Snap Decision: The Best Way to Market on Snapchat

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?



18 thoughts on “Snap Decision: The Best Way to Market on Snapchat

  1. Olivia Sullivan May 4, 2016 / 11:30 pm

    Although there have been so many recent ads and new features on Snapchat I never thought of it as being a successful marketing tool. After hearing this presentation and reading the blog post I realized that there are a lot of ways Snapchat is used when marketing for companies. I never look at the options on Discover but if you like any of those channels they can be a good marketing tool. What I think the best way to advertise on Snapchat is buying a slot for swipeable ads and Snapchat lenses. When taking a Snapchat I swipe a lot because I want to see all the filters so with putting an ad for your company on there many people will see it. Snapchat lenses are a good tool too because there is a new one everyday. Whenever I Snapchat I always check the lenses because they are funny. So the other day I came across a lense that was a reminder about a premier of a new season for a TV show. Without this lense I would have forgotten about the TV show that I actually like to watch. This is why I think Snapchat is a good marketing tool for businesses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cbernard7778 May 6, 2016 / 8:14 pm

      I definitely agree with you Olivia, that the best way to market on snapchat would be to use the filters and lenses since they are utilized more on a daily basis.


  2. brigettehoughton May 5, 2016 / 1:31 am

    Snapchat is one of the main social media apps that I use to stay in contact with my friends throughout the day. I have friends that are abroad in all different countries right now, and I love living vicariously through their stories and everything else. I definitely think that with the new features that have been added, it makes the app a great marketing tool. When I am bored and am caught up on all the stories I will sometimes watch the live stories. When i get to the first sponsored ad I will usually watch it just to see what it is, but as I continue watching and more pop up I will just skip through them, but some may continue to watch. I also think that the geofilters are a great way to promote events that are happening in your surrounding area that you may not know about. Recently there have been geofilters that have been promoting totinos pizza rolls. I am not too sure why, but I noticed that it was around the time of spring weekend here on campus, so I am wondering if the sales on the pizza rolls increase that weekend.


  3. Marisa Harrington May 5, 2016 / 4:12 pm

    Snapchat is one of the popular apps that I use on a daily basis. At first, I thought Snapchat wouldn’t be a good platform for marketers to use. Now I agree that it is a good platform to use. There are many different possibilities to market withe the geofilters, and stories. Almost everyone uses the geofilters at least once a day.


  4. Andie-Jane Phinney May 5, 2016 / 4:44 pm

    I use snapchat just about every day, and I love it! It is a great way to post and share stories and pictures with your friends and many friends at the same time, by having the options of the stories. I believe snapchat is a great marketing tool for companies as it is an easy post to share to millions of people. I know when I am done looking through my friends stories, I take a look at the other snapchats available to watch. They made the ads interesting, which is something I do like. The geofilters have become much more popular now, and I believe with more time, these will be put to great use for companies to market. Companies find great ways to hit their target markets, as well as using the seasons and what to post when. I believe it is a great app for marketing.


  5. Samantha May 5, 2016 / 5:17 pm

    Snapchat is a great way to increase engagement and brand awareness. Especially if you explore the discover video stories. It is easy to post and share. It is very manageable and anyone can do it! Companies could snap their new products or events that they put on. The geotags are also a great way to market an event or something big that is happening. For example, as you walk around Disney World they could have a geotag for each part of the park you visit. Also if your target market is millennials or younger it is easy to find us on Snapchat.


  6. Joseph Sanfilippo May 5, 2016 / 6:42 pm

    I use snapchat a lot and have noticed the amount of ads that have become present on the app. When you think about ads on snapchat, it doesn’t seem like a good idea, but snapchat has done a great job with this. The ads and marketing they allow aren’t over the top, but are very subtle. We as consumers don’t like ads pushed in our face, and snapchat understands that. The way they are using filters now is a fun and great way to market, as people enjoy the filters and have fun posting them. I think snapchat found a great way to use ads and marketing on their app, and this will only benefit them going into the future.


  7. Hechuan Lou May 6, 2016 / 2:08 am

    I actually have no idea about what Snapchat is until I saw a classmate used it last week. She answered me that snapchat is you snap then you chat and you snap and then chat again. What an interesting explanation! As it is so popular among young people, it would be a very good idea to add ads on snapchat. However, the problem what kind of marketers are suitable to put ads on snapchat, and snapchat needs to think about this.


