Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Snapchat causes a stir with their frightening new ad – could your business be next?

Snapchat gave their users a fright earlier this week with their first ever in-app advertisement: a 20-second trailer from the upcoming horror film Ouija; making Universal Pictures the first company to have an advertisement on the app.

Unlike most other social media platforms that have intrusive adverts, Snapchat gives users the option to view an advertisement: if viewed, it disappears immediately, if not, it vanishes after 24 hours. Why is the emergence of adverts and sponsored content on Snapchat exciting? It provides businesses with a new and original way to market themselves online; especially if you want to target the under 25’s. But this is a very expensive option that may not be suitable for many, however, there are several other ways to effectively market your company on this platform; this article will talk you through everything you need to know about Snapchat. 

What’s ‘snappening’ on Snapchat:

·         Launch date: September 2011
·         Monthly Snapchat users: 100 million
·         The number of Snaps sent in a day: 400 million
·         The percentage of users under the age of 25 – 71%

What is SnapChat?

Snapchat is like any other photo and video sharing platform but with one big twist: the messages are timed and automatically delete themselves once viewed and thus, cannot be saved – unless the recipient screenshots the snap in time. This unique and innovative feature has made Snapchat an increasingly popular mobile app, especially amongst the younger audience. As this platform evolves and grows, more features have been added, such as “Snapchat Stories” – which allows the user to upload numerous videos and photos to create a narrative which lasts 24 hours and can be viewed more than once within the given time frame. This feature is most commonly used by businesses, as it allows them to get their message out in a more convenient way.

Currently, 400 million snaps are sent every day; highlighting the potential for businesses to capitalise on the power of Snapchat.

Why is Snapchat the ideal marketing tool?

Snapchat allows a business to retain and gain new customers, and build strong relationships with them. How, you ask? Due to the self-deleting nature of snaps – customers have to act promptly to take advantage of offers, discounts or giveaways that businesses have sent via the app; delivering a strong call to action. Furthermore, unlike adverts and sponsored content, snaps are only visible to those who are “friends” with you on the platform; therefore, businesses could take advantage of this exclusivity and entice potential customers to join and “friend” them to get access to those exclusive perks.

Still unconvinced about marketing your business on Snapchat? Check out the examples below of companies who have effectively utilised the features of Snapchat to their benefit.

Businesses that put Snapchat to the test and came out on top

1)      16 Handles

A froyo chain asked their fans on Facebook to follow them on Snapchat and then snap a photo of them and/or their friends enjoying some frozen yoghurt. In return, customers received a snap with a coupon code to get money off their next purchase at 16 Handles. They wanted to use Snapchat instead of Twitter for this promotional campaign as they did not want their customers to share the coupon code with others. Within a few days, they had 1,400 interactions and a full list of consumers they could now send promotional snaps to. 

2)      #LastSelfie – World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

The #LastSelfie campaign launched by the World Wildlife fund in Denmark and Turkey took advantage of the momentary existence of snaps to raise awareness of how certain species are in danger of extinction. Snaps of five different endangered species with the quotes: "In 6 seconds, I'll be gone forever, but you can still save my kind" and “Better take a screenshot. This could be my #LastSelfie," were sent on the app. They wanted users to screenshot the snaps and then share them on their Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Due to the powerful message behind the campaign - it was an online success and generated a lot of attention for the WWF. This is a great example of how a company has effectively used the unique features of Snapchat to raise awareness and promote their causes online.

3)      Wet Seal

A young women’s retailer enlisted the help of an online beauty blogger, Meghan Hughes aka MissMeghanMakeup, who has around 291,000 YouTube subscribers, over 157,000 Instagram followers, and 82,000 Twitter followers; to take over their Snapchat account for two days and help them reach their target market: the under 25’s. She used the ‘Snapchat Stories’ feature to document her life and subtly, promote Wet Seal clothing. In the end, the story was viewed 6000 times, and Wet Seal gained 9,000 friends on Snapchat – although this figure may not seem remarkable, Wet Seal only had 2000 friends before Meghan took over the account; so these results are definitely impressive.

When there are ups, there must be downs…

Even though there are many benefits of using Snapchat as a marketing tool, there are some drawbacks. In comparison to other social platforms, you cannot share pictures or videos easily, which means businesses miss out on the viral aspects of a campaign. Additionally, unless a company has paid for a sponsored snap, branded content on Snapchat cannot be viewed without following the brand first; meaning Snapchat may be an ineffective tool for companies with little to no social following.  With so many shortcomings you may be wondering whether Snapchat is even worth the hassle. If you are looking to capture the attention of the younger audience in an inexpensive way, then yes, this is the perfect solution for you. However, if your business caters towards the older demographic or you have minimal social following or leverage, then this may not be a viable option.

Whatever you decide to do, there is no denying that Snapchat provides a creative and innovative way for businesses to catch the eye of consumers - all I can say is good luck!

Author: Janaki Kumar


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