With over 187 million active users daily, Snapchat is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to marketing and branding. Who would have thought it would be possible to create content and advertise on a platform that literally makes things disappear? Welcome to the social media revolution!
But with other social media platforms quickly gaining traction, is Snapchat still worth it for your business? Or is it on the verge of disappearing as well? In this article, we brought you the complete breakdown on everything Snapchat, as well as some expert insight from a few special guests.
Ten Second Intro For Our Experts
Cathy Hackl is a Futurist at You Are Here Labs, she is a social media savant, a pioneer in AR and VR technology, as well as being an author and Emmy-nominated communicator. Cathy is a future-tech heavy hitter, with her finger on the pulse of the ever growing and changing industry. Her experience and Snapchat’s current brand direction make her uniquely qualified to give expert, forward-thinking advice.
Mike Metzler is a strategist over at Delmondo, a social analytics agency specializing in Facebook Watch, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Metzler is famous for Snapchat takeovers and activations for brands like Nascar, UFC, and ATT. He is known for Snapchat influence, creativity, and strategy since Snapchat’s beginning.
Carlos Gil is known for his social media strategy sessions and training. He is the owner of Gil Media and a keynote speaker known to have the word on Snapchat. Gil is an award-winning social media storyteller who has put his magic whisper on brands including LinkedIn, Winn Dixie, and BMC Software. He also runs a 10K + Facebook Group called Social Media Masterminds.
The History Of Snapchat
Snapchat recently turned 7, and during its last round of funding, it was valued at $15 billion. This kind of growth only happens when you tap into a cultural phenomenon, and Snapchat has certainly helped reshape social media on a fundamental level.
Within the first year of launch, Snapchat users were sending 20 million snaps a day. While at first users could only share photos, eventually video features were added which increased the app’s usage even further. Then Snapchat dropped a game-changer: Snapchat Story. Lasting for 24 hours, the Story feature turned a one-on-one social app into a true social media and branding platform. Suddenly users could create ongoing social media presences and build followings - they could really shape their own Snapchat brand.
With the addition of both advertising and Snapcash, a money-transferring method where users could send money in the app and withdraw it to their bank account, the app turned into a fully equipped marketing tool. GeoFilters added a way for users to add a location-based filter, perfect for travel or for repping your hometown.
Snapchat changed the game again when they released Lenses. The now-ubiquitous puppy ear filter is only one of many options users have to add fun effects to change the way they look. This feature spurred a deeper focus by Snapchat into virtual reality technology, which we will get into a bit later.
By 2016 Snapchat was reporting more daily video views than Facebook and more active daily users than Twitter. Snapchat continues to roll out new features, and it is positioned to stay at the front of younger social media user popularity.
Why Snapchat? Your Audience and Beyond
To know if Snapchat is worth your time, you have to ask yourself one crucial question. Who is your target audience? Because if the answer is Gen Z or Millenials, then you better get to snapping! Studies show your company cannot ignore this platform if you are aiming to capture a younger audience - Snapchat is accounting for more social media attention than even Facebook among Gen Z!
Here are some quick recent facts from Omnicore to put into perspective just how far Snapchat’s reach goes with teens and young adults:
71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old.
Roughly 70% of Snapchat users are female.
30% of US Millennial Internet users use Snapchat regularly.
“Despite its 173 million daily active users, its 10 billion daily video views, its 2.5 billion daily snaps, and the approximately 18 visits it enjoys from its daily active users per day, Snapchat remains another massively underestimated platform.” This kernel of wisdom comes from Gary Vaynerchuk, in his book Crushing It.
Even though Snapchat has impressive statistics, it is still being underestimated — this means you still have the chance to get in ahead of the mainstream company adoption, and there is still plenty of opportunities for enterprising brands to carve out their niche first.
Tips and Tricks Of Snapchat For Business
So are you one of the brands needing to get on Snapchat like, yesterday? If all of the crazy face filters and timers look a little confusing, don’t worry, we are here to help. Here are a few tips are tricks for how to make your Snapchat a success in a snap (cheesy, I know).
Post To Your Story, and Post Often! The most engagement for brands on Snapchat is the story option. Stories are shown for 24 hours and allow you to obtain the most reach and interaction from your followers! Also, make sure you take some time to reply to some of your users, create a relationship.
Snapchat Art: “This platform is forcing us to be very creative in a different way,” Gary Vaynerchuk said in his SXSW 2016 keynote. Snapchat combines the perfect blend of visual, mobile, and social. If you have a knack for design and creative fun or even if you don’t, get busy and stand out in the Snapchat universe using the draw tool, filters, and emojis.
Promote. Promote. Promote. Make sure your Snapchat account is accessible from all of your other social media channels. People often find a brand’s Snapchat through Instagram or Twitter!
Filters for Snapchat PR: Take advantage of the personal or business branding and PR opportunity, and get creative with Snapchat’s Geofilters. Submitting is a snap, but be sure to follow the guidelines.
