It started as a silly social media app that deleted photos or videos after a few seconds. Many marketers were doubtful at first—how could this app, with disappearing visuals and text, help them reach this Generation Z audience? In the early days of Snapchat, it was anyone’s guess how influential the platform would become. Six years later, with 158 million daily active users, the company has gone public—and its shares skyrocketed 41 percent. Indeed, the Snap IPO might just push the company over the edge with regards to marketing value, especially with the company’s recent and upcoming expansions.
Every day, more than 2.5 billion snaps are taken and shared on the platform. To add to this frenzy of picture taking, Snap recently launched Snapchat Specs just a few months prior to the Snap IPO. Snap Spectacles are a pair of glasses that will allow users to take videos of what they’re doing and upload it to the platform.
The company, rather than offering the spectacles for sale on its website or on the platform, launched the glasses via Snapbots, or roaming vending machines with limited numbers of specs that consumers could purchase for $130 each. Now, the glasses are for sale online to a wider audience, and marketing agencies that work with influencers are beginning to offer their services.
After sizing up their social media audiences on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest, marketers are weary of adding another platform to the mix. But, so far for advertisers on its platform, the numbers promise something more: Snapchat says Starbucks received more than 117 million views on the app for a campaign featuring a sponsored lens. It also claims it drove 42,000 people to a Wendy’s location over the course of a week. Additionally, 11 percent of teens use Snapchat instead of Facebook, meaning that the platform might someday replace or become more important than other social channels to teens, if it isn’t already. What should you make of this marketing transformation?
1. Stop Trying to Control Everything
Authenticity is certainly a big buzzword, but what does that actually mean? At Adweek Europe last year, Snap’s VP of Content, Nick Bell, claimed that marketers should stop thinking about how authentic they appear and start thinking about real connections: “The word authenticity is overused,” said Bell. “We don’t surface vanity social media metrics because it’s not about trying to capture that perfect sunset to see how many likes you receive… It’s more about removing the pressure that social media has created.” Bell instead recommended that marketers keep it short and simple if they want to reach Snap’s audience. “What we’re seeing and what a lot of research shows is that attention spans, particularly on mobile, are much lower and actually getting the message across in two, three, four, five or six seconds is often far more powerful than stretching out a message and trying to build out a load of context.”
Image attribution: Roman Drits
2. Think Outside The (Literal) Box
By now, brands have cozied up to influencers, but without metrics on the Snap platform, how can marketers see what’s effective and what’s not? The answer might lie in partnering directly with Snap to create custom lenses and filters rather than sending ephemeral pictures or videos out into the void and hoping someone sees them. Snap can measure audience engagement with these special tools and give recommendations for what might be the most effective. In this sense, the brand is creating a seamless experience that doesn’t hinder the Snapchat user—they’re using the filter and sharing branded content without using display. Can you say “native advertising”?
3. Location, Location, Location
If the Wendy’s campaign is anything to go off of, Snapchat makes sense for advertisers if there’s a real-world connection. This is where ROI can come in from a brand perspective. The content that a campaign creates around a location (or 6,000 Wendy’s restaurants throughout the US) is what will help prove sales. The platform should be used as a call to action, and a motivating tool to get consumers into stores—not an end in itself. In that sense, marketers should be able to measure what sales are coming in from a campaign, either by using special codes for special items or discounts, or by tracking how many Snapchat users are tagging the brand within a location, and then gauging whether sales are up with the added traffic.
4. Get Ready for eCommerce
Though this hasn’t been officially announced, rumors abound about Snap’s ecommerce addition to its platform. Especially if the marketer isn’t crashing the party with static advertising, the likelihood that a consumer might be interested to buy apparel or other goods on the platform is somewhat high. This comes back to telling a good story around your brand to directly connect with consumers. Chances are, if they like how the brand presents itself on the platform or resonate with the brand’s personality, they’ll be more enticed to buy a product than they would just looking at an ad.
Snap has grown in a major way since the early days of Snapchat. And, unlike the content shared through its now-famous platform, the company is undoubtedly here to stay. The Snap IPO heralds the many big things to come for Snap—and for all the marketers who make room for the platform in their content strategies. Keep an eye on Snap. Without question, it’s got a big year ahead.
Featured image attribution: Annie Spratt