By: Chris Cimmino and Sharon Masucci
Snapchat is a messaging app that allows individuals to communicate and share photos and videos with both their immediate friend list as well as the general public. This popular app was launched in 2011 by Evan Spiegel of Stanford University. He created a photo sharing app with his friend Bobby Murphy, who is now the cofounder and programmer behind the app. When a friend of Spiegel said, “I wish the photos I am sending this girl would disappear,” the idea of a photo sharing app with self-destructing pictures was born. After being told by so many that what happens on the internet, stays on the internet, consumers were looking for a loophole in the system and found one with Snapchat. Originally the app was named “Picaboo,” before later being renamed to what we now know as Snapchat. After seeing the short success of Snapchat, Facebook launched an app called Poke in 2012 that was almost identical to its competitor. Poke had failed quickly and Zuckerburg offered Spiegel $3 billion dollars for the app to later be denied. Spiegel knew then that his app was something special that could benefit both the consumer and marketer.
In the world of Snapchat, we must understand that photos and videos are not permanent to view. The sender can select a time window of 0-10 seconds to allow access for a specific recipient before the photo disappears. The user can also place a video on a 24 hour personal story that can be viewed by every person on the individual’s friend list. A user can share their entertaining photos with the general public as well by posting on a “live story” that may only take place in select areas depending on location.
Snapchat has become a powerful social media tool that has its users sending over 700 million “snaps” a day. Snapchat has popular features that keep its users coming back for more. Not only can you send your Snapchats to a select audience of your choice, but you can also edit photos with filters, text, or even a hand drawn doodle with the pen tool. This allows the user to maximize their creativity by giving it their own personal touch with the edit tools. User to user interaction can be fun and easy on Snapchat, but interaction between marketer and user can be a challenge without a clear understanding, of who your audience is and how to reach them in a tight window of opportunity.
Consumer to Consumer interaction seems to vary on Snapchat. Originally there was concern that Snapchat was just a sexting app, but statistics have proven otherwise. Some of the most popular content that users send on Snapchat include events, people, selfies, and funny things. The majority of users tend to consistently use Snapchat to send their friends funny content. This could include the use of a variety of Snapchat’s new filters that change daily. New filters keep the consumer coming back each day. There is also a wide variety of filters to keep the user busy for an extended period of time.
Consumer to Marketer interaction is done through Snapchat Discover as well as swipeable ads, sponsored content, and geofilters. Snapchat discover provides multiple channels such as CNN, Cosmopolitan, Comedy Central, ESPN, National Geographic, and more. This provides the consumer with multiple outlets to please their entertainment needs. Marketers can advertise through Discover by providing ads that the user can swipe through and provide sponsored content in specific Discover channels to gain brand recognition. Individual channels also allows marketers to target their viewers. They can gain information on the type of person that might view the National Geographic channel, and what other kind of activity they may engage in on Snapchat. This makes it easier for marketers to target their advertisements and gain a competitive advantage through this gathered information. Geofilters can also promote a specific brand. For example, Dunkin Donuts had a geofilter that could only be unlocked at or near Dunkin’ Donuts stores. This geofilter would provide users with a free medium coffee on National Coffee Day. The filter can create awareness and drive interest for Snapchat users to get to their local Dunkin Donuts.
Snapchat is growing at a rapid rate. The real target market for those marketing on Snapchat should be users between the ages 18-34 years old. This age group occupies 71% of all users on the app. Not only are we noticing young people on Snapchat, but an overwhelming majority of users are women at 70%. This does not mean that marketers should only focus on women between the ages of 18-34, but they should understand who their audience is. In order to reach the male population on Snapchat, marketers should utilize sports and live events to gain unique views, which measures the number of people who have opened up the first frame of your Snapchat story for at least 1 second.
The best ways to appeal to your audience on Snapchat is by capturing key moments, offer rewards and coupons, preview new products, inform customers about special sales and events, and behind the scenes footage. A key moment to capture on Snapchat could include something like the New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York City. Many people tune in across the country to watch the ball drop, and Marketers could provide a live story to help those who are not their experience the excitement of being in New York City.
Snapchat brings people to the action. Who doesn’t want to see Tom Brady or their favorite football player in pregame preparing for the Superbowl? With Snapchat live stories, we are able to get an inside look as a consumer that has never been offered before. With regular TV there can be preparation and editing that doesn’t capture the raw material that can be shared in numerous 10 second snaps. Marketers can create awareness of an event or product through these live stories that can be subtle but effective.
Geofilters have become a huge way for marketers to advertise on snapchat. Geofilters are based on your current location. Certain locations such as Times Square and Las Vegas have geofilters that users can take pictures with. The geofilters could include pictures, logos, and town names. These filters can be created by Snapchat, the given community, and brands. If you are a local restaurant in a popular area it could benefit you to create a geofilter with your restaurants name in order to create awareness.
When considering to advertise on Snapchat it is important to recognize the costs associated with each type of plan. Geofilters can be purchased at a minimum of 20.000 square feet to a maximum of 5 million square feet. The advertiser can choose to keep it active for an hour or up to thirty days. Filters start at a cost of $5 dollars, but can change depending on select location. If a marketer would prefer to create a collection of user based content through a live story they must pay a hefty fee of $250,000 dollars a day. During holidays ads can cost up to $750,000 dollars a day.
There is no doubt that with the growing popularity of Snapchat that marketers must now find a way to utilize this took in their marketing plans to stay on top of their given industry. Snapchat has risen to 10th on the Apple App Store download list. As the number of smartphones rise across the globe, the number of users on snapchat is going to rise. The question is not if marketers need to utilize Snapchat as a marketing tool, but what is the best way to do it? Is the best way to spend as a marketer on Snapchat through geofilters, sponsored content in discover, or is it through live stories that they must pay a larger fee for?