Snapchat Takeovers: This is a great way to get people to discover your channel. Have an influencer take over and showcase a day in the life and make sure to do it in a way they can incorporate your product or brand. Influencer rates can be pricey but think outside of the box. Find a local influencer and offer them a free product in exchange for a takeover.
Let the Music Play: Improve the mood of your snaps and stories by playing a song from Spotify while producing Snapchat videos.
Our top tips from our experts, Cathy Hackl, Mike Metzler, and Carlos Gil
Cathy says: “If you do a lot of business on Snapchat than make sure you use Snapchat Lens Studio to create your own AR lenses and look at how to make them shoppable. Snapchat Lens Studio is free and easy to use and is available to anyone with a Snapchat account. Augmented Reality is giving way to the next iteration of eCommerce, which many of us in the immersive tech industry now refer to as vCommerce.”
Mike says: “Without a doubt [my favorite feature] is the swipe up. Unlike Instagram where brands can only use swipe up once they hit 10k followers, Snapchat gives anyone or any brand the ability to link out and promote on Snapchat.”
Website Clicks thanks to Paper Clip Links - Swipe up feature the search marketing world can appreciate, the link opportunity is a big one (basically now you can link back to webs content from Snaps and Stories).
Snap and Search Marketing?
As you are storytelling give the call to action at the end using the paperclip — stories should have a beginning, middle and an end. At the end ask your audience to “Swipe up!”. For example, add a CTA such as “To learn more about this topic visit my blog” and capture the website session first for the win. Get someone from Snapchat to your website and now you have and the remarketing opportunity!
Mike also gave us a great tip for brands to avoid: “Ever since Snapchat got rid of the white border when uploading content from your camera roll it seems to have become a crutch for a lot of brands. You should continue to create content in real time and use the native Snapchat features to create your story.“
Carlos emphasizes the multichannel aspect. Successful brands on Snapchat are going multichannel; they are using Snapchat in addition to other social media channels, Gil said.
Must-Have Snapchat Tools
Check out these tools to take your Snapchat game to the next level.
Official Snapchat Button: This tool allows you to create and embed a link to your Snapchat, making it easier for followers on other social media platforms to find and follow you. Stay connected!
PepperFilters: Love GeoFilters? Why not snap up this tool helps you create your own? Increase your engagement with your unique, crafted GeoFilters.
Captiona: We all know the struggle of finding the perfect caption to convey your message. Captiona helps take the pain away by creating suggested captions based on keywords you give it.
Snaplytics: Track every metric you can think of with Snaplytics. No more guesswork on your engagement, your completion rate, or your screenshots. Snaplytics has a convenient interface to help you track everything!
Delmondo: Social video analytics & audience insights software for leading brands, publishers, media companies and sports organizations to measure and monetize content
Snapchat - Yes, go straight to the source and follow Snapchat’s latest Tweets and especially for Snapchat support visit @Snapchatsupport. Check out and bookmark the Snapchat business blog to get the latest and greatest story.
Spectacles 2.0. - HD exports, waterproof and you can export your videos in widescreen, what else could you ask for? https://www.spectacles.com/
No Blind Faith With Insights
One of the best aspects of a feature-rich platform like Snapchat is a ton of measurable metrics! You can see exactly how your content is being engaged with - no more blindly guessing what works and what doesn’t.
Snapchat introduced a comprehensive tool for this in its Snapchat Insights feature. Insights give users the ability to track story views, view times (tracked by month, week, and day), as well as demographic data for their audiences. Want to find out when your audience is engaging so you can maximize your content posting to those times?
Insights has your back.
It also allows you to get a feel for who is interacting with your content with all the juicy audience demographic data. You can even see the percentages of viewers who watch all the way to the end, and how long the average viewer stays engaged!
Snapchat Users and Brands To Follow
Snapchat is a tool for any brand, and there are a number of extremely high profile users that have heavier influence than most companies do on the app. We put together a little list so you can see just how broad the appeal is - and to dispel any notion Snapchat can’t work for you, too.
GrubHub @grubhub: One of the first companies to dive into Snapchat, GrubHub has made excellent use of the story feature to showcase deals and promote activity by creating contests and other content that solicit feedback or actions from their audiences.
Everlane @Everlane: By using the app to publicize a uniquely in-depth behind-the-scenes, Everlane manages to give their customers an almost brick and mortar experience despite being an almost exclusively e-commerce vendor. They are taking transparency to the next level, and their fans love it.
Amazon @amazon: Amazon’s entrance into the Snapchat scene coincided with Black Friday and their exclusive in-app deal promotions created an instant sensation.
General Electric @generalelectric: An enormous multi-national corporation that’s nearly 10 times older than Snapchat’s main demographic might not seem like an ideal candidate for a top brand influencer on the (almost) 7-year-old social media app, but General Electric has managed to use the platform to showcase it’s geeky company culture, making its brand more recognizable and relatable to younger audiences.
Miami Dolphins @MiamiDolphins are crushing it. They take their touchdowns and takeovers seriously. This NFL team makes daily statements and snaps, on and of the record. On the field or in the locker room.
