The rapid increase in the popularity of Snapchat amongst young people from the ages of 13 to 24-years old creates an amazing opportunity for brand managers to set up Snapchat advertising campaigns. This is important if they need to reach this specific target demographic for the brand they are promoting.
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Recently Snapchat focused its marketing efforts to expand its reach towards an older demographic. They are doing a good job of attracting them, especially up to the age of 34-years old. Snapchat has become popular based on the ability for users to express themselves in funny ways in a real-time basis that is ephemeral and constantly changing.
The statistics quoted by Snapchat are very positive, including:
- Of those who are between the ages of 13 and 34-years old that use smartphones, more than 60% use Snapchat.
- Every day Snapchat has over 10 billion views of Snapchat videos from over 100 million daily users.
- Snapchat users are heavily engaged with the Snapchat system visiting it many times per day.
Statista reports the age demographics of Snapchat users as follows:
- Age group 13 to 17 – 23%
- Age group 18 to 24 – 37%
- Age group 25 to 34 – 26%
- Age group 35 to 54 – 12%
- Age group over 55 – 2%
Brands using Snapchat are designing advertising content for the vertical design of Snapchat. This is convenient for the Snapchat users, in that they do not have to rotate their smartphone to view the content.
When content designed for a horizontal screen displays vertically, only about 25% of the screen is taken up by the content. Snapchat has a design that uses 100% of the vertical screen to make the content fill the screen. This makes Snapchat advertisement work better because of its vertical-only format.
Snapchat advertisements show as full-screen, vertically, and play with sound when the audio is turned on for the mobile device. Amongst 13 to 34-year olds, the audience watching a live video of an event in real-time is up to eight times larger than those watching a similar event on television that is time-delayed.
Targeted advertising opportunities come from the Snapchat Live Story feature, the content from the Discover Channel, and can be geo-targeted by location, and/or the gender of the Snapchat user.
Snapchat Marketing Opportunities
- 3V ads – These are paid advertisements that appear as inserts in curated or premium content. This content includes material that Snapchat licensed for re-broadcast from the Discover Channel, content called “In Live” that appears in exciting Snapchats submitted by members, and curated by the Snapchat official staff.
- Stories – Advertisers, just like any Snapchat user, can create Snapchat stories that have a shelf-time of twenty-four hours. Two popular and successful examples of using this feature were the promotion of the “Furious 7” movie release and the insider footage about superstar spokesperson Shaq on behalf of McDonald’s.
- Templates – Advertisers can sponsor Snapchat templates. The templates are overlays that Snapchatters use to make a posting more interesting and funnier. Advertisers get to offer the templates for a weekend by sponsoring them for a significant amount. This costs $250,000 for a regular weekend and $500,000 for a holiday weekend. The sponsor’s logo appears on the screen when any Snapchat user chooses to use the template, so it is important to choose a template that is popular.
Brands on Snapchat
Mashable, which was an early adopter of using Snapchat, noted in 2013 that the early advertisers on Snapchat included innovative smaller companies and major international brands, such as:
- 16 Handles – This is a frozen yogurt company from New York. They asked Snapchatters to post a Snapchat of them at one of their stores and then rewarded them with discount coupons ranging from 16% to 100% off.
- Acura – Acura used Twitter to promote its postings on Snapchat, starting with the release of the Acura NSX automobile.
- Grubhub – This San Francisco-based food delivery service started promotion on Snapchat during August 2013 with deals and surprise posts.
- Karmaloop – This fashion retailer started using Snapchat during July 2013 to show new product designs and behind-the-scenes footage of the main office and staff shenanigans.
- New Orleans Saints – This team started using Snapchat in October 2013 with behind-the-scenes videos and insider scoops.
- Rebecca Minkoff – This fashion designer started using Snapchat in September 2013 by promoting her new Snapchat account with her already popular Twitter account.
- MTV UK – Snapchat postings by MTV UK promoted the television series “Geordie Shore” by releasing special videos about the cast before the season’s premier.
- Taco Bell – Taco Bell started creating Snapchat stories in April 2013 by using the feature to tell followers that it was bringing back the Beefy Crunch Burrito.
