Snapchat Has Grown Up: What You Need To Know As A Marketer

From the beginning Snapchat made the news for growing very quickly and as a favorite of Teens/Millennials. Yet this rising social media star also had a negative reputation of being a network for seedy activity such as 'sexting'. But that was so two years ago. This HuffingtonPost article gives interesting insight into how the social network shed that image. Whatever Snapchat’s past today this social network has emerged as a serious consideration for marketers.

What’s more mainstream than the Tonight Show and Presidential Candidates?​

Most recent Snapchat stats

  • 77% of Snapchat users are over the age of 18
  • 100 million Snapchat users are active daily
  • 7 billion videos are viewed daily on Snapchat
  • 60% of 13-34 year-olds are Snapchat users
  • Brands can see 80% Snapchat engagement rates

A lot has changed since this article “Thinking About Snapchat Advertising? Snap Out of It” appeared in Advertising Age in 2014. All the numbers above are impressive, but the big one is engagement rate. Snapchat marketers have reached engagement rates of 80% compared to Facebook where a 1% engagement rate is now considered good. Cosmopolitan has reported that they get up to 3 million views a day via their Snapchat Stories. It's icing on the cake that their user demographics have matured along with this 2011 startup.

Are you still new to Snapchat and just don’t get it? Here are some Snapchat basics. Some of these are courtesy of technology reviewer Joanna Stern from The Wall Street Journal – yes that's how grown up this social channel has become.

Snapchat Basics

  • Snaps: Photos and 10 second videos you send to one or many friends that disappear after they are viewed. Sent and received snaps are to the left of your home screen.
  • Story: A series of pictures or videos that stick around for 24 hours. Friends’ stories are found to the right of the home screen. Users can also broadcast stories for all to see.
  • Chat: One-to-one texts that disappear once you navigate away from the chat screen. Chats are found to the left of the home screen.
  • Camera: Press once on round camera button to take a photo. Hold down for video. Pinch the screen to zoom. Switch from rear to front camera by double tapping. All photos and videos are vertical.
  • Effects: Hold down on the screen and you will get a selection of special effects or “Lenses” matched to facial movements.
  • Text & Art: Tap the text icon then resize by pinching and adjust color. Tap the emoji button and add drawings with the doodling tool.
  • Filters: Swipe right to add time, temp stamp, or a location theme. Keep swiping to add multiple filters and effects.
  • Friends: Adding friends in Snapchat is not easy. You must know their Snapchat Username or have them in your contacts.
  • Snapcodes: A way to promote your Snapchat account and add friends. Share your Snapcode (like a QR code) on other channels to get friends in Snapchat by them scanning it on their phone to add.

Grow Snapchat friends on established channels by promoting Snapcodes

Marketing on Snapchat

One way for a brand to succeed on Snapchat is to grow friends organically and create valuable daily content. This does take a lot of effort, but may be worth it for the stats above that other social media channels many not deliver. It's also good to note that you can always screenshot or save the content you create on Snapchat and post on other channels to be repurposed beyond the 24 hour story expiration.

If you don’t have the patience or large audience base to draw from other social channels to grow organically, Snapchat does offer several native advertising ways to buy your way in.

Brands can appear in the Live section under stories - like Chobani, which paid to be a part of Snapchat’s College Game Day Live story integrated in two slots in the story. Live story aggregates content from a mix of fans to highlight events happening now.

Brands can also buy their way into the Discover section under stories. Discover is for publishers, but brands can partner with publishers like Cosmopolitan, CNN, BuzzFeed, or Food Network to co-create story content. Dunkin’ Donuts created a campaign with ESPN’s Snapchat Discover channel to promote the food chain to football fans with fun, playful shorts.

Adweek has reported that Snapchat's now also selling promoted snaps that appear in users recent updates feed and last for 24 hours. Brands can also purchase Selfie Filters. Both of these options are very pricey, but the network says an effort like Sponsored Selfie Filters can reach up to 16 million people a day.

Brand filters. Photo illustration: Diana McDougall; Source: Snapchat

The Bottom Line

Snapchat is the new frontier for most major brands. The latest report I could find says that only 1% of brands are on Snapchat. This is good for early advantage, but it also means experimentation and more work. Social media monitoring and publishing software has also not caught up so all content creation must be done within the app.

Snapchat may be labor intensive, but the stats above show that it may be worth the investment. At least, that is, until Snapchat get crowded with us older people and marketers and everyone moves on to the next big thing.

This post originally appeared on Keith Quesenberry’s blog

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