If you have Snapchat, chances are you may have seen advertisements from the likes of Cosmopolitan, McDonald's or Samsung recently appearing on the app.
With over 1 million users worldwide, it's no surprise that brands are scrambling to advertise on the platform and willing to pay around $750,000 - pretty cheap compared to what it may cost to advertise on television. Snapchat advertisements will also reach a large teen audience, who are notoriously difficult to reach.
But why is the app so popular with its users?
As a result of the web and social media boom, our attention spans are smaller than ever. With notifications, alerts, IM and various other forms of communication all wanting a slice of our attention, offering instant gratification through the form of a 'like' or comment, we focus on content for a very short period of time before we feel we want to move on to the next. And this is what our brains are getting used to. How long can you concentrate on reading a lengthy blog post or product website before your mind wanders and thinks about checking your phone or email?
Snapchat are well and truly capitalizing on dwindling attention spans. The "watch it now and it's gone forever" concept means that users understand it's not going to take up "vast" amounts of time; perhaps it's worth watching for 10 seconds or so and... why not watch? It's only ten seconds after all. And, because there's a limited amount of time before the content disappears we're perhaps more likely to check it out to ensure we aren't missing anything. Snapchat effectively builds anticipation in this way.
But the popularity of the app means that prices to advertise will undoubtedly rise (the platform is currently valued at $10 billion) meaning it will be out of reach for many to even think about. However, brands have also been creating their own Snapchat accounts for some time now and can effectively send snaps out to targeted audiences who have willingly added them as a contact. Because of this, its popularity will only continue to rise as a digital marketing solution.
Is the popularity of Snapchat changing the way we consume media?
It's clear that Snapchat is a game-changer. Facebook are now looking at ways to introduce ephemeral content in the form of posts that will expire after a given amount of time - it is currently being trialled by a selection of Facebook for iPhone users.
Perhaps a significant proportion of content will come with an expiry date in the future.
If this is the case, it's never been more important to understand what an audience want to see, what will entertain them and what they will repeat to their friends. Perishable content means that the time to grab the attention of an audience is getting shorter, but if social media monitoring of channels such as Twitter and Facebook takes place, we can really listen to what people are saying and use this to form content that will make a lasting impression, even after a few seconds.