Vende Buzz: Can You See Marketing Opportunities Through a Snapchat Lens?

by Paul Slack
  |  January 12, 2017  |  
January 12, 2017

What, you don’t see the marketing opportunities in a mobile app that can make your face look like a dog’s? You say you just can’t picture how an app that lets you send tricked-up photos and videos to friends – messages that delete themselves within seconds – can help you tell your company’s story?

2017 could be the year that Snapchat convinces you otherwise, thanks to a potential multibillion-dollar public offering and an aggressive strategy to take on Facebook for marketing and advertising dollars.

And somewhere in that mix could be a way for your business/brand to introduce itself to younger customers in a fun, informal style.

We wrote about Snapchat here on the Vende Buzz blog back in 2014. The company has grown rapidly since then. That prompted Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company based in Venice, Ca., to file for an IPO late last year. Analysts say the offering, which may come in March, could raise $20-25 billion.

A quick recap of Snapchat’s metrics:

  • More than 150 million people use the app on a daily basis, according to the company. (Twitter has about 140 million daily users.)
  • The app is extremely sticky: Users spend an average of 25-30 minutes a day on Snapchat.
  • It’s estimated that every day, Snapchat reaches 40-percent of the highly-sought-after 18-34-year-old market.
  • Those millennial users are looking at a staggering 10 billion videos a day, with most of those viewed on mobile devices.

In addition to all that software success, Snap is now a hardware company, thanks to the introduction last year of Spectacles, its version of Google Glass. The sunglasses equipped with mini-video cameras plus WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities will sell for $129, a more reasonable price when you consider Google Glass first sold for $1500 in 2013.

All of that sounds like a startup company on a mission, and no doubt that’s how it will be sold during Snap’s road show to investors. Its young executives will share their strategies for bringing in more ad dollars, and the media spin on this story is focusing on how Snap could serve as a nimbler rival to the 800-pound gorilla in social media, Facebook.

The time to attack may be ripe

Facebook isn’t just dealing with the fake news scandal we wrote about in December. It’s also confirmed that the social network gave inaccurate metrics to its publishing partners regarding referrals back to websites, audience reach and how much time users spent reading stories.

If Snap’s IPO is successful, that’s more money in its pocket for building out the advertising and marketing features it is starting to introduce for brands.

Last summer the company launched Snap Ads

Snap Ads are 10-second spots that run between your friend’s Stories.  The company also launched business-friendly versions of Geofilters and Lenses, which let users add art, graphics and location stamps to what they’re sharing with friends.

The Discover section of the Snapchat App is where publishers like CNN and Mashable are currently experimenting with the platform, and this is also becoming an ad-rich section.

As with any attempt to monetize a social network or app that’s reached a certain level of coolness, there’s a danger that ads or marketing materials could chase away users. It all depends on the creativity and innovation that advertising and marketing professionals are bringing to the Snapchat table.

Despite the fact that some of these ad/marketing features aren’t even a year old, Googling “How to Use Snapchat for Marketing” will already get you a slew of links to some good examples.

Snapchat’s website also offers up some case studies

You’ll notice that it’s mostly bigger brands with budgets to match that are snapping up Snapchat’s potential:

  • Gatorade – During last year’s Super Bowl, users could drench themselves in the leading sports drink using a special Gatorade Snapchat Lens. Now you have something in common with Bill Belichick! (Lucky you.) The bottom line: 165 million views and an 8-percent jump in buying intent.
  • 20th Century Fox – The premiere of X-Men: Apocalypse brought with it special Lenses for turning yourself into your favorite comic book mutant. Snap said the result was nearly 300 million views and a 25-percent hike in its “theater watch intent” metric.
  • Domino’s Pizza U.K. – The fast food giant’s British division shot a film showing an employee running a gauntlet of UFOs on his delivery route. Discount codes were hidden in the film, and those resulted in more orders than usual.

Most of these ad features are on the pricey side

But your business doesn’t necessarily have to reside in the Fortune 500 to take advantage of them. On-Demand Geofilters, according to Hootsuite, start at $5 and let businesses allow users to tell friends where they are and what they’re doing when they’re sharing their stories.

Most of these case studies involve business-to-consumer companies, since Snapchat offers a unique, casual level of engagement for brands looking to narrow the gap with customers. But that doesn’t mean a nifty B2B solution won’t reveal itself in the near future. And if Snap’s IPO hits the jackpot, the extra revenue could open the door to more targeted products, as well as better ways to track metrics and ROI.

Despite all those dog faces and cool-looking graphics, the connection between Snapchat and marketing success is getting clearer.


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