Everything brands need to know about Snapchat
A number of brands struggle to reach the younger demographics; those that are unable to embrace the ever evolving world of social media are at a distinct advantage. With the younger generation leaning away from the “retro” sites where their parents dwell (Facebook and Twitter), the more visually based apps and platforms are becoming hugely appealing.
Launched back in 2011, Snapchat is already claiming over 100 million monthly (active) users and over 400 million ‘snaps’ sent daily. The photo sharing app leverages the short-attention span and impulsivity of youth perfectly, allowing you to send random selfies to your friends that only last a few seconds.
The Discover feature is the latest update to the app; having been rolled out only last month it gives the app a potential for becoming the first choice source of news. Since 60% of Millennials rely on social media for their updates on current affairs this was the logical next step for the company.
One change that has had mixed responses is the removal of the “best friends” lists. This allowed you to see who your contacts snapped with the most. The feature was very popular among its many teenage users as it allowed them to spy on who they’re sending lots of pics (risqué or not) to.
The feature will however be making a return but in a “new form” in order to keep certain high profile usernames private. Although not hugely relevant to brands, this feature could allow you to connect with your top fans’ friends and therefore extend your reach to a very relevant audience.
The Story feature is by far the most useful for brands and marketers. This is where you can upload snaps to be seen by all your contacts any amount of time for 24 hours. After this time limit is up the photo or video is deleted.
This can allow brands to give out time-limited offers and voucher codes, or even sneak-peaks to new releases. The trick is to give your fans something exclusive that will make them feel special. This should be considered across all social networks but the automatic destruction of the snap gives users more incentive to view your updates in fear of missing a special offer.
It makes sense that the higher powers want to monetise the app and transform it into a source of revenue but they claimed that it’s also to try and bring back the “way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted”. This may seem like a noble mission but you could read their message as: success with paid ads on Snapchat will require ingenuity and original creativity. This is true on any marketing channel, but with a target audience who have grown up in the age of digital and are notoriously fickle on social, it’s even more relevant here.
It could be argued that the lack of brand involvement at the start helped with Snapchat’s popularity. The demand for ad-free social networking is high and although sites like Ello haven’t exactly taken the world by storm, they definitely fit a need.
In fact, if you visit the Snapchat website, you have to sit through a longer-than-necessary video clip before reaching the homepage. There is a menu at the bottom of the page during the video, but it’s only visible if you hover your mouse over that area which isn’t obvious. The website may not be the main target destination but the heavy presence of sponsorship and paid ads is somewhat off putting.
Unlike Ello though, Snapchat is very well suited for brand involvement; companies like MTV and American Eagle are proving it can be done, and can be done well. It’s unclear whether the increase in corporate involvement will cause users to lose interest over time, but right now it’s where brands need to be to get the attention of a younger audience.