the filter to appear in. The cost is based on size and location. It’s been done for movie releases, new menu launches and to hype up new product releases. You simply sign in to the platform, upload your artwork or design in Snapchat’s online editor and then set up the locational parameters. If approved by Snapchat, your geofilter is up and running on the dates you specified. At present you can only set it up to one month in advance!
Sponsored lenses are a fun and highly-engaging way for users to interact with your brand. Snapchat’s case study with Kraft Cheese shows how the company used this feature to spread the word about the fact that they had removed all artificial flavours, colours and preservatives from their mac and cheese. The brand worked together with Snapchat to create a sponsored lens where users could score points for catching macaroni in their mouths. The campaign had three objectives: brand engagement, invoke nostalgia and increase purchase intent. After the campaign it was found there was a 5 point increase in brand favorability and a 13% lift in purchase intent. The thing about lenses is they’re fun, if you’ve not tried them download the app to give it a go for yourself!
Another fun campaign was Taco Bell’s taco lens on Cinco de Mayo.
Advertising in Discover
Ad partners such as CNN, Cosmopolitan and MTV ask for top dollar to advertise through their Snapchat Discovery channel. Recode reports pricing starts from $100 for every thousand views. However, this advertising model is quite unique to the platform and ad buying is experimental in this area.
There is another way to advertise your brand or product via Snapchat and that’s through influencer marketing. This is where you pay an individual to promote your product or service to their fans. Celebrities have been endorsing products for years, but now the internet has turned everyday people into walking and talking billboards.
The rates are usually based on how many engaged followers an influencer has. Due to limited statistics and practically no analytical insights for Snapchat users, it’s quite hard to determine if an influencer’s following is actually influenced by them. If sales is your main aim, the easiest way to track this is by giving an influencer a free product or trial of your service, and a unique discount code. You can track how many sales you make using that code to determine the ROI. If brand awareness is your aim, you can see how many new website hits or Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram followers you gain after the influencer’s promotion.
Influencers will usually ask the fan to screenshot an upcoming snap with the details of the promotion as shown below.
Snapchat is a fun way to advertise to a specific demographic. One that consumes media through apps on their smartphones and no longer through free-to-air, pay TV or radio. The growing platform offers many fun and engaging advertising opportunities for your brand. And that’s the thing about Snapchat, it’s fun and engaging, and shows the quirky and real moments of its large user base’s lives. Whether or not you’re using the platform for paid or organic promotion, it’s an amazing opportunity to show the human side of your brand.
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