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Why Snapchat Matters to Marketing

Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social networks ever.

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With a mobile-only usership, Snapchat is a network that fits perfectly in someone's pocket.

With auto-deleted content, it gives users a sense of urgency to access Snapchat as often as possible, and it helps users keep in touch with their friends.

All of that comes together to create a social network that's truly innovative. It's no wonder Snapchat has grown so much in such a short amount of time.

But here's the big question — have you started using Snapchat for marketing?


Marketing on Snapchat


Snapchat information & growth

Before we jump into Snapchat's value as a marketing medium, we need to look at it as a social network.

Snapchat Info and Growth

First, Snapchat is five years old. That's pretty young for a social network — especially when you consider that Facebook is more than twice that age.

But Snapchat's youth works to its advantage. It's grown so quickly that it's seeking an IPO in 2017, which makes sense since it has 150 million daily active users around the world.

That's a lot of people, and 100% of them create content on mobile.

That's because Snapchat is mobile-only. That may sound like a problem, but it's actually a huge plus.

The United States (not to mention the rest of the world) has been switching over to mobile Internet and app use over the past few years, and that usership is projected to increase sharply each year.

All of this comes together to give Snapchat an estimated value of $16 billion total. That includes venture capital, users, and a whole range of other assets.

But if that's the number Snapchat uses for its IPO, their stock will be off to a great start!

It also helps that the company has dramatically increased revenue over the past three years. While this is all estimated (Snapchat is private at the time of publication), it shows the incredible power of Snapchat, despite how young it is.

In 2017, Snapchat is estimated to bring in $935.46 million in revenue.

But, in our opinion, that number is low. Considering how important Snapchat is to marketing, we could see Snapchat earning more than $1 billion in 2017.

Before we get to that though, let's talk about Snapchat's users and their behavior.

Snapchat users

To fully grasp Snapchat marketing, you have to understand the people who use Snapchat.

Snapchat Users

First, let's look at the 150 million daily active users.

70% of these users are women. 71% are younger than 25, and 73% are Millennials. That means the bulk of Snapchat's users are overwhelmingly young women.

This is similar to Pinterest's demographics. So unless you only market to men, your primary audience on Snapchat will include women.

In addition to those statistics, it's worth noting that 16 heads of state use Snapchat. There's not a comprehensive list of these leaders, but they include the White House, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, and French President Francois Hollande.

Other government officials (like Icelandic Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson) have also picked up Snapchat.

Most likely, this is an effort for politicians and governments to connect with the younger demographics of their countries — which is smart. Snapchat users may be young, but they'll be voting soon enough.

Aside from these world leaders, 40% of Snapchat users visit Snapchat Discover every month. That's a section of Snapchat that lets users look at branded snaps from popular accounts like CNN, Comedy Central, and Mashable.

Additionally, 45% of all users post Snapchat Stories — images or videos that all of their friends can watch at any time — and 60% distribute some form of content every day. That content includes Snapchat Stories and regular Snaps.

In total, Snapchat fields about 9000 snaps every second. The average user hangs out for about 30 minutes, and the network boasts a total of 10 billion views every day.

So Snapchat users are young, engaged, and participatory. Let's take a look at what you can do to reach them.

Snapchat advertising

Reaching Snapchat users is difficult at first. But once you get the hang of it, Snapchat can pay day after day.

Snapchat Advertising

The most important stat is listed first. It should grab every marketer's attention because it screams opportunity.

Only 1% of marketers use Snapchat. That covers all marketers working for all brands in all industries.

That means your customer demographic could be on Snapchat right now with zero competition from other businesses in your industry.

If you want an opportunity to get ahead of your competitors, there has never been a better chance.

To do that, you have three advertising options.

First, you have Snap Ads. These are 10-second vertical videos that users can watch from their Discover panel. Remember, 40% of daily users (60 million) check their Discover options every day.

This ad option is a general catch-all that works well for any company looking to promote itself. Just choose what to film, point your phone at it, and pay to promote it on Snapchat. 

Second, you can use Sponsored Geofilters. This option works best for companies that want to promote themselves in a specific geographic area (like a neighborhood).

Geofilters are unique photo overlays that Snapchat users can only find when they're within range of your physical storefront. They let users modify their photos in fun ways that their friends can enjoy while spreading the word about your business.

This option takes a little more setup time, but it's still easy to do when you're in touch with Snapchat.

Last, you can use Sponsored Lenses. Lenses are great for any business, but they usually work best when you have a specific product or idea that your brand embodies.

That's because Sponsored Lenses let users modify their photos in major ways that lets users "play" with their images.

