Every morning, I sift through all my favorite apps: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Chive, Snapchat, and back to Facebook one more time for good measure. Before I’m even fully awake, I immerse myself in the online world. I know I’m not alone in doing so, as many memes reassure me of this.
So, it’s no surprise that social media drives consumer engagement and builds brand recognition. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all great channels, but brands may be missing out if they aren’t taking advantage of Snapchat.
With a $16 billion valuation, Snapchat has more than 150 million daily users who spend an average of 25 to 30 minutes on the app every day. Naysayers will point out that Facebook has roughly 10 times as many daily active users, but those users spend less time on Facebook (20 minutes per day) and are responsible for just as many daily video views (8 billion) as Snapchat’s users.
As of June 2016, Snapchat has more active daily users than Twitter. Going from 110 million daily users in December to generating 40 million more in just six months, Snapchat is growing at a rapid pace.
Even hard-hitting news outlets like CNN and the Wall Street Journal have recognized the importance of a strong Snapchat presence, as it’s Snapchat is a great way for them to reach a younger audience.
Now, if you’re a marketer targeting high-level decision makers at B2B companies, then Snapchat isn’t your best bet. But if you’re trying to reach a predominantly young market, between theages of 13 and 34, then Snapchat may be a worthwhile investment.
Discover a Brand’s Lighter Side
Brands such as ESPN, Cosmopolitan and Daily Mail are fixtures on Snapchat’s Discover page. You tap on an outlet’s name (which displays their lead story) and a continuous stream of “My Stories” plays on a loop for 24 hours. As of June 7, the entire design layout of Discover was changed to a more visually pleasing and user-friendly display.
Users can click on any of these outlets to see content published on a 24-hour cycle. These outlets publish content that’s unique to Snapchat, enabling them to bring some personality to their writing rather than just promoting hard-hitting news. Users can screenshot a funny photo then send it directly to a friend. It’s similar to sending a text with a caption saying, “Hey I saw this cute dog and needed you to see it.” Photos like the one below from the Discover brands are sent by users to their friends through Snapchat’s direct messaging feature.
Users are also encouraged to personalize brands’ snaps by drawing lines or adding their own phrases, essentially making it their own before sharing directly with their Snapchat friends.
Interacting with a brand’s “My Story” is like a mini game to people. By allowing users to personalize the content, it helps the brand break through the clutter of static online ads.
Also, because each photo or “My Story” only lasts 24 hours, users have an increased sense of urgency to share those moments with their friends and check back to the brand’s snapstory daily to see what else they can share.
Seeing Brands through Another Lens
Another unique Snapchat feature is the ability for businesses to create sponsored Snapchat Lenses. Snapchat said its users are including Lenses in about 10 million snaps per day. Lenses give users a way to augment selfies. These are often goofy animations that are overlaid on your selfie. One popular default Lens, which debuted when Lenses were first introduced, is a rainbow that pours out of your mouth. Snapchat adds new Lenses daily (there are only seven to choose from on any given day) and replaces the oldest one with newer ones. That means Lenses eventually disappear for good (again, creating a sense of urgency).
The most successful brand-sponsored Lens was Taco Bell’s recent campaign on Cinco de Mayo which transformed the user’s face into a giant taco. The Taco Bell taco filter was viewed more than 224 million times.
The fees Snapchat is asking advertisers to cough up are similarly hefty: $450,000 per day for Sunday to Thursday, $500,000 for Fridays and Saturdays, and $700,000 for holidays.
With the average person fiddling with the filter for around 24 seconds before snapping, it was essentially a 24-second commercial for Taco Bell. Considering Taco Bell’s Lens lasted 24 hours, the $750,000 price tag seems well worth the price of admission compared to a 30-second, non-interactive TV advertisement.
Get In-Demand with a Geofilter
Prices for the In-Demand Geofilters start out as low as $5 and vary based on the time, size and location of the campaign. You can choose spaces that are a minimum of 20,000 square feet — about the size of an average office — to a maximum of 5,000,000 square feet — roughly a few city blocks.
If you have an upcoming event, why not create a Geofilter that those attendees can snap to their friends? The intimacy and exclusivity of being able to use a specific Geofilter in a certain location drives FOMO (fear of missing out). When people are snapping with a creative Geofilter at an event, their friends want to come join to be able to use it as well.
People using your Geofilter essentially become brand ambassadors promoting your business for free! Snapchat makes it simple to create a filter. There’s no need to be a design expert to make one. Follow these easy steps to create one for your company today.
Get Snapping and Go Shopping
Consider the “right now” mentality people have. For example, if a retail store is looking to increase their Snapchat followers and promote their business, they can put sales/offers on their My Story that is shared with everyone who follows them. On their other social media platforms, they post, “Check out our great deal only available for our Snapchat followers today!” By doing so, it drives potential followers to their Snapchat account. The store then continues on Snapchat promoting, “Show us you’re our Snapchat friend by showing our My Story to the cashier and receive a discount at the register!”
Reaching out to people directly makes your target audience feel like they got the inside scoop on an item before it goes public. With just one satisfied customer, the word-of-mouth endorsement is worth way more than any advertisement you could ever produce. This is also a way to help drive followers from your other social media channels, which can be hard to do. As a no-cost option, Snapchat can provide “sneak peeks” or a behind-the-scenes look at an event you’re hosting on your brand’s own snapstory. These short videos or photos give your followers the feeling that they are special and valued, generating additional brand loyalty.
Say More with a Snap
If a picture says a thousand words, imagine what a 10-second Snapchat video can portray quicker than a press release. Demonstrations and quick tips can be produced at little or no cost. You can be the expert in your field giving tips on what’s trending with your products and how to use them different ways.
Here’s an example of how a product like Magic Eraser could expand on its value proposition. Magic Eraser is known for cleaning bathtubs and dishes, but did you know it can also clean shoes, get rid of drink coaster stains and buff out scratch marks? If the brand had a presence on Snapchat, millions of people would be aware of how you can use this popular cleaning tool on other household items. Using Snapchat, a product can be expanded to reach a wider audience.
You might be thinking that Snapchat users wouldn’t spend their time looking at a brand’s My Story if it isn’t on the Discovery page, but you’d be wrong. Whenever a Snapchat user posts a My Story, their friends receive a notification which doesn’t go away unless it’s been viewed or the 24-hour time limit runs out. Most millennials, including myself, look at the My Story just to get rid of the purple notification on the bottom right corner of the screen.
Snapchat is no longer just for sending cute selfies. It’s about snapping a festival you’re attending with that location’s Geofilter. It’s about swapping your face with your BFF or your favorite celebrity. It’s about directly interacting with brands on an app. This multi-use platform is not being used to its full potential, and now is your time to get on board.