Digital Marketing | Opinion

Getting Snaphappy: the marketing wonders of Snapchat

Lois Wentworth takes a look at the rise and power of live streaming giant, Snapchat.

14 September 2016 ( words)
Lois Wentworth Lois Wentworth

Snapchat is home to 310 million monthly active users.

The recent news that Snapchat is going to start using targeting methods for its ads begs the question 'why are only 1% of advertisers using the platform?' now even more so than ever.  We are way beyond debating whether or not a social media presence is beneficial for businesses, but many brands are still sceptical over Snapchat. 

Now, advertisers will be able to use three targeting methods to choose where their ads go: Snap Audience Match, Snap Lifestyle Categories and Snap Lookalikes. The first targets its ads based on email addresses and device IDs (users will also have the ability to opt-out), the second targets users depending on what video content they generally watch and the final method allows brands to target based on whether a user resembles their current type of customer. This announcement is a big one; however, with the impermanence of its content and limited ability to engage one-on-one with customers, many companies are yet to jump on the Snapwagon. This platform, however, presents unique ways in which your brand can be presented and the sharpest organisations out there are currently unlocking its potential.

Snapstats

As of June 2016, it was reported that Snapchat is home to 310 million monthly active users. An estimated 60% of daily users contribute content and Snapchatters watch 10 billion videos a day between them. These figures are staggering and demonstrate the immense scale of Snapchat, but who are these people? What demographics will brands be reaching if they decide to leverage the ultimate power of the platform?

Snapchat reaches 41%25 of all 18 to 34 year-olds in the US every day.

Image courtesy of Snapchat.com

The infographic above applies to the U.S. but the story in the UK is not dissimilar, as 70% of Snapchatters are over 18. This shows that the majority of users are young, social media savvy twenty-somethings. If this is your target market and you're still asking the question 'Snapwhat?' then hang around to discover why you can't do without it.

Snapchat's App-eal...

So what are the unique pros of this app that cannot necessarily be brought to you by Facebook, Twitter or any other platform?

Interaction

As aforementioned, the ability to interact with users personally on Snapchat is limited, especially if you're a big brand. That hasn't stopped some companies from being creative and giving it a go... with great success. From GrubHub's SnapHunt contest to General Electric's #EmojiScience, some businesses out there have created a buzz by interacting personally with Snapchatters. This has a beneficial ripple effect across other platforms, as pictures and videos get reposted – sometimes with the use of a unique hashtag.

Transparency

We hate to break it to you, but if you're a brand on Snapchat, it's unlikely that you're the main reason that people are opening the app. They want to see if their mate John is having a 'sick' time at Leeds Fest or try out a new lens that turns you into a cat. Your brand's Snapchat story is going to be in and amongst these, which is a fantastic place for you to be. It means that your business will be viewed more intimately than a distant brand and what's more, you're not ramming direct marketing down the viewers' throat. You have the opportunity to create real transparency for your organisation and brand image, which is a great way to generate trust through the use of un-Photoshopped images and raw footage. Users will be able to get exclusive 'behind the scenes' views of what goes on in your offices and how the company operates. One particular business that does this well is Ann Summers; Snapchatters are able to feel like they're in on the office banter, as well as get special VIP passes to see Vicky Pattinson's photoshoot or a sneak peek of the upcoming 2017 Spring/Summer range.

Engagement

The way that Snapchat works means that anything posted on the platform is ephemeral, meaning that you can encourage ongoing engagement with your users as you consistently publish new content. This is a unique form of interaction with users; not only does it equal repeat usage, it also means that you can publish content that you wouldn't post on other platforms. A photo of the office team eating samosas on a Friday for people to see forevermore would be #weird on Facebook, but a novelty pic on Snapchat would be #bants.

Awareness

Serena Williams snapchat
Image from Adweek.com

The previous advantages listed are simple but effective ways that your company can capitalise on the app. Better yet, they're more or less free, as all that is needed is a Snapchat account and someone to man it. Some bigger companies, however, have found Snapchat so beneficial that they've invested the big bucks. If you have a few £100,000s to spare then why not create and release a sponsored Snapchat lens? Gatorade did just this on Super Bowl Sunday, which would have had a hefty price tag, but Snapchatters played with the lens for an average of 30 seconds before sending it to their friends, and the lens accumulated 165,000,000 views. That's a lot of time that people were giving undivided attention to the brand.

In addition to lenses, it's also possible to invest in a geofilter. These are exactly what they sound like; you head over to the Snapchat website and draw out the location where you would like your filter to be able to appear and upload your graphic.

This is free for designers who want to create unbranded filters for specific locations, or there is a fee to pay for individuals and businesses that want to incorporate logos and branded content. This is a great idea if your business has an event coming up, or you want to raise brand awareness within the local community. It may come as a relief to some that the recent changes don't mean that geofilters and lenses will be audience-targeted, meaning that you will still have the complete range of animal-face lenses at your fingertips - phew!

Conversions

Beyond engaging with your audience and promoting your brand, is there a way that businesses can get actual conversions from Snapchat? The answer is yes, of course! It is the almighty Snapchat, after all. With Snapchat's ads API, brands have the opportunity to work with Snapchat Partners to create and publish Snap Ads to appear in the app.

Nike Snap Ad
Image from Nike Snapchat

This Nike Snap Ad was recently featured in the Sky Sports publication. It has the option to swipe up and 'Shop Now', which takes you through to the Nike online store. This is quite mind-blowing, and even more so when you consider that the swipe-up rate for Snap Ads is 5 times higher than comparable actions (e.g. click-through rate) on other platforms. Think about the opportunities that this holds for your business, especially when considering the rapidly growing amount of e-commerce that occurs on mobile. Now, advertisers will be able to do even more with Snap Ads as they can target them to certain types of users to make conversions more likely. Not only that, but you could really take advantage of Snapchat's mobile-only presence and promote app installs with your Snap Ad. 

When all of these benefits are taken into consideration, it seems hard to believe that so few advertisers are currently leveraging Snapchat's potential. There are certain things that mean that its impact can be limited, especially if you're not assigning a solid budget to Snapchat initially – for instance, the restricted ability for one-to-one interaction and the fact that it is difficult to track metrics if you're not using a lens or a Snap Ad. Also, the recent announcement included the news that Snapchat currently has no plans to allow advertisers to remarket to customers... perhaps that will be next time?

It is undoubtedly a channel that must be experimented with, and if brands from General Electric to Ann Summers are experiencing success, then why can't you? If you want to know more about Snapchat (or any other social channel) or have want a chat about your social strategy then please get in touch.

Lois Wentworth

Author: Lois Wentworth