As Snapchat continues to grow, what role should it play in your brand’s social media marketing strategy?
Snapchat was certainly among the most-discussed social networks of 2016, with several rival companies (Facebook and Instagram) “adopting” its most successful features . Today, marketers are exploring how to integrate the platform into their marketing strategies, hoping to benefit from its consistent growth.
So what are the reasons you might want to invest in Snapchat marketing, and what role could it play in a wider strategy?
Reaching a young audience
Snapchat has typically appealed to young millennials. A ComScore report in 2015 found that 71% of Snapchat users were between 18 and 34. The ephemeral nature of the platform – where content is consumed and then disappears almost instantly – could be among the reasons for its disproportionate success with this demographic.
Despite the app’s significant growth over the past year, its core audience is still young today. It is estimated that Snapchat reaches on any given day 41% of all people aged 18 to 34 in the United States. This impressive engagement can be valuable for marketers and brands trying to understand a younger generation that goes beyond Facebook to explore new social platforms.
Testing ephemeral content
Snapchat was the first growing social app to introduce ephemeral content, with many platforms copying it afterwards. Snapchat’s Story feature was quickly embraced as a spontaneous way to share images and videos that only last 24 hours.
This created a new trend among brands who tried to keep up with the change by experimenting with content that was quick, fun, less polished and more authentic content.
Snapchat proved that content doesn’t always have to be evergreen to be engaging. In fact, if a brand manages to appeal to its target audience with this challenging type of content, then the chances of long-lasting engagement are increased. It is estimated that Snapchat’s users spend at least 30 minutes a day in the app, while they visit it on an average of 18 times per day – offering a great opportunity for brands to explore how to benefit from it.
Exploring vertical video content
Snapchat didn’t get popular only for its ephemeral content, but also for its vertical videos. Vertical ad units shortly followed, offering advertisers a native format with which to engage users. Their success led to a 9x higher completion rate when compared to horizontal mobile video.
What makes a vertical video more successful is the fact that it feels more natural for users to capture it while holding their phones, ensuring an engaging, full-screen experience. Many big brands took advantage of Snapchat’s vertical videos to produce engaging ads and it’s no surprise that more social apps followed in the trend of vertical video for brand storytelling.
Blending fun with ecommerce potential
From the launch of SnapCash to the discussions of improving its ecommerce potential, there are many reasons to believe that the social platform sees a valid reason to expand in this direction.
As with Facebook’s Messenger, social mobile apps can offer a quick method for users to discover a product and purchase it directly from the app, minimising friction in the user’s experience, helping the brands increase their sales.
This can also be facilitated by Snapchat’s decision to allow links to Stories, a feature that could be a game-changer for the platform.
What’s important for brands now is to understand the balance between authenticity, fun, and selling a product through Snapchat. It’s essential that brands understand Snapchat advertising is inherently disruptive – preventing users from completing the action they opened the app to do. An overly commercial message in this context is unlikely to be well-received.
Discovering new opportunities in location marketing
This feature provides a platform for marketers to explore location marketing through Snapchat. Although Snapchat is not yet offering advertising directly through Snap Map, there are still creative ways for brands to take advantage of this feature.
For example, NESCAFÉ encouraged users to gather their friends in one place , use the Snap Map and take a screenshot of the location. The idea was to create the largest ‘coffee break’ through the app, challenging people to gather as many friends as possible in one place.
This is the perfect campaign to showcase how creativity can lead to new marketing directions, even when a feature is still in an early stage.
Thinking outside the box
Part of Snapchat’s popularity can be attributed to its innovative features. What is important for brands joining Snapchat is to understand that traditional marketing methods may be less effective in this particular app. Therefore, it is useful to learn how the audience uses the platform, and follow similar tactics when trying to engage with them.
Creativity is critical and visual content has to be short, fun, and appealing. A closer look at the Discover section on Snapchat can give you a good idea of how popular brands and publishers use the platform for daily or weekly content creation.
Filters have also offered an engaging way for brands to reach a larger audience, as they are able to create sponsored ones to promote a product or a campaign. Moreover, Snapchat has made Snap Spectacles  available to the public through Amazon, allowing people to record 10 to 30-second video clips through them.
All of these indicate how an effective usage of Snapchat requires innovative marketing strategies, going beyond the expected to find success.
Reaching a global audience
Snapchat is trying to expand its audience all over the world. One strategy they’re pursuing is focusing on Android users, who seem to be more diverse globally.
According to Evan Spiegel, Snapchat has doubled the number of Android devices  among its users, reaching 166 million daily active users in Q1 2017. Although the growth has been slower than the last year, it is still an indication of an increasing and expanding audience.
Thus, there is an opportunity for marketers to benefit from Snapchat’s growth and explore its next steps along with the app. Despite the uncertainty this may involve, it is also an interesting time to be part of the app.
Taking advantage of its advertising platform
Snapchat launched a self-serve ad management platform  to help brands keep track of their advertising efforts through the platform. It was a highly desired feature that marketers couldn’t access in the app’s early stages.
It provides marketers with an overview of key metrics and introduces new insights to allow brands to experiment with advertising on Snapchat. It also takes advantage of the power of vertical video, appealing to Snapchat’s highly engaged audience.
Snapchat audiences have the potential to be extremely useful to marketers. Snapchat have recently improved its targeting capabilities with Snap Audience Match , which allows brands to use their own data – such as email addresses and mobile device IDs – to target existing audiences on the platform.
Moreover, the ad platform makes it easy to monitor a campaign’s performance in real-time and decide whether it’s effective by focusing on:
The future of Snapchat
It’s not easy to predict the future of Snapchat, especially when Facebook and Instagram seem to be out-competing Snapchat on many fronts by ‘borrowing’ its best features. However, Snapchat has so far risen to the challenge, embracing its role as a trend-setter and pushing the boat out with even more creative innovations.
Despite predictions of its imminent demise, there are still signs of its potential in ecommerce, location marketing, and other areas such as video. Powerful vertical video ads, Snap Spectacles and Snap Map are only a few examples that showcase that Snapchat is not out of the game yet.
The vast majority of brands are familiar with how to use social media mainstays like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But each of these social networks came from somewhere – and those brands who were prescient enough to get in on the ground floor were able to reap the “early adopter” rewards.
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Snapchat recently announced the launch of Snap Map, a new feature that could become very useful among brands looking for new ways to benefit from location marketing.
- ^ most successful features (www.clickz.com)
- ^ interesting opportunity for ecommerce brands (www.clickz.com)
- ^ introduced ‘Snap Map (www.clickz.com)
- ^ encouraged users to gather their friends in one place (wersm.com)
- ^ Snap Spectacles (www.clickz.com)
- ^ doubled the number of Android devices (techcrunch.com)
- ^ self-serve ad management platform (forbusiness.snapchat.com)
- ^ Snap Audience Match (uk.businessinsider.com)
- ^ justify ROI (www.clickz.com)