Nearing 200 million users, Snapchat has been on a meteoric rise since launching in 2011, and it doesn’t plan on changing that any time soon.
In case you are new to the service or just need a quick refresher, Snapchat is a mobile photo-messaging app allowing users to send transient photos or videos, known as “snaps,” to his or her friends.
Why You Should Get On Board
CEO of VaynerMedia Gary Vaynerchuk said it best:
Marketers need to be where people are paying attention. Snapchat has the attention of 13- to 25-year-olds in America. If that’s the demographic your business is trying to reach, Snapchat is where you need to be.
Though the content itself is fleeting, the value and impression it makes isn’t. Social Media Examiner makes a good point:
On many social media platforms, viewers scroll through content quickly. And even though those posts will be there forever, viewers will never see it again. Marketers are only grasping for 50% of users’ attention at a time, and those users never look back.
On Snapchat, there’s no looking back (well, unless sneak a screen capture). Thus, for however long your content lasts, you have 100% of your viewers’ attention. Nowadays, that’s rare.
This challenges brands to get really creative. Take frozen yogurt shop 16 Handles, for instance. Their “Snappy New Year” promotion asked fans to snap themselves with 16 Handles froyo in exchange for a custom coupon.
Coupons ranged from 10% to 100%, but fans had to wait until they were getting their next froyo at to see how much their coupon was worth. This got fans in the door and coming back for more.
Other brands have used the service to offer sneak peeks and insider info for upcoming products and events.
Snapchat celebrity Shaun McBride, known as Shonduras, has represented brands like Disney and Taco Bell on the platform and uses Snapchat to involve and engage his fans in projects.
In one example, Shaun created a Jurasnap Park, playing off of Jurassic Park, and invited fans to send him selfies of themselves as dinosaurs. He then took screenshots and reposted all the dinosaur snaps for everyone to see. He engaged fans by pulling them into what became a collective project.
— Shonduras (@Shonduras) June 22, 2014
Brands should take a page from Shaun’s book:
The fun thing about Snapchat is that if you’re genuine and just having fun on the platform, it’s probably going to be pretty successful. You don’t get a direct return on investment—it’s not X amount of posts means X amount of dollars means X amount of sales. It’s you having fun behind the scenes. In return your consumers will be happy and you’re creating a better experience.
Now, having fully convinced you to give Snapchat a chance, let’s take a look at the service’s latest innovations:
In late 2013, Snapchat introduced Stories, a collection of Snaps with a lengthened 24-hour lifespan. By last June, Stories became the most popular aspect of the app, drawing more than 1 billion views daily.
Think of the potential impressions! Stories allow brands to go beyond one-to-one interactions with a “one-to-many” broadcast similar to other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
The film industry, in particular, is leveraging Snapchat Stories to promote upcoming movies. For example, Pitch Perfect 2 encouraged viewers to follow them through its Super Bowl ad.
Marketing Land writes:
Building a fan base now is one potential advantage. Another is that at some point, it feels inevitable that Snapchat will make it easier for its users to actually discover other people and brands who want to share on a one-to-many basis.
In June 2014, Snapchat introduced Our Story, which allows Snapchatters to contribute to a shared Snap Story when in the same event location, such as music festivals, football games, even the Oscars. Once again, a feature championing group effort proved immensely popular.
25 million people watched the recent Snowmageddon Our Story—that’s the same number of people who tuned in to watch the Grammy Awards this year. What’s more, users took a screenshot of it 5,000 times. That’s a lot of saves!
From a brand standpoint, Our Story is a great chance to showcase your event.
Most recently, Snapchat introduced Discover, which gives users access to content called “editions,” consisting of video, photos and text from 12 media companies, including Snapchat’s own editorial team.
In an effort to set itself apart from other social platforms, Snapchat is aiming to incorporate traditional media channels in a new way:
It’s [Snapchat Discover] the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first. This is not social media.
Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important.
Each channel brings something unique, and editions are refreshed every 24 hours. For millennials, the opportunity to get their news in just minutes is invaluable, as proven by Twitter.
Discover gives brands a permanent place for the first time on Snapchat, making content available to any of its 200 million users, regardless of whether they are a connection to the brand. However, Discover content is not being pushed out to a live feed. Users opt in to watch when they seek out the Discover page, which could be a downside to the feature.
Nevertheless, major brands are jumping on the bandwagon. CNN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, ESPN, Food Network, National Geographic, and Warner Music are just a few. Even celebrities are getting in on the action. Madonna premiered her new single, “Living for Love,” on Snapchat Discover.
Whether Discover is Snapchat’s next great success, only time will tell. In the meantime, check it out for yourself! It doesn’t hurt to take a look at what some brands already on Snapchat are doing.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Acura (acura_insider)
- Free People (freepeople)
- General Electric (generalelectric)
- GrubHub (grubhub)
- Heineken (heineken)
- Major League Baseball (mlb)
- Sour Patch Kids (SourPatchSnaps)
- Taco Bell (tacobell)
Are you on board?
**Written by Marketing intern Victoria Taylo, Communication major at Boston University (Class of 2015).