Do you remember Snapgate? – an online tiff between Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian? Probably not… Do you follow any celebrities on Snapchat? Maybe not. But here’s the thing, anyone who is anyone on the celebrity scene is on Snapchat and if they are on it, then you can bet your bottom dollar that so are their fans! There are 170 million daily users or ‘Snappers’ using the social media platform, posting around 3 billion snaps a day! The new kid on the block has created a maelstrom in the social media world with its young active users far exceeding those of Facebook and Twitter. Popular brands are advertising on Snapchat, and some have started selling directly through the platform. Have you taken the plunge yet, and if not why not?
Here’s a closer look at Snapchat as an advertising and ecommerce platform that might make you think differently about it.
Generation Z: Snapchat enables brands to target the elusive Generation Z snappers. Known for their indifference to conventional advertising, Snapchat offers a channel directly to them. It has the highest number of 18-24 and 13-18 year old users. According to eMarketer, 45% of Snapchat’s users are between 18 and 24, while this demographic represents just 16% of Facebook’s user base. Gen Z snappers are spending more time on the network than any other social media platform. We also know that 80% of them are influenced by social media when shopping and 69% of them would shop directly through social media so it seems a no brainer – if your target is the under 24 year olds, then why aren’t you on Snapchat already?
Generation Y: Snapchat is not just for the young‘uns either. Surprisingly, in the UK, millennials (25-34 year olds) make up the largest audience on it at 28% according to Verto Analytics This opens up a whole new world for brands to advertise to this audience or run a campaign that hits both Generation Y and Z. Also, why not combine a strategy for Snap ads and Instagram stories ads (both platforms being popular with the 25-34 year olds) to test the effectiveness of both platforms in reaching your target audience?
Snap ads: According to MediaScience research, Snapchat ads receive more visual attention than Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. The ‘swipe up’ feature acts like a click-through and sends users to a landing page either within or outside the Snapchat ad. A user who views a Snap ad on a new product can swipe up to buy the product instantly from the advertiser's website without leaving the Snapchat app. Audio is especially important for Snap ads, with research showing that 60% of snappers watch stories with sound on, as opposed to Twitter and Facebook where the majority of video is watched without sound. This implies that users are watching stories when they can give them more attention. Snapchat ads are also skippable making them less intrusive, increasing the value of the interactions with the ad.
Native ads work: The ads play in between a user’s friends’ stories so they are less jarring and are served to a snapper when they are already in the mindset for flicking through similar videos. Critically, Snapchat takes context into account to serve up the ad most relevant to the user. Also provided the advertising is native, looks homemade rather than a slick blockbuster production then it will not appear out of context. When creating your native ad switch between front and rear cameras when filming; add engaging text and colourful graphics; give users a behind the scene peak of your business or product and provide exclusive offers and discounts to Snapchat users only. The more native the advertising is, the more appealing it is. Advertising on Snapchat isn’t cheap, but brands don’t have to fork out Hollywood budgets or schedule in months to create them. Hmmm, reaching your target audience as well as saving some cash, doesn’t that sound good to you?
Geofilter ads: The coolest features in all of Snapland are geofilters. They allow Snappers to add images, illustrations, custom stamps, and branding to Snaps. For brands, geofilters are also a fun and powerful way to encourage fan engagement in a product or event and are fantastic for brand awareness. Brands can be precise with the targeting (localised around one building for example); the filters can be created from scratch to best reflect the brand and uploaded to the platform. We’d definitely recommend this, rather than using Snapchat’s stock filters.
We recently ran a campaign for the National Theatre to attract young people from the Black, Asian and minority ethnicities to watch a play called the “Barbershop Chronicles”. This was no easy task, as this demographic were not your average theatregoers. The play was about African barbershops in the UK and Africa. The cast was all male and all black. We knew our target audience was very familiar with African barbershops so we had some fun with this. We worked out that our target audience lived predominantly in Brixton Hill, Peckham Road and Elephant and Castle, so we set up outdoor advertising, which encouraged people to go on Snapchat and click the geofilter that put them in the barber’s chair! It was fun, but more importantly, it worked. Over 50% of the under 35s who watched the play were from a BAME ethnic background.
So, if you are using geofilters to promote an event, combine it with physical advertising (non-digital) to raise awareness. You could also trial asking people to send their geofiltered images to a your brand’s Snapchat account. You can turn them into a collage or offer a prize for the best ones. The key is to be playful and engaging with your target audience. Have a go and enjoy it!
Be entertaining: So if we haven’t made it clear enough already, here we go again – be playful, entertaining and engaging. If you don’t want users to skip your ad, then you need to give them something they can laugh at, smile at, engage with or relate to. You need to capture their imaginations. Users aren’t on Snapchat to be serious. The temporary nature of the app leads to more frivolous and light-hearted usage. Therefore, this is what your brand has to reflect. Ads that are more serious, dark and emotional are better off for a more traditional platform like Facebook. Snapchat is about entertainment and excitement with a focus on the visual creative and audio.
So “to Snap or not to Snap?” Well, consider your audience, curate your message, tailor your creative and Snapchat might just be the platform for you. If you get it right, the benefits are endless in terms of brand awareness, engagement, loyalty and sales.