“But our audience is B2B.”
“Snapchat is for high schoolers.”
“I don’t get the point of Snapchat.”
“It’s a fad; it doesn’t have the staying power of other channels.”
All these and more are reasons — nay, excuses — I’ve heard marketers give for why they don’t have a Snapchat strategy.
I hear you. Snapchat, with its disappearing content and Vine-like video storytelling, seems like a network designed for youngsters with too much time on their hands. But times have changed, and it’s time to wise up. No Snapchat strategy is no longer a strategy.
Here’s why I think Snapchat is the #1 social channel you need to consider testing this year.
More than 150 million people use Snapchat every day now, compared to around 140 million using Twitter daily. So while many have been brushing Snapchat aside as kids’ stuff, Snapchat has been busy accumulating more users than one of the world’s foremost social networks.
Twitter defined the category of real-time social media. Many marketers, news outlets, customer service teams, and more have had great success with Twitter, and I’m sure they’ll continue to do so. No one is suggesting you abandon Twitter for Snapchat. But if you have a mobile-loving audience and the ability to test a new storytelling format, I highly suggest you give Snapchat a spin.
Believe it or not, Snapchat is actually growing faster with the older crowd than the younger. “Over the last year in the U.S., Snapchat added 25-to-34-year-old users (103%) and older-than-35 users (84%) faster than 18-to-24-year-old users (56%),” reports the LA Times.
Back when Snapchat had 100 million users, the network claimed that of the 100 million:
26 million were 13 to 17 years old
37 million were 18 to 24 years old
23 million were 25 to 34 years old
12 million were 35 to 54 years old
Based on these numbers, the assumption that Snapchat is only for teenage smartphone users is false. The network is growing more popular with older users all the time. I can’t wait to see what these numbers will show when Snapchat releases updated counts of users by age.
If you’re targeting millennials, ignoring their love of Snapchat is folly. On a given day, Snapchat reaches 41% of all 18 to 34 year-olds in the United States. And overall, about 60% of America’s 18 to 34-year-old smartphone users are on Snapchat.
Snapchat has incredible marketshare with the millennial buyer. If people in this group are in your target audience, you can bet that the amount of time they spend on Snapchat will only be going up in the months ahead, not down. This will be especially true as we head into the all-important holiday season — which I think will be the first real Snapchat Christmas, from both a customer experience and a marketing standpoint.
Check out this example from Snapchat’s ads page with an ad promoting the Netflix show Love:
As the example shows, Snapchat gives you what few other platforms can: full-screen smartphone real estate to reach your customers in a big, visual way.
Vertical video may make the cinematographer in you cringe. But that’s how millions of users are viewing videos on Snapchat nowadays. Even National Geographic is now shooting videos for vertical screens, as well as horizontal.
Beyond the standard video ads, Snapchat offers sponsored geofilters and lenses. What’s the difference? Here’s your cheat sheet with details from Snapchat:
Sponsored Geofilters: “When Snapchatters in the location(s) of your choice take a Snap, they’ll be able to see your Geofilter and use it to explain where, when, and why they took the Snap.” So you’re basically paying for a fun, branded overlay — like a ‘90s photo booth — that users in a special location can access.
Sponsored Lenses: “To activate Lenses, Snapchatters simply press and hold on their faces. Some Lenses include prompts like ‘raise your eyebrows’ to trigger an animation, adding a fun twist to the experience. And when you’re finished playing, it’s easy to send Lenses to a friend or post one to your Story. On average, Snapchatters play with a Sponsored Lens for 20 seconds.” With Lenses, your company creates a virtual animation that users have fun interacting with. It’s a far cry from a static banner ad.
Example of a Sponsored Geofilter: Our events team at Salesforce created this geofilter for a Salesforce World Tour event in Boston. Only those in that location could access it. Note the custom hashtag, logo, and city designation that appeared on the snaps of all users who included the geofilter in their World Tour snaps.
Example of a Sponsored Lens: Taco Bell promoted this fun lens that transforms users’ faces into one of their favorite foods: the taco. It animates along with users’ movements, so whenever the user moves, the new taco-face moves along, too, heightening the goofy realism.
Snapchat gets more than 8 billion video views a day, which is probably around what Facebook is currently getting. (Facebook hasn’t updated us on total video views since last November, when it confirmed a total of seven million.)
Considering how much newer Snapchat is and its comparatively smaller user base, that’s significant. Snapchat videos are all ten seconds or less. Imagine a five-second video performing well on YouTube. Pretty unlikely, right? But on Snapchat, less is more. That makes it easier to brainstorm ideas for Snapchat content, too; you can keep the message short and sweet.
Snapchat may be for video, but much like YouTube in its early days and Vine, users are accustomed to low-budget and personal videos. In fact, many Snapchatters actually prefer those kinds of videos over high-production-value clips because they feel more authentic.
So don’t sweat it if you don’t have a Hollywood-size video budget — you can still snap with the best of them. Think visual diary, not blockbuster motion picture.
Check out the full run-down of what types of Snapchat content disappears when. In general, content disappears either after 24 hours or the recipients view it.
While I wouldn’t advocate for publishing content on Snapchat for your brand without any strategic rhyme or reason, you can begin to publish content with the assurance that it won’t last forever. The messages will disappear soon enough and you can create new, better content based on what you’ve learned is most engaging.
If these seven reasons have convinced you that Snapchat should be a social priority for you, here are my recommendations for getting started:
Create a low-stakes account for yourself personally. Experiment with storytelling there first before you delve into it for your company.
Follow a variety of different Snapchat accounts, from musicians to brands to friends. Pay attention to what kinds of snaps you enjoy and why.
Don’t regurgitate the same content on Snapchat that you post on other channels. Snapchat is unique — content should be pithy, personal, immediately grabbing, and often humorous, containing some kind of punchline.
Commit to posting every day for a consistent pilot period (i.e., three months). If you only test for a week or two, it’s not a real test. You won’t grow an audience or know if your strategy is working.
Don’t knock it before you try it. Snapchat defies explanation unless you’ve played around with it for a while. Snapchat also updates the app frequently. So be sure you really give it a shot before reaching any conclusions about its worthiness.
I’d love to hear what Snapchat accounts you enjoy, plus your plans for the future. Send me a tweet: @youngheike.