Social platform Snapchat fills a very specific niche within the social media landscape. Find out what makes it special and how it works, so you can decide how best to add it to your organization’s marketing mix.
Evolution of Marketing on Snapchat
Snapchat launched in 2011. The platform is based on a social media concept founder Evan Spiegel and some of his friends conceived during class time at Stanford. The idea was so innovative (and so relevant to a major segment of its own users) that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made a serious play to buy Snapchat just a year later for $3 billion.
Unlike social media predecessors which created feeds, profiles and updates that users could re-share, re-tweet and return to, Snapchat’s platform launched with an opposite proposition, allowing its users to create “disappearing” media including photos and short videos that (literally) could be viewed once by recipients before the platform deleted them.
Two years after its launch, Snapchat updated their platform with a new feature, giving users the ability to add their photos and short videos to Stories as well as share directly with other users. In keeping with the platform’s concept of temporary, “in the moment” social updates, Stories also expire and are deleted 24 hours from publication.
A hit with teenagers right out of the gate, by the time the platform reached the ripe old age of three years old, 40 percent of 18 year olds in the U.S. were using Snapchat on a daily basis. In summer 2014, Snapchat introduced geofilters, making it easier for users to share their location along with their photos and videos (presumably also laying the groundwork for monetization that allows brand marketers to geo-target sponsored content).
By its fourth year, 60 percent of Americans aged 13-34 who have smartphones were Snapchat users. Though it was already on the radar of brand marketers and advertising media, it wasn’t until the platform launched a new feature called Discover in January 2015 that Snapchat monetized itself by making the platform practical to sponsored brand content and partner ads.
Even though Snapchat is not even five years old yet, it now has an active user base of more than 100 million users (which includes the White House as of January 2016) who send more than 400 million snaps and view more than 7 billion videos every day on the platform. In fact, 36 percent of Americans aged 18-29 have a Snapchat account, and it’s the fastest-growing social network among Millennials.
Brands Having Success on Snapchat
According to Snapchat.com, “Snaps are the best way to reach 13 to 34 year olds.” Aside from the obvious target market demographic – millennials – another way to determine whether your business should be using Snapchat is to take a look at the list of brands partnering with the site for sponsored content. Among these brands using Discover you will find publishers like the Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Cosmopolitan, CNN and Fusion, the entertainment giant iHeartMedia, retailers like Refinery29, organizations like the NFL and the White House, as well as politicians, celebrities and other newsmakers.
Using Snapchat could be right for your business if one or both of these factors is true:
- Millennials and the TBD (to be determined) generations coming afterward are your organization’s main target market.
- Your business is established (with older generations) but you want to ensure that it is relevant to younger and emerging generations of U.S. consumers as well.
To be successful using the platform for marketing, your strategy will need to include taking frequent photos and short videos that demonstrate the value of your organization’s products, services, culture, values, etc., especially if you plan to build a brand following and use Snapchat’s Discover to build brand awareness and drive web traffic or customer visits.
How to Get Started if Marketing on Snapchat is Right for Your Business
From the home page at Snapchat.com, navigate to its ads page which offers additional statistical proof of the validity of the platform as a marketing tool. Scroll down to ads FAQ and find out about Snapchat ad targeting capabilities including local targeting, metrics and analytics and advice regarding the most effective ad format for the platform. Here you can also glean more information about the Snapchat user base, which includes U.S. users as follows:
- 23 percent of 13-17 year olds
- 37 percent of 18-24 year olds
- 26 percent of 25-34 year olds
- 12 percent of 35-54 year olds
- 2 percent of Americans 55 and older
Your business can also create its own Geofilter, so that Snappers who are taking photos or videos at (or near) your business can easily tag it with a Geofilter that refers back to your brand or location. For more details, you will want to review Snapchat’s Brand Guidelines which cover a wide range of topics and allow you to connect with Snapchat’s Business Development Team directly to get more information.
Snapchat’s popularity among users under the age of 30 makes it a social media platform whose marketing benefits must be considered by brand marketers; its uniqueness makes it a platform that can offer something no other social network brings to the table. Emerging and established brands alike can benefit from using Snapchat as a marketing tool, especially if they want to become more relevant to millennials and the next generations that will follow.
What about you? Do you use Snapchat for marketing? Share your experience with our readers in the comments below or tweet a comment to us at @KabbageInc