Why Snapchat Now Belongs on Your Content Radar
Snapchat provides businesses with a completely new way of storytelling. Learn how to utilize this app in your content.
Climbers posting snaps of their expedition to the highest mountain in the world under “EverestNoFilter”; stars like Lady Gaga and Rihanna giving private insights into their daily lives; and brands like Taco Bell and Nissan reporting groundbreakingly successful campaigns: What’s this Snapchat hype all about?
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a so-called ‘ephemeral app’ for smartphones and tablets. In this context, ephemeral relates to some entertaining piece of news or other content, which will disappear after a certain time.
Snapchat acts both as multimedia messenger for photos, videos, and text messages (like What’s App), and as a publishing platform (similar to YouTube). You could imagine Snapchat as mobile real-time TV that users employ to share stories with their friends.
The special appeal of Snapchat is its creative and unusual features. You can apply a colorful filter, sprinkle confetti on your pictures, insert emojis in videos, or swap faces with your friends: the visual possibilities are unlimited. Quirky effects such as masks or rainbows are designed to shock or make you laugh and, above all, to create fun.
Snapchat Face Swap. Source: giga.de
Snapchat has two different formats:
- Snap: here, snapshots and video snippets are visible for just a few seconds, after which they self-delete. Snaps can either be sent to friends via private chat or uploaded to create a public story.
- Story: All snaps for one day can be joined together to form a story, and these stories can be viewed by all users who follow that account. But just for 24 hours – then the content disappears.
While it’s possible to capture screenshots of snaps and save stories, that’s not what Snapchat is for. The ephemeral nature of the content is an important feature of the tool: If you don’t access the content, you’ll miss the stories created by your friends.
Who is active on Snapchat?
Snapchat already has more active users than Twitter, and the majority of its 150 million users are teens and millennials. According to figures from ComScore, only 14% of US Snapchat users are over 35, and the Market Research Institute suggests Snapchat is currently very popular with young women from Generation Y.
However, the teen network seems to be somewhat older and it has recently been revealed that more than half of new users in the US are over 25. Companies currently reach mainly younger target groups via Snapchat, but that may soon be about to change.
What are the advertising possibilities on Snapchat?
Advertisers are becoming increasingly interested in Snapchat. According to a survey conducted by eMarketer at the start of the year, 22% of senior advertising executives in the United States plan to advertise on Snapchat during this current year.
Major brands such as Nike and Pepsi have already gained experience with paid advertising on Snapchat. And Taco Bell tested their so-called Sponsored Lens campaign which enabled users to transform their face into a huge Taco. This witty promotion gained Taco Bell a record-breaking 224 million video views in one day and secured them a low-cost viral campaign on Snapchat.
Taco Bell campaign
Besides campaigns such as Sponsored Lens, there is also the possibility of using Geofilters to advertise on Snapchat. Geofilters are graphics designed for various places in the world that Snapchatters can use to inform their friends about where they are. Companies can also create Geofilters bearing their logos and details of events for Snapchatters to use with their photos and videos.
Apart from their Sponsored Lens and Geofilter campaigns, Snapchat also provides video advertising. Companies can broadcast their promotional videos in so-called Live Stories, which Snapchat compiles from snaps taken at events such as sporting fixtures. In addition, videos can be placed under the Snapchat Discover feature where media companies such as Buzzfeed or CNN have channels.
Until now, companies have been required to book advertising direct with Snapchat and at high prices: The Geofilter and Sponsored Lens campaigns could cost thousands of dollars. Prices for video advertising are charged on a CPM basis and, according to insiders, are comparable to rates charged in TV.
All that should now change with booking advertising becoming easier and probably cheaper through the new Snapchat Partner Program. Snapchat has built an interface that connects selected agencies to the platform, making the booking of video advertising much easier for advertisers.
In the future, there will therefore be more advertising on Snapchat, which will be displayed to users between each Snapchat Story. If Snapchatters don’t wish to view a video Snap Ad, they can simply swipe it off the screen.
What is Snapchat’s potential for content marketing?
