Snapchat has today announced a new closed beta test of brand profiles, which will provide more specific ways for brands to connect with Snapchatters in-app.
As explained by Snapchat:
"Brand Profiles offer a permanent home for brands on Snapchat, [bringing] various brand experiences for Snapchatters together into a single home on our service. With 229 million Snapchatters using the app daily, this real estate for our partners is especially important in a world where our millennial and Gen Z audiences can be hard to reach and build deep, authentic relationships with on many platforms."
As you can see above, the main focus of brand profiles on Snap is bringing the various brand elements now available in the app into a consolidated presence.
Brand profiles will enable brands to showcase:
- Branded AR Lenses - Brands will be able to save and showcase any Lenses they've created or commissioned on their profile, helping to maximize the value of their promotional tie-in AR experiences
- Highlights - Highlights will enable brands to showcase collections of their best public Snaps, Stories, photos, and videos right on their profile. As explained by Snap: "This is the best way for Snapchatters who aren’t familiar with a brand to get to know who they are"
- Story posts - Brands will also be able to showcase their own public Story on their brand profile, giving fans another perspective via the app
- Native Store - And lastly, brand profiles will also include an optional Store experience, which will enable Snapchatters to browse and purchase items directly within the app
This is a significant addition for Snapchat, which has long promoted itself as the place where friends connect. Of course, Snap has also showcased publisher content, via Discover, and brand promotions via ads and other partnerships. But the addition of specific brand profiles is another step towards expanding the scope of what, exactly, Snapchat is - though it's also doing so within the confines of the Snap experience, providing more ways for brands to showcase how they're utilizing Snap's various tools, as opposed to pushing alternate brand functionalities into the app.
The only exception to this is the Shop option, but Snapchat has been slowly integrating more eCommerce and on-platform shopping options for some time, so it's not a huge stretch to include a direct link to a native shopping experience in-app, from a user perspective.
In addition to this, Snapchat says that brands approved for official brand profiles will also get access to new mobile and web management tools to help them:
"...collaborate with team members, manage content, and review analytics. Similar to Public Profiles, brands can now see audience demographics and interests for those who view their Stories."
These are all significant additions in their own right, and will definitely make Snapchat a more appealing destination for brand building. Snapchat has long withheld in-depth analytics tools and features, but it has been slowly expanding them, with its Creator Profiles, which it launched last year, also getting access to more features.
Brand profiles actually look somewhat similar to Creator Profiles, which are also differentiated from regular user profiles in the app.
In addition to this, by creating a separate category for brand posts, that will open up new opportunities for Snap to expand its capacity for promotions, by enabling, for example, options to boost specific brand updates, Facebook-style, or to subject brand posts to an alternate distribution feed. That could lead to additional exposure potential - though in Facebook's case, it's used that to gradually limit brand reach. Brands will be hoping Snap doesn't go that same path.
Overall, it looks to be an interesting addition to the Snap experience, which will definitely hold appeal for brands looking to connect with younger audiences.
But brand profiles are not available to all just yet. At launch, a small group of brands will be approved to join the beta test, with Snap planning to expand the option to more businesses in the coming months.
This, along with its updated, simplified navigation tools, and improving discovery options, is another step towards making Snapchat more accessible, more open, and more appealing to a broader range of users.
And as a result, more businesses will likely be looking the app's way also.
You can read more about Snapchat business profiles here.