Cisco @WeAreCisco: Shares the behind-the-scenes work life and culture of the computer networking giant Cisco. Employee takeovers are a way of social media life on Snapchat.
Food, apparel, online shopping…even giant multinational tech/utility corporations. Any brand can get value out of Snapchat if they are trying to engage younger audiences. Due to the convenient usability of the mobile-only app, even personal brands can create influential presences on the app.
DJ Khaled (@djkhaled305): The “King of Snapchat” has long been considered the top influencer on Snapchat, and any brand could learn a thing (or ten) from his content. From big moments to the minutiae of his life, he manages to make everything impactful.
Kylie Jenner (@kylizzlmynizzl): The youngest of the Kardashian/Jenner clan; Kylie’s snaps have an incredible following on Snapchat.
Gigi Hadid (@itsgigihadid): Famous fashion model Gigi Hadid is a big name on Snapchat, where you’ll find plenty of beautiful selfies, photos with her sister Bella (also a model) and even the occasional cameo of another celeb.
Logan Paul (@loganpaul): A lot of famous former Vine stars switched to Snapchat when the popular clip-sharing application shut down. Logan Paul was one of the top on this list, and his influence on Snapchat has turned him into a famous Internet personality on multiple social media channels.
Jenna Marbles (@jennamarbles): Another top influencer who got her start on another platform, Jenna Marbles rose to fame on Youtube and has an active, engaging, and incredibly popular presence on both platforms. Jenna is also proof you can overcome a rocky start - while her entry onto Snapchat wasn’t picture-perfect, she has still grown into a top influencer.
Snapchat, Augmented Reality Pioneers
While some may think Snapchat is falling behind, it is ahead on what matters, and that is the up and coming augmented reality trend. Snapchat is one of the only platforms offering augmented reality ads for businesses.
Snapchat's 3D World Lenses is the latest version of lenses which lets brands feature animated, branded objects into their snaps. This option allows brands to offer not only personalized content but to have content “come to life” for their audiences. And it isn’t just companies getting in on it. Users can play around with lenses as well.
All of this is just the first step in Snapchat’s development of further and more intricate uses of augmented and virtual reality applications. By continuing to stay at the forefront of augmented reality applications in the social media space, Snapchat is positioned to keep a competitive differentiator no one else has.
Everything Can Change In a Snap
Sure, Snapchat may be one of the go-to platforms now, but will it last? Does everyone remember “Snap-gate” when Kylie Jenner tweeted Snapchat was dead, and BOOM, Snapchat’s stock was down 1.3 BILLION dollars? It may be scary to invest your time and money into a platform would come crumbling down from a tweet from a Gen Z.
After Snapchat released a redesign which left many users unhappy, some argued it just took time to adjust to. The facts? According to The Guardian, Snapchat has indeed slowed dramatically with its growth since Instagram released the story feature and other apps such as Musical.ly have been slowly building competitive momentum. However, Snapchat still has a uniquely large audience brands can reach if they are targeting younger users.
At Social Media Marketing World 2018, Carlos Gil dropped some serious knowledge - “Don’t ignore the conversation on social media. Remember - content leads to conversation, which builds loyalty and long-term relationships. [There’s] No such thing as instant ROI on social media, have to play the long-term game to win on social media.”
Building a relationship between your brand and your following won’t happen overnight, but deliberate, intelligently analyzed, strategic growth is the recipe for becoming the next brand killing it on Snapchat.
Pay to Snap and Play
Now you can create custom audiences similar to Facebook. Brands can upload lists and target only those users who are a match on Snapchat. For example, if you have an email list, upload the email list and then target the matches on Snapchat.
Is Snapchat Worth it?
“It can be. Building a Snapchat audience is notoriously difficult and is not for the weak of heart. However, if you put in the work, you have access to an incredibly engaged younger demographic. You should view your Snapchat audience as your true ride or die fan,” said Metzler.
Snapchat 2019 Plans and Predictions
Snapping Up Ad Exposure
For 2019 businesses should consider running ads on Snapchat. Snapchat's ad platform is increasingly robust in the last year, and ad prices have become very cheap. There is a lot of value to be won from Snapchat's cheap ad prices. "I suspect you'll see a lot more businesses add Snapchat to their marketing mix in 2019,” said Metzler.
Influencing with AR
“Businesses should start exploring Snapchat Lens Studio because AR is at the core of where Snap is headed. Lens Studio is a tool that is free and available to anyone with a Snapchat account. Brands should also start to think about how AR will be incorporated into their sales funnel,” said Hackl.
“It’s also important for brands to look at how AR can enhance shared social experiences that are brand driven and how working with a new breed of influencer, the AR influencer, plays into their overall marketing strategy,” Hackl said.
To Snap or not?
Try it out and like always, stay aware of the ever-changing social media climate and most importantly, ask your users! The best advice you can get is from the people who are buying your product or loyal to your company. If they are more into Facebook likes, get to status writin’! If they want Snapchat, get to snappin!