Other brand advertisers on Snapchat now include major names such as, 21st Century Fox, Audi, Bloomingdale’s, CNN, EA Sports, The Ellen Show, IHOP, Mountain Dew, Seventeen Magazine, and many more. Mediakix notes that over fifty major brands are using Snapchat marketing in effective ways.
How Brands Use Snapchat
Advertising Age notes some of the best marketing campaigns include:
- AT&T – AT&T created a scripted Snapchat program entitled “SnapperHero,” using Internet celebrities from social media including those from Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.
- Condé Nast – In October 2015, Condé Nast started creating Snapchat stories beginning with the “Teen Vogue Young Hollywood Party” and the “Vanity Fair Oscar Party” events. These two events proved to be very popular on Snapchat with millennials.
- Chobani – This yogurt company started using Snapchat in late 2015 to sponsor the “Snapchat College Game Day Live Story.” Chobani was very happy with the results because of the guaranteed views they received.
- Dove – Dove launched a Snapchat campaign in October 2014 as part of its promotion of the annual “Self-Esteem Weekend.” Dove bucked the trend of major advertisers at that time, who were worried about the initial Snapchat use for teen sexting.
Concern About Teen Sexting
The use of Snapchat for teenage sexting came from the system design that erased snaps after fifteen seconds. It is one of the things that got Snapchat going in its earliest stages. This made use of the Snapchat system so addictive because the snaps quickly erased themselves from the system. There was an extreme urgency to view the snaps. Users could still take a screenshot to capture a permanent copy of the snaps. This got some underage users into plenty of trouble.
Business Insider notes that Snapchat officially and publicly asked underage teens to stop sexting using Snapchat. Usage of Snapchat for sexting declined since then. The Huffington Post reported that a study from the University of Washington, which surveyed Snapchat users, found that only 14% had sent a sexting post using Snapchat, down from 25% in the earliest years, and only 1.6% regularly used Snapchat for sexting. The largest use for Snapchat was that 60% of the users sent funny snaps to each other.
Snapchat use is now much more focused on non-sexual ways, so Dove’s early marketing efforts were the correct move.
Snapchat Branding is Special
The Dove example shows how easy is was in the beginning to dismiss Snapchat as a teen sexting system and a quickly fading fad that was no challenge to other social media. Facebook certainly did not see Snapchat as a quickly fading fad.
Forbes reported in November 2013, Facebook tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion in cash. Facebook could easily see the value of having the attention of millions of young people, most of them female, with the huge amount of consumption they do. The Incite-Group says teens in the UK spend over £5 billion each year. The amount reported by Statistic Brain of annual spending by American teens is a staggering $258.7 billion.
It was only a matter of time before advertisers would catch on and Snapchat would start seriously monetizing the traffic, which they are now doing. Moreover, Facebook noticed the daily usage of Facebook amongst teens was decreasing. They were spending more time using Snapchat. Unfortunately for Facebook, the Snapchat owners declined the Facebook offer. Snapchat use continued to grow after that.
Other Brands on Snapchat
New York Fashion Week attendees used Snapchat extensively to provide Snapchat users with an “insider” view of the fashion show and the activities surrounding the event. This live event is restricted to only major fashion buyers who clamour to attend. With Snapchat coverage, any teenage girl or young woman could get the digital version of a front row seat.
The interesting thing about the Snapchat coverage of the New York Fashion Week Show was that it was provided by “fashionistas,” such as Leandra Medine who is famous for creating the “Man Repeller” blog, Eva Chen the Editor of the now defunct Lucky Magazine, and many others. The event itself did not have to do anything to promote the event to Snapchat users. Attendees at the event did all the work.
Brands on Snapchat who understand that Snapchat, know it is supposed to be fun. Snapchat provides real-time coverage of people and events, which become an in-the-moment, shared experience. This is the main attraction of Snapchat.
Marketing Land noticed that brands like Bloomingdale’s, IHOP, National Geographic, and Taco Bell, who take a fun approach when posting content on the Snapchat system, get the most attention. Use of celebrities works as well. However, it is the online celebrities that have more Snapchat followers, when compared to the “Hollywood” celebrities.
Everyone who really “gets” Snapchat can quickly get addicted to the fun and advertisers can tap into a valuable market group of young adults.