Huge! People love stories, and storytelling is a popular narrative method in content marketing. No other tool can currently create the entertaining visual content and exciting stories that Snapchat offers.
You can inform followers using snapshots and video snippets, collate corporate content as a story, or send snaps direct to users – many different approaches are possible.
Some users have shown that Snapchat is very suitable for raising brand awareness. A US cosmetic surgeon, “Dr. Miami,” has brought the app international acclaim and recognition via several media reports. One of his most popular Snapchat Stories, in which some of his procedures were broadcast, was viewed 1.9 million times. Snapchat has truly paid off for Dr. Miami: He says he is fully booked for the next two years.
Snapchat is also very good for interacting with a target group, or to open up new (younger) audiences, when the tool is meaningfully integrated within a content strategy. That’s why General Electric has used Snapchat to introduce science topics to a young audience in an entertaining way. The company answers user questions and explains scientific concepts via the Snapchat platform and also asks users to post witty snaps on science-related topics.
Companies will find Snapchat is particularly useful for the following objectives:
Stories are visible on Snapchat for 24 hours, which means it is possible to link them to a specific event. Whether it’s a photoshoot, an exhibition, or a fashion show, the story of the day can be told almost in real time using a number of snaps.
2. Exclusive Product Previews
Do you have a new product you could exclusively show your followers – before deleting the snap? Japanese car brand Acura used this method to break product news by offering their first 100 Snapchat followers a preview of a new prototype. Exclusive product previews give your product a touch of rarity and provide an incentive for Snapchatters to follow the brand.
3. Behind the scenes
In the “Pro 7 Snapchat Week”, six Pro 7 staff spent six days snapchatting to give their audience a look behind the scenes of this TV station. What’s it really like to work there and how are programs produced? The Snapchat mobile app is an ideal way to provide such exclusive insights.
4. Office tours
What is your company really like? Who runs it? And what’s the corporate culture? HubSpot, for example, answered these questions by featuring office talk and snaps showing colleagues at work.
Offering a discount code which expires after 24 hours is another good way to use Snapchat.
How should successful Snapchat content be designed?
Snapchat is a unique platform and high-quality content is the most important key to success. Whether it’s new outfit ideas, promotions, or exclusive insights, your audience must be excited by the new company content.
Videos and images should be as creative and entertaining as possible, using fonts, filters, and similar. On Snapchat it’s best to be cool, humorous, and authentic; plus, you always want to avoid taking yourself too seriously.
Beyond the display of snaps, how your account and communications are managed can be important. The fashion retailer Asos, which has an active Snapchat presence, regularly includes Snapchat content in its blog. And the US fashion chain Wet Seal handed over control of its Snapchat account to a 16-year-old blogger for two days in order to win new followers.
Conclusion: Far from a crazy idea
With approximately 900 employees and an estimated market value of around $19 billion, this company located in Venice, California, has ambitious goals. By the end of 2017, Snapchat is set to make sales worth one billion US dollars.
Currently, Snapchat is especially useful for companies wishing to interact with young audiences. However, there is evidence suggesting that Snapchat will soon no longer be used by teenagers alone. Companies already experimenting with Snapchat enjoy the advantage of being perceived as innovative and authentic trailblazers.
In addition, short-lifespan content benefits brands by conveying an aura of exclusivity and innovation.
Moreover, competition is more easily managed on Snapchat because companies are free to develop the style and scope of the content with their own snaps and stories.
So far, only a few companies worldwide have made Snapchat an integral part of their strategy. And many of these account holders post haphazardly. The reason Snapchat has not been adopted by more companies outside the US is partly due to its reputation as a teen network. However, it’s probably also because the app’s potential is not yet widely appreciated.
Naturally, the tool seems a bit strange to use at first – snaps and stories must be sent direct to Snapchat and access to a camera is essential. In addition, it’s also necessary to make the effort to learn how snaps and stories should best be prepared and presented to Snapchatters. But the input required to create a story with Snapchat is very straightforward.
The app provides businesses with a completely new way of storytelling and should, over the next few years, result in high online visibility.
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