Maybe you’ve seen the latest data on Snapchat, estimating 100 million monthly active users, with 77% of college students using the app daily. Pretty convincing numbers, right? So why exactly isn’t Snapchat marketing part of your social media arsenal?
Well, we’re guessing it probably has something to do with the fact that all your carefully crafted content is guaranteed to disappear – usually in under 10 seconds – never to be seen again. It’s really an ingenious premise, and it’s the main attraction for users, but not if you’re a brand.
Who’s Already On Board
Nevertheless, all of those eyeballs are pretty tantalizing, and some brands are figuring out how to make self-destructing content work for them.
A frozen yogurt company named 16 Handles was the first to take the plunge, sending its Snapchat audience disappearing coupons that had to be redeemed right there at the register. The time limit created a sense of urgency among customers and sparked numerous impulse buys.
Since then, a handful of other brands have found ways to use Snapchat’s unique features to their advantage. Taco Bell has notably used the platform for sneak previews of returning menu items. Girls HBO treated their followers to special behind the scenes content. The possibilities are there, but the brands aren’t…at least not yet.
One of the main draws of Snapchat marketing in a social media strategy is the relative novelty of the app as a marketing platform. Facebook and Twitter have become overrun with ads, and users have become desensitized to advertising messages, not to mention frustrated!
This lack of overcrowding makes Snapchat an attractive option for marketers, and Snapchat realizes this. They are beginning to make an effort to appeal to brands as they look to find a consistent way to generate revenue, rolling out new features that could change the way companies look at Snapchat as an advertising vehicle.
Yes, you heard right. This past October, Snapchat finally broke down and opened up its doors to advertisements.
Ads appear in a section called “Recent Updates,” above all other “personal” snaps. Users can choose whether or not they want to view the ad. The ad remains at the top – a subtle reminder to the user that it still has not been viewed – for 24 hours. Then, true to Snapchat, it disappears.
The first ad to be released on Snapchat was a promo for Ouija, which gained significant press and social media chatter due to its shock value. Though some of the discussion was probably based around the fact that it was Snapchat’s first native ad, it certainly showcases the ability of a 24-hour Snapchat ad to generate traffic and attention.
Snapchat wants their advertisements to “tell you about stuff that actually interests you” – so this puts a premium on creating ads with sharable content. Currently there is no way to target ads towards users (something Snapchat deems “creepy”), however, with increased demand for analytics and targeting, this could be available in the future.
Transferring money via Snapchat? It sounds scary to us too, but it’s happening.
Last month, Snapchat teamed up with the money transfer service Square Cash to develop this feature, which is currently only available as a peer-to-peer service. However, clearly there is an opportunity for B2C transactions. Popular with an age group that values instant gratification and tends to trust their financial information in the hands of an app, Snapchat could become a great tool for businesses targeting younger generations.
Imagine if you could not only reach your customers with a limited time offer, but that they could make a purchase immediately with one press of a button on their screen. With an attractive offer, a time restriction, and a lightning fast way to purchase, it’s certainly something that merits consideration, especially if Snapchat does end up rolling out this capability for companies.
This summer, Snapchat opened up the Geofilter feature to its entire user base. Geofilters are community-designed creations that are available only when the user is located at a specific public place.
Snapchat has plans to offer this feature to businesses, and though these plans have not yet been disclosed, one possibility is for local businesses to pay for a branded geofilter to appear when users are in certain locations. For example, a smoothie shop could purchase a geofilter for a nearby park, so that anyone sending a Snapchat from that location would be aware of the establishment and also have the option to share that with their friends.
It remains to be seen how Snapchat will fully utilize these features to generate revenue, but it is clear that the foundation is being set. The app has value for marketers as a social media platform, especially when integrated within a fully comprehensive plan that crosses all the major channels.
It’s an exciting time for Snapchat marketing, with new features presenting different opportunities all the time. Companies that jump on board now will have an advantage in the future as these features develop into more effective tools for connecting brands big and small to their audience.