  8. adeangelo13 May 6, 2016 / 3:57 pm

    I use snapchat a lot and lately I have noticed how present ads have been. At first, advertisements on Snapchat don’t seem like a good idea- but they figured out a way to make them fit in accordingly without much bother. By that I mean the ads were very sublte and not excessive or annoying. It was an innovative way to get advertisements and people have fun posting them/sending them to their friends. Going forward, Snapchat will only improve this ad technique and hopefully users will like it as much as I do!


  9. Justin Flory May 6, 2016 / 7:05 pm

    Snapchat can definitely be used effectively by marketers, and marketers should really embrace the platform. It is continuing to grow in popularity amongst young people and has a very strong user base. I think Snapchat does a good job with having ads but not too many of them, and they don’t really affect the user experience.


  10. cbernard7778 May 6, 2016 / 8:18 pm

    Snapchat is an app that is most popular with millennials, which is why it makes the most sense to apply to marketing to for companies. However, the functionality of the app makes it difficult to really apply great use of marketing and advertising. I think that used correctly, in the sense of filters and lenses, companies could really benefit from snapchat.


  11. Derek Lawton May 6, 2016 / 11:43 pm

    Snapchat is definitely an app that most people our age use but I don’t see any reason why Snapchat could not expand there market. I think so far they have done great job coming up with new ideas to keep consumers and gain more. I see snapchat in the future though not being able to gain more consumers and slowly decline. For now though they are doing a great job and should continue to do so.


  12. Kevin Poulter May 7, 2016 / 12:08 am

    Snapchat is gaining popularity everyday. I use it daily. I could see the app doing well with products that appeal to a younger demographic because our people our age use it the most frequent.


  13. Meg May 7, 2016 / 1:13 am

    Snapchat might be gaining popularity, but I know very few people who utilize the Discover functions. Brands seem to have more luck with filters that advertise their brand, such as the taco geofilter. There is a young target market for the app, making it easier for brands to target their messages. Snapchat is a great way for businesses to connect with consumers, such as professional sports teams showing a field perspective and pre game view.


  14. ssceery May 8, 2016 / 2:53 pm

    Snapchat really is such an interesting concept when you think about the use and communication methods. There are those who believe it’s dangerous, individuals who believe it’s foolish, and some who use it just as an entertaining mode of communication with friends and family. Whatever the goal is for users, it does provide an interesting marketing tool. I agree with Meg about the use of Discover functions however think there is strong potential in the area of GeoFilters. For example with Dunkin Donuts, the more it’s utilized and consumers see it, the more visible it becomes–sparking curiosity and interest potentially driving the consumer.


  15. Ashley Alves May 10, 2016 / 2:31 am

    I use snapchat on a daily basis and I can honestly say that I have never paid any attention to the discover section or the live stories within the app. I use this app to see what my friends are doing or people who I specifically followed are doing. I think that geo-tags are the best way for companies and businesses to market on snapchat. We all know, many people snapchat their food. For example, if I were to see a dish that I wanted to try and there was a geo-tag filter I would be more apt to go visit that restaurant as I would most likely not ask the individual where the dish was from. I would recommend all businesses to invest in creating geo-tags as I know this could bring in additional business and revenue.


  16. Jessica May 12, 2016 / 6:51 pm

    It crazy how quickly all these different apps so quickly become huge opportunities for marketers to take advantage of. We currently see alot of blogs, movies, and magazines being marketed on snap chat. While Snap chat has grown tremendously over the past few years, it is very interesting to see how more marketing of other products will become intertwined within the app.


  17. Matt K May 12, 2016 / 8:44 pm

    After reading this article it really gave me a better view on snapchat and the possibilities it holds for marketing. I use snapchat everyday, using geo tags, posting stories, watching other stories. I believe that snapchat has a huge future in the marketing industry and if used properly can be very effective. One way people already use snapchat for marketing is the redsox. The redsox have geo tags of fenway park and everytime I see someone with the geo tag at the game it encourages me to watch the game or buy tickets. If more companies could effectively use snapchat like that then they will be more successful.


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