Snapchat's snappy potential

Snapchat's snappy potential

Pay attention marketers, popular photo messaging app Snapchat is now a marketing “player”, according to social media experts.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

They may only have ten seconds but if a brand knows their audience the impact of an accurate snap can be huge.

“If a brand can send a Snap that teases a product, previews a campaign that only snappers can see or offer any kind of exclusive/exciting content, it’s going to have an impact,” Sam Mutimer, director of social media at Thinktank Social, told B&T.

Forget Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat is the latest social media platform brands and marketers are turning their attention to such as shows HBO’s Girls and UK MTV's Geordie Shore as well as US food chain Taco Bell.

“The potential for this platform is huge. It’s one of the only platforms out there right now where the user has to really pay attention and that’s where the potential lies.”

Know your audience

Brands are all about knowing their customers and target audience and, according to Mutimer, the use of Snapchat as a marketing tool can really put that knowledge to the test.

If they only have ten seconds to sell, promote or market a product, they need to be sure they can do it well.

“Companies will need to know exactly what they are going to use the platform for and add value,” Mutimer said.

“Distributional methods and repurposing content from other social channels via Snapchat isn't going to cut it…they’ll need to map out the stories they want to tell and the content will need to be a lot more impactful/edgy/creative than your usual Facebook/Twitter/Instagram content.”

Kushinsky at Social Garden also shares Mutimer’s view of the marketing potential for Snapchat, outlining two of the app’s functions brands should begin to utilise.

“The first, and perhaps broadest, is its ‘Stories’ function. The ability to construct an evolving story that disappears after 24 hours encourages high levels of engagement and has the potential for some pretty creative campaigns,” he said.

“The second is in the delivery of one time snaps for offers, creating a brand personality, or delivering inspiration/information in bite size pieces.”

The ‘Stories’ function,  according to Kushinsky, can allow brands to develop and maintain their marketing campaigns, products or news by continuously adding to their ‘story’.

“With so many experiences being ephemeral, like festivals, sporting events, etc companies can take advantage of this by creating virtual events in parallel.”

The ultimate engagement

Kushinsky described a snap’s 10-second lifetime as the platform’s unique selling point and one of the advantages of using the platform for marketing practices.

“A user knows it will disappear, the ‘Rule of Scarcity’ kicks in, and a promotional offer or a chance to win etc conveyed by this method should have high engagement from a willing participant."

“On other platforms an offer or message sits in a feed indefinitely possibly prompting apathy and inaction,” Kushinsky said, adding that brands that are already using this platform are “ahead or the curve”.

“Once the space becomes more populated with marketing messages the same cut through principles as, say TV, will apply, appeal to emotions, shock value etc.”

Brands are already tapping into Snapchat’s potential

Advertising agency DDB Oslo is one such company that has discovered the capabilities and marketing potential of the photo messaging platform, recruiting its next lot of creative talent via Snapchat.

The initiative invites Snapchat users, where Forbes magazine estimates 50 million people around the globe have tried snapping, to pitch an idea in ten seconds to the agency.

The creative department at DDB will watch every snap and “if you’re idea is truly great, we’ll fly you to Oslo for an interview”.

Mutimer gave the campaign a “big tick” as she said the initiative will probably innovate the agency’s further Snapchat campaigns with clients.

“DDB show they understand the communication style of their target market and are clever in the fact they’re going to be choosing a gun from this campaign.”

HBO’s Girls is another brand that has hopped on the Snapchat train as it launched its Snapchat campaign to provide a countdown to the show’s US launch on January 12.

The campaign posted daily updates using the ‘Stories’ feature in an effort to drive interest and excitement about the third series.

“Not only is the use of Snapchat bang on brand for HBO’s Girls but a very cost effective way of providing broadcast reach with their campaign,” Sarah Stringer, innovations director at Carat Australia, wrote for B&T.

“The genius of marketing to this fan base is that they have opted in to hearing from you. Their audience have added the HBOGirls brand to their contacts list; they want to be engaged.”

MTV’s UK reality TV show, Geordie Shore, was another brand that focused on the app and used the platform as the centre of its digital marketing platform.

In order to promote its sixth season which was filmed down under, MTV sent out exclusive photos and videos to fans who had added the show to their account.

US food chain Taco Bell used Snapchat to introduce its Beefy Crunch Burrito, snapping the image to those who added the chain.

On whether Snapchat will stand the test of time against other social media platforms, both Mutimer and Kushinsky are in agreement that the platform is growing and “will definitely have its day in the sun,” Kushinsky stated.

Mutimer added: “Snapchat is only going to continue to grow as it opens up its one to many features shortly.

“Market like it’s 2014…Snapchat is growing, Facebook is slowing down…go where your market is and be reactional. Snapchat is now a player…pay attention!”