For example, Taco Bell used a Sponsored Lens to turn people's heads into tacos. It's a simple, silly change for any photo, but it helped promote the brand.

With these three types of ads, you have a diverse range of possibilities when you want to reach your primary audience.

But wait — do these ads actually work?

Snapchat brand successes

Snapchat ads work. Let's check out some brand successes to back that up.

Snapchat Brand Successes

Our first brand is (RED). (RED) is a nonprofit initiative that funds research to cure HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. It's a noble endeavor, and the organization has gained a lot of popularity by partnering with celebrities and other brands.

But because it's a nonprofit, (RED) is funded by donations and partnership sales. So they need to build awareness among people — especially passionate young people — who can help them wipe out disease.

That's why (RED) chose to use a Sponsored Geofilter with Snapchat. The result was 2.8x more brand awareness than other mobile marketing results, 2.5x better brand favorability than other mobile marketing results, and a whopping 87% of users who said they "enjoyed" the ad.

While all of these stats are important, the last one sticks out the most. When's the last time you heard anyone say they "enjoyed" an advertisement?

That's the power that Snapchat can deliver.

Next, we have Gatorade. Gatorade makes drinks for thirsty people, but they market specifically to athletes. They used a Sponsored Lens to reach potential customers.

That ad was played for an average of 30 seconds per user. Gatorade also saw an 8 point increase in purchase intent and 165 million total views.

In context, that increase in purchase intent makes a lot of sense. 165 million people watching for an average of 30 seconds means Gatorade's ad was played for a collective 4.95 billion seconds.

That's just shy of 157 years!

In other words, Snapchat's Sponsored Lens works exceptionally well.

Finally, we have Shock Top, a branded "craft beer" that's actually owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. This tasty Belgian White used Snap Ads to attract consumer attention.

They enjoyed a 15 point increase in brand awareness, a 19 point increase in message association, and a 22% increase in purchase intent.

In other words, they got more sales. A 22% increase in purchase intent is huge for any business, even if only 18-20% of those turn into actual sales.

With that kind of marketing, Shock Top's Snap Ad paid for itself and then some.

But not every brand has a marketing budget that allows for Snapchat advertising. So what do you do if you're a smaller business?

Snapchat unpaid promotion

Like every other social network, Snapchat allows brands to use their accounts for free. The result is free Snapchat Snaps and Snapchat Stories for any business.

Snapchat Unpaid Promo

Snaps are short photos or videos that you can send to followers you specify. They're just quick tidbits you can use to show off your brand, and they disappear after someone views them.

That makes Snaps a great way to reach out to specific customers or just show up in your followers' inboxes.

Stories are photos and videos you can post that all of your friends / followers can play (and replay) within a 24 hour timespan.

This is a great way to promote a message that you want Snapchat users to find at any time. Once the 24 hours is up, you can post another story to take its place. Or, if you want, you can post as many stories as you want and they'll play back-to-back.

With all of that in mind, let's talk about how you can use Snapchat for the best results.

Snapchat best practices

When you start using a new marketing medium, you don't want to start from scratch. That's why it's important to learn some of these best practices right off the bat to get quality results for your work.

Snapchat Best Practices

By following these steps, you can get awesome results from your Snapchat account.

  1. Set your profile to Public
  2. Customize your Snapcode
  3. Use Snapchat for:
    1. Contests
    2. Sneak peeks
    3. Coupon codes
    4. Behind the scenes
    5. Employee introductions
  4. Optimal length:
    1. Snap: 5-15 seconds
    2. Story: 1-2 minuets
  5. Talk during your Snap or Story
  6. Film & photograph vertically
  7. Use Snapchat's messenger
  8. Use text with your content
  9. Use emojis with your content
  10. Be creative

For the most part, these steps are self-explanatory, and you can figure them out just by using Snapchat for a few minutes each day.

The last part is the most difficult — be creative.

Snapchat isn't the place to drop off your TV commercial. Ad preferences are dramatically different for Snapchat's audience than the average television audience.

Snapchat is goofy. Fun. Silly. Off the wall. And that's not necessarily Snapchat as a company — but it's the people who use Snapchat.

Do something inventive. What can you say that nobody's heard before? What can you show that nobody's seen before? Is there an emotional side to your brand? A practical side? A weird side?

If there's ever been a place to let your freak flag fly, it's Snapchat.

Do you use Snapchat for marketing?

Are you in the 1% of marketers who uses Snapchat? Or are you in the 99% that should start ASAP?

Either way, take some time to consider what you should do with Snapchat marketing!

And if you want to convince others, share this infographic on Facebook and Twitter.