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How Brands Can Take Advantage of Snapchat Marketing

By , Social Media Coordinator and Public Relations Specialist, Hanson Dodge

March 18, 2016

Let’s talk Snapchat.

It’s huge, boasting over 100 million active users, who collectively send 400 million snaps a day. In fact, Snapchat is more popular among American teens than Facebook. Whoa. It’s millennial heavy, with 45% of Snapchat users aged between 18-24, and 71% under 34 years old. Double whoa. It’s also content-driven, with 8,796 photos shared per second and 6 billion watched videos a day. Triple whoa. Basically, if your brand isn’t making moves towards Snapchat then you are losing some serious social media cred.

So why are only 1% of advertisers using Snapchat?

Well, a few things.

No one knows where to start. There are a few pioneers who have leapt into the Snapchat game, paving the way for brands of the future. Lacoste, Gatorade, Target and Taco Bell all come to mind here. Gatorade recently saw 160 million impressions during their Super Bowl campaign—more than the game itself. Their secret? A sponsored animated filter where users could get a cooler of the classic sports drink “spilled” over their heads. It was relevant to sports fan, timely to football’s biggest event, universally understood and, most important of all, fun. Gatorade allowed users to take a part of the game home with them. The ironic part? The only branding on the filter was a small “G” on the cooler.

But with an API still in the works and minimal data to measure ROI, brands are really taking a risk by investing time and resources into a channel that could maybe work for them. Still very much in its infancy, marketing on Snapchat has really only just begun.

Brands aren’t top of mind. Of 100 surveyed Snapchat users, roughly 42% never use a branded filter and 54% never watch Discover stories. Ouch. As rings true with millennial behavior overall, Snapchat is still regarded as an app for self expression and connecting with friends, meaning brands have a challenge right from the start.

How do you tackle this challenge?

Innovative content and consumer experience.

At its roots, Snapchat is made for content. It’s what initially made it stand out among its competitors and what keeps its user base active. Snapchat is for creativity, used as a lens into the lives of other. It’s a steady stream of engaging videos and images, where likes and comments do not matter. The recent introduction of on-demand geofilters (for as low as $5) and animated lenses really bring this home. It’s fun, laidback, and meant to make you think about and consume content in 10 seconds or less.

How should a brand approach a Snapchat presence?

Consider this:

1. What’s the goal? Consider the immediate impact Snapchat has on sales vs. awareness given your current strategy and budget. With no direct way to gauge Snapchat success using traditional social and Google analytics, can you afford to allocate time and resources to consistently create captivating content?

2. Know your audience. Understand what drives your target and what matters to them. What do they want to see? What influences their behaviors? What can your brand do to enhance their experience? Most importantly, are they the right target for this platform? If you cater to a much older audience, then this channel is likely a waste of time. Even if your target is Millennial-heavy, will they respond well to your presence on the mobile app? There’s a reason why a company like Allstate hasn’t made the jump yet. Car insurance? Meh.


3. Keep consumer experience top of mind. Snapchat has a very particular culture. Content is not meant to be polished or well composed, and don’t even think about making your brand’s MyStory more than 30 seconds long, unless it’s part of the overall strategy. Approach Snapchat like a user, not a marketer. Keep it sincere and genuine.

The good news? Snapchat is clearing the road for brands. The app recently announced brands will be able to view Snapchat campaigns with Nielsen Ad Ratings and an API is expected to be released within the year. Combine this with the right approach and your audiences will take note. Soon the question will be not if your brand can be on Snapchat, but when?

Want to explore if Snapchat is the tool for you? Give us a call. We’d be happy to take a look.

Cesar Gomez, Social Media Coordinator and Public Relations Specialist, Hanson Dodge

A passionate storyteller with an obsession for social media, Cesar combines a creative mentality with strategic thinking to offer Hanson Dodge's clients impactful social media strategies that deliver results. With experience in a variety of industries, he tailors meaningful content to impact community growth, engagement, web traffic and conversion while bringing the consumer experience to new levels.

A graduate from Marquette University, Cesar loves exploring the latest in social media and keeping up with his social media street cred. You can find him on Snapchat or chowing down on a good burger, preferably at the same time.

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