Marketing with Snapchat

For those of you that have teenagers, you will likely already be in tune with Snapchat.

For the rest of you, listen up. Snapchat, an app and platform with an average of over 200 million monthly users, has surpassed Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in terms of capturing the attention of young users.

A study by Mashable reports that a whopping 77% of students use Snapchat everyday. If today’s young adults are the business leaders of tomorrow, these figures should make everyone sit up and take note.

Just what is Snapchat?

Snapchat has been described asa mobile app that allows users to send pics, videos and messages that self destruct after a few seconds.”At the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, CEO Evan Spiegel described it as “a layered-but-simplistic mixture of photo-sharing, messaging, crowdsourcing and professional storytelling.”

From a simple concept, a £20 billion company has emerged. Teens and young adults who love to share every little aspect of their lives with friends flourish in the secretive, cocoon-like world of Snapchat. With its disappearing pictures, videos and messages, users feel safe in the knowledge that their conversations are completely private, and won’t stay around to haunt them. Facebook has lost its appeal to many a young person, due to pages being infiltrated with family members, extended family members, next door neighbours, bosses - you get the picture!

How will Snapchat work in marketing?

Returning to the research, the figures show that Snapchat is used mainly for:

  1. creativity (37%)
  2. keeping in touch (27%)
  3. texting (23%)

Spiegel has certainly caught the eye of some big name brands with the simple concept of Snapchat. This includes McDonald’s, who projected its Super Bowl TV campaign on Snapchat, amongst other platforms.

The Discover Feature - This offers bite sized news stories from media sources, such as Daily Mail Online, CNN, and National Geographic, opening up a whole new approach to engaging younger audiences with worldwide concerns. Each publisher creates a short entertaining story bundle that remains visible for 24 hours and then disappears. It’s predicted that this approach will offer established, maturing brands an invitation to the young minds of today.

Our Stories - Although not brand owned, these are brand sponsored. The sponsored brand is featured in the form of 10 second branded interstitials, embedded within the Our Story videos.

"3V" the vertical video - Cannes attendee Carolyn Gargano of industry leaders Saatchi and Saatchi Wellness was so enamoured by the innovative mobile storytelling format she said: "I can now go and talk to clients about creating for Snapchat." Spiegel and his team are fully embracing "3V" ads (vertical, video, views), which sees video ads being slotted into content, rather than appearing before videos. 3V also dispenses with the annoying requirement of flipping the phone to view.

Equally interesting is what Snapchat’s ads won’t include: data-driven online ads, pop-up banners and targeted ads derived from sites previously visited.

GrowthShow me the money!

Back to the surveys once more. Almost 50% of Snapchat users said they would open an ad from an unknown brand and 73% said they would open one from a brand they knew.

However, a study by Millward Brown shows that 60 percent of users enjoyed ads on Our Stories, rated more than three times higher compared to other regular mobile ads. One major issue, however, is that while Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn results are trackable through analytics such as Hootsuite, as of today, Snapchat isn’t.

With the sheer size of the market Snapchat has under its umbrella, it would be advertising suicide not to include this exciting new platform into your budget. As with tweeting, tagging and plussing, even if you aren’t yet chatting with pictures, you can bet it won’t be long before you are!

Photo by Adam Przezdziek