Snapchat is great for online advertising, here’s why

There are many elements of the internet and the social media sphere that rarely make sense. The rise of user-generated content and the growing sophistication of online social networks suggest that the Internet functions as a perfect information system, which supports certain hypotheses.

One such assumption is that using a fancy social network like Snapchat doesn’t make sense from a marketing perspective. This is an incorrect assumption; in fact, Snapchat is a very useful channel for online marketing. The key is to use social media advertising without being obnoxious.

What is SnapChat?

For most people, it can be difficult to understand how Snapchat can be used for effective online marketing. So first, what is Snapchat? Snapchat is a mobile application that works on Apple iOS and Google Android platforms. With Snapchat installed on a smartphone or tablet, users can produce “snaps”, which are messages that can contain photographs, drawings, text and/or videos.

Snaps may be sent to other members of this closed social network for their fleeting review and enjoyment. The shots only last between one and ten seconds; after that time, the content is deleted and the recipient can no longer access the Snap unless a screenshot has been saved for posterity, which notifies the sender.

Snapchat was launched to much fanfare due to what was initially seen as a truly anonymous social network allowing for plausible deniability, but that’s not quite the case. For the most part, Snapchat allows users to interact within the network without having to reveal too much about themselves, but identities and personal information can travel through Snapchat’s efficient messaging system; but the information does not last too long.

How Snapchat differs from other social networks

Snapchat’s demographics tell a lot about the appeal of this particular social network. Teen users are the most positively active on Snapchat, and the app is the fastest growing app in the past six months. In other words, Snapchat is a fun and lively social media channel.

Since its debut in September 2011, Snapchat has incorporated additional features that have been very well received by its user base. Instant messaging has given way to somewhat surreptitious live chat, but it’s still great fun. There’s also Snapcash, a peer-to-peer money transfer and payment system that’s not as secretive as the rest of the network.

What sets Snapchat apart from major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ is its approach to marketing and advertising. Snapchat doesn’t capture as much personal identifying information from users; therefore, this young network lacks the precise marketing segmentation tools of Facebook. That doesn’t mean Snapchat isn’t good for marketing; In a way, some analysts have likened Snapchat to the golden age of radio and TV advertising in that brands can think outside the box in terms of creativity and engagement.

While being a new and fresh network certainly helps, these aren’t the only attractive factors for brands and advertisers to establish a presence on Snapchat. To a large extent, users of this network are like captive audiences listening to their favorite radio or TV shows, and they’re actually curious to see how brands are adapting on Snapchat.

Snapchat’s Neat Marketing Features

It only took a few years for Snapchat to fully embrace its current marketing philosophy. It all started with Stories, which is a simple feature that lets brands share interesting snaps that last 24 hours instead of the standard 10 seconds. Multiple stories can be shared by brands and work similarly to Twitter updates.

Just like on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn, stories shared on Snapchat won’t work if they’re blatantly self-promotional. The idea is to be creative, friendly and social. In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, for example, culinary website GrubHub shared some interesting stories about the massive amount of chicken wings slaughtered by Americans during this major sporting event.

Shortly after Stories matured as a branded feature on Snapchat, the network launched Discover, which allows brands to firmly establish themselves in the network. Discover follows a developing trend in social media, which involves users directly visiting Facebook Timelines, Twitter profiles, LinkedIn Company Pages, and more. many go straight to the source because they feel more comfortable seeing content from their favorite brands.

Provide real-time content for the Snapchat generation

Online marketers are learning the ephemerality of Snapchat’s appeal to users, who are ready to become loyal to the brands they love. To that end, brands like Mountain Dew are seizing the moment to create their stories and snaps, which will be archived in their Discover profiles for the benefit of their followers. For example, during the Super Bowl, Mountain Dew encouraged Snapchat users to take screenshots of their stories so they could measure engagement, much like Facebook’s “Like” button.

Final Thoughts

Mountain Dew is a great example of brands using Snapchat effectively with fresh and relevant stories. During the Super Bowl, the soft drink giant launched Kickstart, a new flavor that was heavily promoted on Snapchat just before kickoff. Snapchat is a newer social platform and one that many marketers may not be familiar with. Far from being a blip on the screen of online marketing, Snapchat has growing potential to reach younger audiences.

Have you had success with Snapchat marketing? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Image credits

The featured image: 360b on Shutterstock
Picture #1: Mahathir Mhod Yasin via Shutterstock